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Old 10-11-2016, 07:25 PM   #1
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Default lacquer explosion

A local company just had an explosion in a house where a pilot light from a water heater ignited the fumes. Reports are burns over 40% of their bodies and helicoptered to a burn center. Just a reminder to always ventilate and turn off pilot lights.

One of the painters used to be a neighbor of mine years ago.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:13 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that....hope they are lic/bond/insured and covered by lni at a minimum ..hope they have a complete and speedy recovery
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:45 PM   #3
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Why I never sprayed lacquer. Did occasionally spray flammable materials in my shop where my gas hot water heater is located and I used to shut off the PL when spraying, but now I've just given up on the solvent based products altogether.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:01 PM   #4
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I wonder how much it takes to make it explode. I do not think I have ever been close as I always try to ventilate but it makes you wonder.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:31 PM   #5
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Well, we could ask the guys at the hospital....they prolly know exactly how much it takes.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:57 PM   #6
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Reminds me of a story from Wayyyyyyyy back when. My boss told me about some painters that had just finished spraying out some cabs a couple hours prior, guy lit a smoke in the house (it wasn't unheard of Wayyyyyyyy back when) and poof! There went the kitchen....smh.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpaintchic View Post
Reminds me of a story from Wayyyyyyyy back when. My boss told me about some painters that had just finished spraying out some cabs a couple hours prior, guy lit a smoke in the house (it wasn't unheard of Wayyyyyyyy back when) and poof! There went the kitchen....smh.
I wonder how lucky I and some crews have been that we did get exploded. Had a few instances where I don't know how we didn't die. You could be exhausting air outside and the fan could (and probably has) spark fires.
The pump could spark and cause explosion.
Anything being plugged into an outlet like lights, fans, vacs, radios, anything could be catastrophic.

One time I was spraying up to 40 gallons of lacquer inside a big house. There were live wires hanging out of one power outlet... all insulated except for the cut end. A co-worker walked by it with the air 100% full of lacquer and it sparked him up and burned a hold in his shirt and was black and smoky. Don't know how the whole place didn't flash.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:47 AM   #8
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I wonder how lucky I and some crews have been that we did get exploded. Had a few instances where I don't know how we didn't die. You could be exhausting air outside and the fan could (and probably has) spark fires.
The pump could spark and cause explosion.
Anything being plugged into an outlet like lights, fans, vacs, radios, anything could be catastrophic.

One time I was spraying up to 40 gallons of lacquer inside a big house. There were live wires hanging out of one power outlet... all insulated except for the cut end. A co-worker walked by it with the air 100% full of lacquer and it sparked him up and burned a hold in his shirt and was black and smoky. Don't know how the whole place didn't flash.
EDIT: first line, did NOT get exploded. Lol
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:45 PM   #9
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More sophisticated operations use gas meters. Just say yin.

No one wants to see people get hurt. I hope they recover well.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:05 PM   #10
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Are there units that residential painters can obtain and use somewhat affordably?
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:57 PM   #11
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Are there units that residential painters can obtain and use somewhat affordably?
There's a whole myriad of portable gas meters that range in price. The one's we have measure LEL (Lower Explosive Limits) using methane to calibrate. It also measures O2, CO, and H2S. These units have to be calibrated regularly.

The one's we have are designed more for reading atmospheric conditions in tanks, vaults, and other areas that may have a gas hazard. They have exposed filters which may become contaminated in a atmosphere that contains airborne particulates. So, we have to be careful how we place them. There are some meters better suited for airborne particulates and atomized liquid.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:29 PM   #12
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this is why most nitrocellulose lacquers say "for shop application only!" somewhere on the label or data sheet. Not so much to keep people from using it in the field, but more to protect the manufacturers from.......well you know, lawsuits. They're sneaky that way.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:08 PM   #13
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Old timers I worked with told me how guys used to spray lacquer while smoking. When I first started working on my own, a builder had me spray lacquer and spray stain in his shop. With an open flame wall heater running that he would not let me shut off (since the propane line would freeze outside if it was turned off). No ventilation. HVLP application of coatings. He told me they did it before and I trusted him. Like a complete idiot. I have NO IDEA how that building did not explode. Foggy overspray filled the room. Flames changed color as they burned up overspray. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a miracle something awful did not happen to me. One of my former employees is a firefighter and thinks I may have hit the point where there was no enough oxygen for it to go boom.

All waterborne for me now. I have no longer have a reason to spray solvent except the occasion small amount of BIN.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanV View Post
Old timers I worked with told me how guys used to spray lacquer while smoking. When I first started working on my own, a builder had me spray lacquer and spray stain in his shop. With an open flame wall heater running that he would not let me shut off (since the propane line would freeze outside if it was turned off). No ventilation. HVLP application of coatings. He told me they did it before and I trusted him. Like a complete idiot. I have NO IDEA how that building did not explode. Foggy overspray filled the room. Flames changed color as they burned up overspray. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a miracle something awful did not happen to me. One of my former employees is a firefighter and thinks I may have hit the point where there was no enough oxygen for it to go boom.

All waterborne for me now. I have no longer have a reason to spray solvent except the occasion small amount of BIN.
That's the key to the explosion. Enough solvents in the air, with the right amount of O2
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Old 10-18-2016, 08:07 AM   #15
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Yea, I had the understanding that if the atmosphere is too full of solvent, displacing the oxygen, it won't explode.

Kinda how an almost empty gas can is more dangerous than a full one.
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