I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way objects at home could just spontaneously explode. You keep a watchful eye on all the appliances and dangerous items you’ve been warned about for years; you don’t leave pots on the stove or walk away from burning candles. How could anything explode without warning? Unfortunately, there are some items out there that can cause significant damage no matter what precautions you take.
Items That Can Explode Without Warning
Glass Doors And Tables
Going for an invigorating shower or having a barbeque in the backyard is all well and good, but be aware that your glass doors or tables could give out without warning. There have been several stories in the news about exploding glass doors and tables — explosions that seemingly occurred at random.
So far, researchers haven’t discovered the reason for it. Fortunately, these explosions don’t happen often enough to be properly studied. Here are a couple of theories researchers have:
- Microscopic damage can lead to larger cracks and ultimately, an explosion.
- Damage around the edges of the glass leads to bigger problems when left untreated.
Installing a safety film on your glass doors and tables is a good way to prevent an explosion from happening in your home.
Phones And Laptops
Stories of these gadgets exploding hit the news a few years ago, but many people dismissed them. The tales are real, everyone, and you should take heed. Lithium-ion batteries are in almost every piece of technology we own, from laptops and phones to electric cars. Sometimes these batteries explode due to short-circuiting. External factors such as charger issues or overheating can also disturb a battery so much that it gives out in a blaze of glory.
In order to avoid this, use the official chargers for your technology, and avoid charging your items at night under certain conditions. Don’t place flammable objects like books or tissues near a charging item, and never charge your phone under your pillow overnight. Should the battery overheat, particular items can act as kindling and lead to a fire. Similarly, placing your charging phone under a pillow can lead to your pillow burning if the battery overheats. Given that your head is only a few inches away, that’s not good news.
Your eyes haven’t deceived you. Regular store-bought flour can pose problems as well if you’re not careful. We mentioned before that stoves should never be left unattended, and one reason why involves flour. Flour is a carbohydrate, and it’s quite flammable when it’s hanging in the air as dust. When flour particles get near a heat source, like an open flame, they can explode. According to How Stuff Works, it only takes one or two grams of flour dust per cubic foot of air for the flour to become flammable.
Keep your flour away from the stove when you’re working with it, and make sure none of it is floating in the air before you turn on your oven.
Hot Water Heater
A much larger household item is the hot water heater. When you’re not careful, it too can explode. According to Just In Time Furnace, this usually happens when the temperature is set too high or when the pressure relief valve malfunctions.
“The pressure relief valve will malfunction if the pipe is blocked or the pressure is otherwise unable to release,” the Just In Time staff writes. “As water heats up, it turns into gas. Once the heat and pressure become too much for the tank to withstand, [the tank will attempt] to release the pressure through the relief valve. If the valve is blocked or broken in any way, the internal pressure [will grow] until [the tank explodes].”
You should routinely check you hot water heater’s pressure valve to avoid explosions.
Perhaps the least surprising item on this list is the light bulb — incorrectly installed bulb bases can lead to an explosion. Traditional incandescent light bulbs glow because the filament inside resists the flow of electricity, and the resistance gives off heat. When the base isn’t screwed on properly, the heat can melt the socket, causing the pressurized gases inside the bulb to explode.
What’s more, touching a halogen bulb before using it can cause it to explode. The oil on your fingers leaves behind a residue that causes certain areas of the bulb to get hotter than others. The glass can give out due to overheating or uneven heating.
Ensure your bases are always screwed on properly, and don’t handle halogen bulbs with your bare hands before installing them.
Now that you know which household items can explode at any moment, you can be more mindful in your home. That’s not to say you should live on edge every time you step into your house. However, it doesn’t hurt to know about problematic items so that you can be more cautious around them.