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Every Have a Stainless Steel Pan Blow Hole in the Bottom While Cooking?

I just had the oddest thing happen:

I put water on to boil (more than 3/4 full pan) to make some mac and cheese -- added salt (as is usual) in a 18/8 TriPly Stainless Steel saucepan that I have had an used for over 20 years.

It was clean, in great shape (no abuse), and placed on a clean stove (electric).. I turned the heat up to high to boil the water -- as I always have...

And lucky for me I was standing on the other side of the kitchen.. I heard a LOUD KaPOP.. and see a VERY small fireball burst from the pan/burner and landed about 3 feet away.

The burner started going dark -- I turned it off -- removed the pan -- and noticed that water was dripping.. so I emptied the pan and saw an irregularly shaped hole about 3 pinheads in size... black on the outside around the hole.. I inspected the burner and there is a hole in the burner the same size/shape to match the pan...

So the question is: What the Heck made this happen?

I can think of nothing that I know of that could have been on the burner or the pan to cause this... I see no reason why a stainless steel pan would have suddenly burst out with a hole when it was nearly filled with water....

So, before I decide that my stove is engaging in terrorist activities... give me some ideas for the cause on this one....

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  1. I've had something similar happen. It was a pan with a laminated bottom (aluminum between stainless). The bottom sheet of stainless popped off with some energy after heating.

    Looks like different rates of expansion (for aluminum and stainless) when the pan heated finally popped the welding that holds the plies together. Not quite as energetic as you describe but it was surprising.

    1. Sounds like the stove element bit the dust. They can be replaced.

      1. Is this one of those coil electric burners? I used to have one until it would pop and spark. That might have been the problem, not the pot.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RGC1982

          yes -- electric coil -- I've had them burn out before too -- but never take a pot prisoner on the way out...

          I'm bummed about it - - it's part of a full set I've had 30 years that my mother (RIP) gave me -- I wonder if I can have it patched?

          Meanwhile, at least my corner drug store carries the replacement elements -- so no need to spend a couple of gallons of gas to pick one up.

          1. re: karmalaw

            I've had them burn out before too -- but never take a pot prisoner on the way out...
            =====================================================
            Now that was funny! LOL

        2. Not a pot but a deep fryer. Electrical element blew with a loud "pop" and burst the enclosing metal. Pretty dramatic as the oil started to spread across the counter. Fortunately the oil while pretty warm hadn't reached the high cooking temperature.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mexivilla

            well, that certainly makes me think twice about a deep fryer.. yikes!

          2. Hi Karmalaw,

            My stove did the same thing. Loud pop, then the liquid in the pan started pouring out of the pan. There's a small hole in the pan, and lo and behold, also on the burner/ring. Sounded like a gun shot.

            Were you able to safely use the other burners? i'm scared to even turn any of the other burners on now.

            There's a small hole in my saucepan and a small hole in the burner ring. I guess i need to replace.

            I hope you see this message... your incident happened five years ago!

            1. I just had this happen to me tonight. Thankfully it was water boiling in the pan and not hot oil! I was standing at the stove when it blew and caught fire. Also, had a hole in my pan which is enamel coated and I'm guessing aluminum inside. My three year old grand daughter took flight (running) and we found her on the sofa in the living room!

              I was wondering if it was the pan or the eye. Now I guess I know. Thanks for the info.

               
              1. It looks to me like there was an electrical short circuit through the pan. A high electric current will certainly melt the pan metal.