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Exploding 4 year old whirlpool fridge

GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
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Comments

  • neilcneilc Posts: 652Member
    what the ?? ! !
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    Wonder what was in it...
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,901Member
    They make it seem as if it was stressed from expansion before it popped.
    Fire Marshal will find one of their kids put something in there.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 2
    Seems only thing in there large enough to create a significant explosion is weld failure of pump's metal pressure vessel casing .

    There's about 100 psi static pressure and maybe 500 psi when running if outlet was plugged.

  • kevink1955kevink1955 Posts: 64Member
    Some newer refrigerators are beginning to use R290 (propane) as a refrigerant but the story says it's 4 years old so I do not know. You can buy R290 recharge kits on Amazon so maybe some one recharged it
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,901Member
    I dont know their specific technology but a linear inverter compressor wont blow like that.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 2
    They would have had to get a LOT of air in it for propane inside to burn, over 90% air mixture ...at which point it likely would not refridgerate. Maybe a leak, wonder if R290 has same stinky oderant as propane sold as fuel gas.

    "Limits of Flammability ---- between 2.1 and 9.5% of the total propane/air mixture must be propane in order for it to be combustible. If the mixture is 2% propane and 98% air, there will not be combustion."
    https://www.mathesongas.com/pdfs/products/Lower-(LEL)-&-Upper-(UEL)-Explosive-Limits-.pdf
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    My first thought would be what was in it? However if it were something illegal, or not suppose to be in there I doubt they would have called the fire department unless neighbors did. Let alone get whirlpool involved unless others did.
    They said they smelled fumes I thought.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    Good thing they were in bed. That would have been a bad event with a kitchen full of people.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    What ever it was needed an ignition source. you would think the door would have only breached not the sides blow out also.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 2
    Relay or defrost timer switching could be ignition source.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,733Member

    Some newer refrigerators are beginning to use R290 (propane) as a refrigerant but the story says it's 4 years old so I do not know. You can buy R290 recharge kits on Amazon so maybe some one recharged it

    The article did say it was 4 years old but the reporter said it was 4 months old???
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,691Member
    Generally you don't see that kind of behavior in a major appliance :D
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Alan WelchAlan Welch Posts: 128Member
    Never found out what was wrong with mine.
  • Alan WelchAlan Welch Posts: 128Member
    Oops, couldn't upload video, ended up being replaced under extended warranty plan, 4 year old fridge making unusual noises, couldn't get a Service tech from warranty company to look at it ....
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member
    I haven't seen any R290 systems here in the US, but there are quite a few butane or Isobutane ones I believe. Not sure which. The minifridge sitting in our office uses it but I don't feel like looking.

    I suppose if the evaporator develops a leak and dumps the charge inside the fridge it could happen.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 1,404Member
    Considering the magnetic door closures, for a sealed vessel to actually explode like that and not just blow the doors open there would have to be a proper fuel/air mix or some type of explosive device.

    Seems that a decent investigation would find the cause. The door folded over like that on the island is very disturbing.

    I would not want any flammable refrigerant used in a home appliance for this reason.

    I thought the US didn't allow flammable refrigerant, although Ammonia can be considered, but is only used in very large systems. Propane is an excellent refrigerant from every other standpoint though.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member

    Considering the magnetic door closures, for a sealed vessel to actually explode like that and not just blow the doors open there would have to be a proper fuel/air mix or some type of explosive device.



    Seems that a decent investigation would find the cause. The door folded over like that on the island is very disturbing.



    I would not want any flammable refrigerant used in a home appliance for this reason.



    I thought the US didn't allow flammable refrigerant, although Ammonia can be considered, but is only used in very large systems. Propane is an excellent refrigerant from every other standpoint though.

    I don't know if that was ever the case, aside from perhaps open automotive systems. But, if it was the case, it's not anymore.

    "Freon" wasn't flammable, but it too has very deadly effects when combined with a flame.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsgpecmsg Posts: 626Member
    R-290 Propane or R-600 Isobutane are the new environmentally friendly refrigerants on the market. There limited to 2 or 3 oz total charge so i don't see where theirs enough to cause that.

    These also operate close to R-12 so 200-250#'s is about max pressure, again nowhere near enough pressure and volume to cause that.

    One issue i have with the Pics is there no Burn marks!
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,280Member
    The only thing I can think of is a defrost heater went nuts & burned a hole in a refrig line or coil. Heat built pressure in refrigeration system until something came apart. Hence explosion and no fire
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 2
    I've got an old browzer, couldn't get a pic from top link. Found this other link that works. https://www.kmov.com/news/a-family-s-whirlpool-refrigerator-exploded-inside-their-home/article_6e5235c0-0d1f-11e9-8007-2b761ba3ab1c.html

    It's a side by side style. Freezer compartment is bowed out and sheet metal over supposed evaporator area is also bowed out. So my guess is evaporator developed a leak and acuumulated propane ignited from a stray spark, likely from freezer thermostat.

