10 Things in Your Home That Could Explode Without Warning
Did you know there are some ticking time bombs in your house that could explode with or without notice? Homeowner beware.
Heat and glass are a bad combination, and you get both in an incandescent (read: old-fashioned) light bulb. Thomas Edison101 here: Light is produced when an electrical current runs through a tungsten filament inside the bulb. The filament heats up and, voila, let there be light! But if the bulb’s base was not properly sealed by the manufacturer, the base could melt, changing the pressure of the heated gas inside the bulb. Then, boom!
Ozone layer controversies aside, your can of hairspray can become a missile if not stored properly. More specifically, never leave any aerosol can in direct sunlight. The contents inside the can—liquid particles and air—are under a lot of pressure. Heat increases the pressure, prompting those little particles to move even faster inside their tin prison, until the can explodes. Although aerosol cans are designed to withstand pressure, they have limits. Don’t test them.
And that includes WD-40, which is a brilliant household item, by the way.
When an explosion happens inside a wood-burning stove, back drafting is usually to blame. Back drafting is the reverse flow of exhaust in the flue. This can cause a pocket of oxygen to hit the fire, and the result can leave dust and ash everywhere. When installing or inheriting a wood stove, have a chimney expert take a look at your flue and provide you with best practices for taking care of the stove.
Glass Shower Door
When you think of shower-related horrors, Hitchcock’s Psycho might come to mind. But there’s another real-life way your shower can cause nightmares: The glass door could spontaneously shatter seemingly out of nowhere! Luckily, the phenomenon is not common—but this also means it’s not easily understood. One theory is that the tempered glass literally cracks under the pressure of extreme temperature fluctuations. Another is that the glass has undetectable damage—a small nick or ding—that eventually causes the entire panel to explode.
These 10 showerheads will transform your shower into a spa.
You probably weren’t bargaining for this kind of morning jolt when you bought your espresso machine, but regardless, the appliance has been known to explode. It’s rare, but when it does happen, a faulty pressure valve is probably to blame.
You probably (gladly) don’t think about your septic tank too often (and technically, it’s not IN your home, but it is UNDER it, so…). Most septic tanks have a pipe that leads through the roof to vent flammable methane sewer gas out of the system. It’s not just to eliminate the odor. Methane gas is highly flammable and can be easily ignited by an open flame.
Learn more about septic tanks here.
Photo: Courtesy of The Drain Brain
And now for the obvious: yes, your water heater can explode, and if it does, it could be catastrophic. If your pressure-relief valve is leaking, this could be an indicator there’s too much heat or pressure inside the tank. If you smell rotten eggs, that could indicate a gas leak inside. Popping noise could indicate sediment inside the tank, which could cause it to overheat. Essentially, if you see or hear anything unusual, don’t risk it: call a repair expert immediately. For DIY fixes and troubleshooting, check out our collection of articles on water heater repair.
Stop believing these seven tankless water heater myths.
Smartphones and Laptops
Ever hear of a smartphone exploding? It’s not an urban legend. The culprit of an exploding phone is its lithium ion battery, which is also inside laptop computers. Lithium ion batteries store energy; to make your device work, that energy is slowly released. But when the energy is released in one fell swoop, the battery can’t handle the pressure. This could be caused by exposure to heat or trauma, but it could also be a factory defect.
Here’s what to do with that old computer.
Worried about your gas oven exploding? Worry more about that flour you’re using to bake! Flour is a carbohydrate made of highly flammable sugar molecules. When those particles are suspended in the air as dust, and ignited by a heat source (hello, stove burner), they can explode in the air like tiny fireworks. Just in case baking isn’t exciting enough for you…
Bottles of Beer
Putting a six-pack in the freezer to get it cold fast may sound like a good idea, but be sure you don’t forget about those bottles. When beer is frozen solid, the molecular structure changes and the water expands, causing, well, a big mess in your freezer.
Here are 10 ways to open a bottle of beer without a bottle opener.