Working in the garage is almost like a home away from home for DIYers. Pretty much everyone understands how power tools can pose a danger when not used properly. But most take for granted other dangerous or damaging scenarios which can take place in a garage. A few things to keep a lookout for and preventative measures can help keep things safe.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Working in the garage is nothing unusual for most homeowners, particularly when the weather doesn’t permit outside access. When the weather is bad is also the highest probability of getting carbon monoxide poisoning. This gas is odorless and can accumulate from fuel sources. Gasoline powered tools operating outside of windows where fumes travel inside an un-aired area can cause problems. This includes the garage, where doors may be closed and few, if any windows exist. A way to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in home or garage is to ventilate. Gas powered tools can create fumes that are toxic if used in an unventilated area. Closing doors in winter while using heaters designed for work areas may also cause products, not normally stored inside the home to emit vapors which can be harmful and even deadly. You need to also make sure to keep these items away from heat sources or the risk of an explosion becomes reality.
Leaking Water Heater
Learn before a garage emergency how to shut off water. Some water heaters have a valve that shuts the water off, while others you will need to shut off the main water supply line that goes to your house. Sometimes a water heater leak is minor and can be repaired easily, but other times, the issue may be more complex or even with the need to replace the entire unit. While rare, it’s possible for a water heater tank to actually explode due to too much pressure inside the tank if there is an issue with the pressure relief valve. Make sure to do a yearly inspection of your water heater and look for any tiny leaks which will eventually turn into major ones. Most leaks either come from the top or bottom of the tank.
- If it looks like your hot water heater is leaking from the top, the fix is often fairly simple.
- If it looks like your hot water heater is leaking from the bottom, you may have a much bigger problem and a complete replacement may be necessary.
Flooding is certainly a garage emergency. Prevent this damaging event by keeping drain spouts clean and water channeled away from the home. If, there is a problem, a French drain will help water flow away from the garage. Obviously, those near rivers and streams or low laying areas are at the greatest risk of flooding so have a plan of action before it’s too late. The danger of flooding and water damage is not over once the water goes away. Unless properly ventilated with the use of fans and air movers, dangerous mold can start to grow in areas you see and don’t see. If you’re not sure how to properly dry out a garage after flooding, call a professional.
The garage door and automatic garage door openers are the height of convenience. The advantage of staying in the car, driving out and into the garage without getting out of the car is priceless. No cold or excessive heat to deal with to upset your day. However, when power outages happen, you need an alternative plan. Fortunately, garage door manufacturers are way in front of you. Still, a customer needs to learn to operate the manual override provided by manufactures. The manual is best activated, while the garage door is closed. If the door is already open, the door may fall. Also, no matter how annoying those garage door sensors are, resist the temptation to remove them. They are there for a reason and legally required in most residential homes.
When you think about the amount of flammable liquids people store in garages, it’s easy to understand how a fire might occur. Wires or batteries can spark and cause fumes to ignite. Make sure the walls of the garage are fireproof. This requires type X gypsum. A primary point of prevention is cleanliness. Keep paper and oil soaked cleaning rags disposed of, or stored properly. Never simply throw them away into a garbage can or outside the garage on a warm, sunny day. There are many incidents each year where the paper or rags actually ignite from the sun and cause majore fire damage.
For more information about how to prevent garage fires, visit: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/garage_fires_factsheet.pdf
Preventing garage emergencies is a high priority job and something we usually don’t even think about. By keeping an eye on certain things and even just being more aware of what could happen, you will automatically lessen your odds of a garage catastrophe occurring at your residence.