Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Dishwasher Exploded


That's the call a fire department received last winter from a base-housing inspector. The inspector had been doing normal bimonthly checks of vacant units when this happened.

The inspector's usual procedure was to run the cold water in the kitchen sink, turn on the dishwasher, go upstairs to flush the commode, and run the water in the bathroom. About three minutes after she started the dishwasher, it exploded. The blast propelled the dishwasher (which was installed under the kitchen counter) across the kitchen. The cabinets, plumbing and walls were damaged.

The concussion splintered the face of the rear door to the housing unit and blew it open, destroying the lock. Pieces of the dishwasher and cabinets were scattered over 20 feet. The access panel to the attic on the second floor was dislodged, and the front door was blown open and damaged.

Read the rest at the elcosh website.

What This Means to You

When you move into a house or apartment that has been vacant, hydrogen gas may have built up in hot water lines, which could cause an explosion. The same is true when you return home from a vacation or open up a vacation home that has been shut. When you go to start the dishwasher, ask yourself how long the unit has been vacant. If it's more than a couple of weeks, you need to think about getting rid of the gas before you turn on the dishwasher. If you suspect hydrogen gas may have built up in the hot-water system, flush it by turning on all hot-water faucets in the building and letting them run for several minutes. And don't smoke while you're doing it.

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