Beware of Exploding Toilets in a Thunderstorm

A lightning strike ignited methane gas in a Florida couple’s septic tank, resulting in a bathroom explosion

Beware of Exploding Toilets in a Thunderstorm

(Photo by A-1 Affordable Plumbing)

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A recent incident in Florida provides some education that you can pass on to customers: Plumbing can explode in a lightning storm.

A-1 Affordable Plumbing found a toilet in pieces when the company responded to a customer call on the morning of Aug. 4 in Port Charlotte, Florida. The broken porcelain had even penetrated the wall of the home’s master bathroom. The scene was the result of a lightning strike on the homeowners’ septic tank, which ignited methane gas in the sewer pipes and caused an explosion.

“Guaranteed you have never heard a story like this. No more pooping while it’s storming outside,” the company wrote in a Facebook post sharing photos of the damage resulting from the septic tank lightning strike. “Most likely all sewer piping will need to be replaced and septic tank. Luckily no one was hurt. Scheduling a camera inspection this week to see how much sanitary pipe needs to be replaced.”

“It was very scary. The explosion was very loud. Sure glad I wasn’t in there,” one of the homeowners Marylou Ward told USA Today.

She and her husband were still in bed when the explosion occurred.

While certainly a rare occurrence, there’s a good lesson here to provide to your customers. They likely have never thought about how using the bathroom during a thunderstorm could very suddenly turn into a dangerous situation.


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