The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate your home’s safety features and determine what you can do to update them. Did you know that your garage is one of the most dangerous places in your home? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 6,600 garage fires every year, resulting in $457 million in property loss.
Garage doors don’t just impact your garage. They can also spread to your home, causing devastating injuries and property loss. Learn how you can protect your family and your home from the devastating possibility of a garage fire.
1. Don’t Store Flammable Materials
Unfortunately, storing flammable materials in the garage is all too common. Flammable materials include:
- Lighter fluid
- Paint thinner
- Oil-based cleaning products
- Brake fluid
A better place to store these items is in a shed in your backyard, away from your home.
Other potentially flammable materials include newspapers, magazines, and paper. If you do store these in the garage, place them in a sealed container.
2. Protect Your Water Heater and Boiler
If your water heater and boiler are stored in your garage, keep all items at least three feet away from them. A flammable object touching these appliances can spell disaster for your garage and your home.
3. Check Electrical Outlets
You may pay attention to the outlets in your home, but do you also check the outlets in your garage?
It’s important not to overload your outlets. Only one appliance should plug into each outlet. Also check that all cords are in good shape and aren’t frayed, broken, or bent.
You should also avoid using extension cords for appliances stored in your garage. Extension cords can overheat and catch on fire.
4. Install Fire-Protective Devices
Do you have a smoke alarm or heat alarm in your garage? While a smoke alarm alerts you of smoke, a heat alarm alerts you when the temperature begins to rise. Smoke alarms are more effective at detecting smoldering fires and poisonous gases. But heat alarms are not as sensitive to harmless factors like dust and humidity. Therefore, many people install heat alarms in garages.
If you choose a heat alarm, have an electrician connect the heat alarm to the smoke alarms in your home. When the heat alarm goes off, the smoke alarms will too.
Another important protective feature is a fire-rated door leading from your garage to your home. The door should have a tight seal to stop fire from spreading into your house. It should not have a pet door, which can let in smoke and flames. It should also have self-latching and self-closing features to ensure it stays closed.
5. Reinforce Your Walls and Attic
An important way to shield your home from fire is to reinforce every part of your home that touches your garage.
Reinforce the garage wall that attaches to your home with half-inch gypsum board. If you have living space above your garage, install 5/8 inch Type X gypsum board in the ceiling. If you have attic access through your garage, protect the attic with an attic hatch cover.
6. Maintain Your Car
If you park a car in your garage, keep an eye out for any issues. Oil or gas dripping from your car can start a fire.
If you notice a leak, take your car in for repairs right away. Having your car checked regularly can help you avoid problems that lead to fire. Cracked fuel lines, broken fuel injectors, and a malfunctioning car battery could all cause a fire.
7. Find a New Place to Weld
Welding involves flammable materials and presents a huge fire hazard. Many kinds of car repairs can also be dangerous to do inside your garage. Find a new place for these activities, and be sure to wear protective equipment.
8. Get a Garage Door with Fireproof Features
If you’ve had the same garage door for years, it might not have modern fire-proof features. These features might include:
- Heat-resistant materials
- Protective resin coating
- Fire-resistant core
- Automatic closing feature
Make sure your garage door (and every other door in your garage) has a fire rating of 20 minutes or more. That means that it would take 20 minutes of flames to break down the door. Fire-rated doors must pass powerful fire tests to prove their effectiveness. For example, the door must remain intact when exposed to flames from a furnace.
Fireproof features don’t only protect your garage door from catching fire. They also prevent the fire from spreading outside your garage.
Keep your home and family safe from the potential of a garage fire by following these tips. If it’s time to update your garage door, count on the experts at AAA Garage Door, Inc. We offer a wide selection of garage doors from the most trusted garage door suppliers.