    When Freon 1-st came on the market sellers made a BIG deal of the fact that it was non-flammable and non-toxic.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member
    Leonard said:

    I've got an old browzer, couldn't get a pic from top link. Found this other link that works. https://www.kmov.com/news/a-family-s-whirlpool-refrigerator-exploded-inside-their-home/article_6e5235c0-0d1f-11e9-8007-2b761ba3ab1c.html

    It's a side by side style. Freezer compartment is bowed out and sheet metal over supposed evaporator area is also bowed out. So my guess is evaporator developed a leak and acuumulated propane ignited from a stray spark, likely from freezer thermostat.

    When Freon 1-st came on the market sellers made a BIG deal of the fact that it was non-flammable and non-toxic.

    Sales people made a big deal out of the product they were selling?

    Get out........that's unheard of!

    By the way, what is stopping you from downloading a modern browser?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Posts: 1,364Member
    ^ that article states "The family's 4-month-old Whirlpool refrigerator was in pieces, scattered throughout the kitchen and surrounding rooms."

    The original article in the first post stated "4 year old Whirlpool refrigerator".


    Hmmmmmm....

  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    ^right. Which is it. The home, condo, apartment looked fairly new.

    That took quite a bit of force to bend that stove top with the granite counter like it did. Especially in that corner area of the stove.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    Getting up in the middle of the night half asleep for something to drink out of the fridge could have been quite an eye opener.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 3
    I'm running XP OS , and Firefox. XP is so sluggish I plan on just upgrading it when I find a fast enough computer. Was given some licenses for win ~ 8

    What browzer do you like? Have NO interest in Linux OS
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member
    > @Leonard said:
    > I'm running XP OS , and Firefox. XP is so sluggish I plan on just upgrading it when I find a fast enough computer. Was given some licenses for win ~ 8
    >
    > What browzer do you like? Have NO interest in Linux OS

    Good luck with that...
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jimctjimct Posts: 9Member
    No comment on the Frdige, but do get rid of XP as soon as you can. Microsoft hasn’t patched it in years, and it is full of security vulnerabilities, doesn’t support modern encryption protocols etc. You are leaving yourself at great risk . Kind of like leaving your front door unlocked and wide open all the time,
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 720Member
    edited January 6
    I'm working on getting a faster computer running with win 8 that I was given licenses for. Even with Firefox brozer, XP won't play the new web video format.

    I know XP is a security problem, so I don't put personal or financial info on it.

    I backup frequently , and wipe the harddrive and reload about once a year to stop it from running very sluggish.
  • neilcneilc Posts: 652Member
    come to the 21st century,
    win 10
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member
    Windows 7 and 10 are both fantastic.

    XP is trash and everything @jimct said is correct.

    Working to get a computer that's running an obsolete OS is an interesting comment though.

    You insist on having a high end emergency generator but are ok with using junk computers?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,901Member
    I have a GS8
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    I can remember using windows 3.1 :D about 25 years ago......

  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member
    > @Gordy said:
    > I can remember using windows 3.1 :D about 25 years ago......

    I remember using MS Dos 3.0 like it was yesterday.

    But as you know, I don't tolerate old computers.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,250Member
    Oh I remember DOS too.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    DOS.. DEC Rainbows... yeah, those were the days.

    At the moment I am running Windows 10 on an HP laptop with a 1 terabyte solid state "hard" drive. I like Windows 10 -- most of the good things about Windows 7 are still there (like the stability!) and a lot of good new stuff -- among other things, really good antivirus/antiransom/firewall built right in.

    XP was very good -- in the day. It's security, however, is now very poor indeed, relatively speaking. Windows 8? Go all the way to 10.

    Browser -- I have used Firefox and been quite happy with it. However, on this new computer I'm using Edge and I'm even happier with it.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 1,901Member
    You'll find exploding bombs and dead guys in just about any manual.
    I haven't followed. Do they at least know if it wasn't a kids prank gone terribly wrong or faulty house wiring, or other avenues?
  • James_R_MaddenJames_R_Madden Posts: 1Member
    It was NOT a FOUR (4) YEAR OLD refrigerator!

    It was a four MONTH old refrigerator!

    I think it was using R290 AKA Propane.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,516Member

    It was Propane.

    Why do you think that?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Matt_67Matt_67 Posts: 168Member
    We do quite a bit of service work on small commercial reach-ins and R-290 is very common on the newer ones. One of the manufacturers did a training for us and we have a service kit for it and some 'refrigerant grade' propane cylinders - I guess its dryer and more pure. I'm actually looking for a refrigerator for my home right now and the manufacturers are not making it easy to know what refrigerant they are using - I can't find it in the specs on most units which makes me think they might be using propane too.
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