By Philip Schmidt, Hometalk
Surely there’s nothing funny about an explosion in a home, but in a kid-science sort of way it’s fun to think about all the everyday things around you that can blow up. Without even counting obvious hazards, like fuel cans and leaky gas pipes, any household has at least 30 things that can go BOOM under the right conditions. In fact, you might even live with some whose temper can be described as ignitable or explosive; if so, you should certainly add this person to the list.
Note: While all of the items listed here are potentially explosive and therefore potentially hazardous, the explanations for why these things blow up are not comprehensive (not by a long shot). In other words, DO NOT use this list as a guide for how to prevent explosions.
1. Hot water heater
That valve thingee with an open pipe on your water heater is called a temperature and pressure relief valve, or TPR valve. If the TPR valve and the heater’s thermostat fail at the same time, your water heater has the potential to take off like a space shuttle.
2. Food storage containers with spoiled food
If you leave your leftovers in a sealed container long enough, gasses from the decomposing food can build up and blow off the lid. Mold spores, anyone?
3. Baked potatoes
We all know this is true because it happened to Pa on Little House on the Prairie. You really do have to pierce a potato’s skin before baking it.
Hot dog aficionados (such as myself) refer to a blown-up hot dog affectionately as a “splitter,” but sausage explosions can be painful, as boiling-hot juice squirts out of the casing toward the unsuspecting griller. Maybe this should be called a “spitter.”
5. Light bulb
A light bulb is like a vacuum tube and actually implodes rather than explodes when it breaks, but the difference is essentially semantic to the observer. A drop of water landing on a hot light bulb can cause it to “explode,” in addition to the usual causes.
6. Beer bottle left in the freezer
There’s no sadder way of ruining a perfectly good beer.
7. Opening sealed containers in high altitudes
Alpine residents learn to open sealed packages carefully, especially those full of powders.
8. Aerosol cans in sunlight or heat
Anything from cooking spray to WD-40 really can explode if the can gets too hot.
9. Pumpkins (and other thick-skinned vegetables)
If left outside, your uncarved Halloween pumpkin can freeze and turn into a boo-bomb.
10. Electrical explosion
These are more common on power poles than houses, but a large service panel (breaker box) can have an explosion due to a short circuit overwhelming the breakers.