Available 24/7/365 Free Consultations
(800) 349-0000
Request Free Consultation

What Causes a Boiler to Explode?

Posted on November 23, 2021 in

A boiler is a closed pressure vessel in which liquid is heated. The fluid inside of a boiler does not necessarily “boil,” but the heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler and is used in various processes or heating applications throughout a building. However, if a boiler explodes, it can lead to extensive property damage, significant injuries, and even fatalities. Here, we want to discuss the most common causes of boiler explosions.

Boiler Explosions – Why do They Happen?

Most people understand that boilers have the potential to be incredibly dangerous, but that these devices are generally safe for use inside of households and in commercial settings. When a boiler explosion occurs, this is typically defined as a catastrophic failure of the boiler. In general, we will see that there are two kinds of boiler explosions:

  1. The failure of the pressure of steam and watersides
  2. The furnace’s fuel or air explosion

When it comes to understanding the main causes of boiler explosions, we typically find that these incidents revolve around:

  1. Over pressurization
  2. Overheating
  3. Weak boiler shell or other boiler parts failure

To summarize the main issues that can go wrong with a boiler and cause an explosion, we will see that the boiler is either not strong enough to withstand pressure or the pressure is simply too high for the boiler to contain.

Not every boiler explosion revolves around the inside of the actual area where the steam or water resides. Fire explosions refer to what happens when an air explosion occurs in the furnace attached to the boiler. When this occurs, the explosion usually happens after the flame burns out. When a flame burns out, this allows for the buildup of oil fumes or fuels, including propane, natural gas, or coal, in the combustion chamber. This buildup of fumes or fuels can lead to an explosion if an ignition source does reoccur.

Other common causes of boiler explosions include:

  • Faulty pressure relief valves
  • Low water levels
  • Boilerplate corrosion

Boiler Explosions can be Catastrophic

When a boiler explodes, this can result in devastating consequences for property and any person in the vicinity of the incident. Boilers hold tremendous pressure, and they are typically fairly large. If they explode, this can lead to complete devastation of the surrounding area. Any person in the vicinity of a boiler explosion will likely incur significant injuries. A boiler explosion can also lead to the weakened structural integrity of a building.

Take Preventative Measures

It is crucial for individuals to take preventative measures to prevent boiler explosions. Boilers must have the correct settings in order to prevent explosions. Boiler installers must ensure that all parts work properly and the relief valve is the right size to take excess pressure off the system before an explosion occurs.

One of the best ways to prevent boiler explosions is to ensure that the boiler is regularly inspected and maintained by trained individuals. Regular annual boiler inspections conducted by safety engineers will help ensure that all settings are correct and the boiler (and every part on the boiler) is in good working condition.

Contact a Houston boiler explosion lawyer at The Doan Law Firm for a free consultation.