How gas explodes in an apartment: causes of explosions and tips for safe use of gas

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Aksall
Last update: September 2019

Have you noticed how resonant the news of the gas explosion in residential buildings is? And you wondered why this is happening? The answer is simple - not only residents of gasified buildings may be at risk, but also those who do not use this type of fuel at all. Therefore, after the gas explodes in the apartment, everyone wants to know the reason.

Tracking tragic stories, people replenish the stock of knowledge about the causes of the leak, operating rules, and possible violations. The legislation describes in detail the requirements for gas pipelines, equipment and use cases. But rarely does anyone look into legislative acts in order to correctly install a stove or cylinder, to perform installation or transfer of pipes. And specialized services are not able to track all the actions of residents.

In order to get a complete picture of the causes of domestic explosions, their scope and consequences, we have analyzed incidents accounted for by statistics. The following article contains a list of sources of danger, as well as expert advice on correcting defects, even if the hazardous equipment belongs to outsiders.

The main causes of a gas explosion

To understand why ordinary household gas can explode, it is enough to turn to gas service summaries. The "honorable" first place in prevalence is occupied by the illiterate storage of propane cylinders.

Leaking old containers for years lie on mezzanines, in closets, kitchen niches under the window. For the explosion of accumulated fuel, one small spark is enough.

Balloons in the snow
A common mistake is a sharp movement of gas containers from cold to heat. Often observed when storing cylinders on the balcony. A change in temperature provokes a rapid expansion of the substance, an explosion

In second place are errors associated with careless installation of equipment - dropping cylinders or heating them with nearby heating devices quite often causes detonation.

The third is a malfunction gas mainleaks due to installation errors: leaks, hose wear, incorrect connection plates. This also includes unauthorized changes to the project, which exclude efficient ventilation, independent connections of additional equipment.

The fourth place is given to the carelessness of users who allow liquid injectors to fill plate nozzles. Once on the nozzle, the water extinguishes the fire, but does not block the gas outlet. The accumulation of explosives in the absence of ventilation quickly reaches critical values.

Included gas stove
Often residents of apartment buildings use a gas stove to heat the room. Some even leave the equipment turned on for the night. This can not be done, since the stove left unattended is a source of danger

And the last, fifth place for many years holds the irresponsibility of the owners of old cylinders. Having decided to give the tank a new life, practical tenants saw, cut, in various ways open the tankto adapt to different needs. This is a blunder.

Even a seemingly completely empty cylinder always contains residual gas. Therefore, each action aimed at autopsy is a step towards disaster.

Differences in methane and propane explosion

Looking at the statistics of household gas explosions, it is easy to notice the dependence of the frequency of incidents on the type of fuel. There are more accidents due to propane than using methane.

Professional gas workers explain this by the fact that methane is used to supply fuel to the serviced highways. Networks are regularly checked, repaired, updated. The operation of equipment with propane, on the contrary, is rarely monitored and, in fact, has been placed under the responsibility of ordinary users.

Propane-butane mixtures used to fill cylinders heavier than air. When leaking, they accumulate in the lower part of the room, creating all the conditions for an explosion. Natural gas is lighter than air and more mobile. Therefore, if it leaks, there is a greater chance that the ventilation system will cope with gas contamination.

The methane explosion power is almost twice as large. However, propane generates more heat - it is more efficient as fuel. Therefore, the explosion of propane cylinders is accompanied by intense combustion, and the main destructive force of methane is the blast wave.

Explosive methane concentration

The lower value of the explosive concentration of natural gas is 4.4% of the total air mass. The explosive peak is reached at a concentration of 9.5%. When the air is filled by more than 17%, methane simply burns, does not threaten an explosion, but can have a toxic effect on humans.

Accurately calculate the concentration of natural gas in the air is possible only with the help of devices - special sensors. But it’s easy to understand that a leak has already occurred when 1 percent of the air mass is filled. It is upon reaching this value that a person is able to clearly distinguish the specific smell of a substance.

Explosive Propane Concentration

A chance to organize an explosion with a propane leak appears even when 1.7% of the mixture is in the air. Explosiveness is maintained at a concentration of up to 10.9%. Like methane, propane-butane mixtures can have a detrimental effect on the nervous system. At the same time, victims complain of increasing symptoms of poisoning.

Sensor with shutdown
A useful thing for evaluating air composition is a gas sensor. Today on the market are products that signal a gas through color and sound indicators. The best option is a sensor that automatically shuts off the fuel in the event of a leak.

Since household balloon mixtures they are odorless, they are supplemented with odorants - strongly smelling substances. Having a very pungent odor, such substances quickly attract the attention of gas equipment owners in the event of a leak. Therefore, with due attention, it is not difficult to notice the danger in time.

