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30 Things in Your House That Could Explode

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30 Things in Your House That Could Explode

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.

4. Sausages

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.

Image: djeyewater/stock.xchng

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+ add your own
10:55AM PDT on Oct 21, 2014

Thank you for the article, but now I'm more terrified than ever!

8:00PM PDT on May 18, 2014

Thank you for the list. I had never heard of mentos and diet coke?

One good tip is in storing old used batteries (B,C,D) is to put a piece of black tape across the ends, if stored in a container that can be bumped or in a bag, they eventually build up heat if ends are touching each other, and they will smoke and eventually end up with a fire. Someone almost lost their whole house, when storing these batteries in a bag in the garage. Do not wait until you have a lot of them if you do not use that thicker black tape. (for electrical?) They are not supposed to be put in the garbage. There are places where you can take them.

8:41PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

I knew most of these and have even experienced a few. Didn't know about exploding pumpkins, though. Sounds like a music group. Oh wait .... that's Smashing Pumpkins:, I think I like Exploding Pumpkins better.

6:39AM PST on Dec 23, 2013

Shared, thanks.

8:34PM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

I am afraid to move from my chair. HELP!!!!!

8:09PM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

Mentos and Diet Coke 0_o Never heard of that one....

5:12PM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

I must be sick--I found some of these hilarious!

7:20AM PDT on Jun 20, 2013


4:32AM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

A dangerous place.

3:33PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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