Last week Wednesday a woman in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County died after her fridge exploded. The fire burned items left in the kitchen but did not spread to any other room. Even though the fire did not spread to other rooms, the smoke spread all over the house. It is speculated that the woman died from inhaling the toxic gases emitted after the fridge exploded.

This sad occurrence begs the question, what could have caused the refrigerator to explode? What can we do to prevent such accidents?

What can cause a fridge to explode?
The fridge compressor is the most likely cause of fridge explosion. The compressor is found on the back of a fridge and it looks like a car radiator. The work of the compressor is to push the refrigerant ( a substance or mixture, usually a fluid, used in a heat pump and refrigeration cycle) through the compressor coils, making the gas to cool and become liquid. When the gas cools, it soaks in the heat and in turn cools whatever is stored in the fridge.
This cooling process can be affected when the back of the fridge gets very hot as the gas passes through the coils. The heat can make the coils to contract and trap the refrigerant. Since the trapped gas cannot move effectively as it ought to, it can burst through the coils, leading to explosion.

Safety precautions to prevent an explosion

  • Cleaning the compressor coils helps unclog them, making it easy for gas to pass.
  • Defrost your fridge at least once a year.
  • Avoid placing the fridge near a cooker or direct sunlight.
  • Make sure there is some space behind the fridge for easier circulation.