Domestic gas explosion prevention

Knowing what causes gas to explode most often in apartments, you can make a list of actions to prevent accidents.

It will include:

  • operation of permitted equipment that is within the expiration date;
  • connection and installation performed by professionals with access;
  • competent storage and installation of cylinders;
  • coordination of all project changes with the gas service;
  • regular inspection of the gas pipeline, connections and equipment by gas workers;
  • maintaining the ventilation system in working condition;
  • cooking on a gas stove with the constant presence of adult capable people;
  • Use of equipment is strictly for its intended purpose.

In addition, it is important to listen to odors and monitor the tightness of the valves, cranesflange connections. At the slightest suspicion, contact the gas service supplying fuel.

Maintenance list
Unfortunately, the reviews of residents in gasified homes contain many reports on a formal approach to servicing gas equipment. To avoid this, you should look at the list of obligatory works and make sure that all the declared activities have been carried out in full.

Since apartment buildings make tenants dependent on each other, sometimes you have to monitor not only your own gas equipment. If the neighbors violate safety precautions, you must write a statement to the gas service.

It must specify the exact address, the reason for the appeal, the names of residents who signed the application, information about the violators, the date of fixation. The reason may be the presence of prohibited equipment, violation of the operating rules, the smell of gas.

Explosion Proof Procedure

An incorrectly opened or dropped cylinder will leave no choice - the substance will detonate instantly. And when a leak is detected, there is almost always time to neutralize the gas. A leak can be detected in four ways: by means of gas analyzers, by soaping joints, with the appearance of a smell, and the sensation of outgoing cold from the joints.

In all cases it is necessary:

  1. Organize intensive ventilation.
  2. Close the gas valve.
  3. Remove people and animals from the premises, warn neighbors.
  4. Contact the emergency department of the gas service.

It’s better to call rescuers when you go outside. Before the arrival of specialists, it is advisable to monitor the entrance to the house so that no one can get into the gassed apartments.

Gas Service Phones
For quick orientation in emergency situations, you should know in advance the features of dialing emergency numbers of your mobile operator. Subscribers of Megafon, MTS and TELE2 can call the gas service by dialing 040. Using Beeline services, you need to dial 004 while being serviced by Motiva - 104

The main thing, if a leak is detected, is to leave the room quickly and without panic. Therefore, if there are difficulties with finding cranes or opening windows, it is better to leave everything as it is and go outside.

If the explosion has already occurred

The algorithm for the explosion is identical. If possible, shut off the valves and leave the room. When calling, you should indicate the fact of the explosion, seek help from doctors, firefighters and gas workers. You can make a call on a single phone number 112.

Rescuers work
According to the observations of rescuers, a panic of residents becomes a significant obstacle to the coordinated actions of emergency services. Therefore, during rescue operations, it is advisable to calm down and accurately follow the instructions of specialists

In 90 percent of cases, a gas explosion is accompanied by a fire. Therefore, the actions in such an accident are identical to rescue from the fire.

To do this, you must:

  1. Press a damp cloth over your face, breathe only through it.
  2. Determine the way to the exit. If he is blocked by local fires, try to neutralize them by throwing a blanket over his hearth and dense outer clothing.
  3. If there is no way to exit through the main entrance, you should evaluate the chances of leaving the room through the windows.

In some situations, it is wiser to wait for rescuers than to evacuate yourself. Therefore, it is important to correctly assess the risks, not to panic.

Elevator evacuation
Leaving the apartment after the explosion, you can not use the elevator.The mine quickly fills with smoke, equipment ceases to function and gets stuck between floors

After leaving the house, rescuers advise moving away from the building as far as possible, staying at a safe distance until all sources of danger have been eliminated. Residents are notified of this by emergency personnel.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

In the video, the specialist once again lists the main causes of accidents, mentions the need for constant monitoring of the gas pipeline, shows samples of automatic gas analyzers:

Can a propane tank explode? Yes! Can natural gas explode in an apartment? Yes. Any fuel is a source of danger. Therefore, it is mandatory to comply with all the rules and norms of storage, installation and operation of gas equipment.

If you have useful information, you want to share your experience or warn other users, write. Below is a form where everyone can ask exciting questions, post a comment or photo. Participate in discussions, express your competent opinion.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Galina

    All this is very scary. And for me it is surprising - can a leak from a small balloon from the mezzanine cause a big explosion that could destroy the wall of the house?

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Hello. For an explosive mixture, 3 components are needed - gas, oxygen, flame / spark source. For an explosion, the gas concentration should be 5-15% of the volume of the room for natural gas and 1.5-9.5% for liquefied.

  2. If on a slow fire, when the stove is heated, the fire jumps to the nozzle, as a result, the burner burns and the nozzle under the burner (while the stove hisses a little) is it dangerous?

    Main gas, stove in the apartment.