This may come as a surprise to you, but did you know that your garage is actually one of the most dangerous rooms in your home? That’s right. According to the United States Fire Administration, “Garage fires can spread farther and cause more injuries and dollar loss than fires that start in other areas of your home.” According to known data, over 6,600 garage fires occur in the United States each year. The resulting property damage amounts to nearly half a billion dollars in destruction. So, the question for discerning homeowners is: what should I do to ensure garage fire prevention in my home?
This is an appropriate conversation considering summer is just around the corner. With the sun beating down and your kids playing inside and outside of the garage, now is the appropriate time to assess your garage’s fire security features. Does your garage even have fire prevention features? It is critical you ensure your garage is safe from excessive heat and fire. A garage fire can quickly spread from your garage and cause extensive damage and potential injuries. What kind of steps can homeowners take to prevent garage fires? Garage fire prevention should be at the top of mind for any homeowner as summer approaches.
Keep Flammable Materials Out of Your Garage
Far too often homeowners consider their garage to be the catch-all for just about anything that needs to be stored. The problem is a lot of the items people store in their garage might be dangerous. Consider flammable items from gas cylinders, paint thinner, propane tanks, oil-based cleaning products, paint thinner, and more. These items could potentially spill and catch fire during excessive summer heatwaves, which seem to happen more and more often in Akron, Canton, and the surrounding areas in Northeast Ohio. And if you have insulated garage doors, as many do, this insulation could create even greater fire danger if a fire has already started in the garage.
It’s also important to ensure you safeguard flammable materials that must be stored in the garage. This is especially true if your water heater or boiler is located in the garage. Keep all potentially dangerous goods at least three feet away from heat sources or any of the materials we’ve listed above if they are in your garage. Combustible liquids or gadgets could cause a catastrophe if they are stored near hot water heaters or boilers.
Ensure Your Electrical Outlets are Fire-Rated
Did you know that electrical outlets have fire ratings? Electrical outlets in your garage specifically must be fire-rated. This is a critical garage fire prevention tip. Many homeowners use outlets in their garages to do more than just charge a phone. Today, people use outlets for air compressors, shop tools, and mowing equipment. Make sure you use proper wattage light bulbs and avoid overloading your electrical wiring and outlets.
Each outlet should also have only one high-wattage appliance plugged in. Make sure all the cables plugged into each outlook are in good condition and not frayed, damaged, or bent. Also, make sure you don’t use standard extension cords for garage-stored appliances and electrical tools they are not rated for. Using electrical cords not rated for what you use them for could cause overheating damage and create a fire danger.
Configure Your Devices for Garage Fire Prevention
Many Ohio homeowners configure their garages for other uses. Whether it be as an office or classroom, you may utilize your garage for purposes it was not meant for. Do you have smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, or heat alarms in your garage? There is a purpose to having different types of alarms in the garage. A smoke alarm is useful for detecting smoke, fumes, and dangerous gases. Heat alarms are less sensitive to dust and humidity.
If you choose to go with a heat alarm in your garage, be sure a licensed electrician links it to your home’s smoke detectors. If a heat alarm goes off, the smoke alarms will go off as well. You may also want to consider installing a fire-rated door as another garage fire prevention element. The seal should be tight. Make sure there are no pet doors installed in the fire door. The point is to ensure if a fire does break out in the garage, it won’t make its way into the house.
Consider Your Attic, Walls, and Auto Repairs
If you are concerned about a potential fire breaking out in your garage, consider reinforcing your attic and walls. Every part of your home that contacts your garage is critical to protecting your home from fire damage. Consider using gypsum board to reinforce the ceiling or walls. And if you have access to your attic through the garage, make sure you have a reinforced attic hatch installed.
Finally, if you like to work on your car in the garage, make sure you prevent dripping oil or other fluids from collecting on the floor or splashing on walls or storage spaces. If your car is leaking, don’t just put cardboard under it and hope for the best. Instead, have it inspected and fixed at an auto repair facility where fire prevention is in the hands of the shop owners and not you, the homeowner. Protecting your garage from fire damage during the summer goes beyond the garage door. Consider these tips as summer approaches. And for all your other garage door maintenance, repair, or installation needs, don’t hesitate to contact the expert garage door repair professionals at Prestige Door of Ohio!