One of the downsides of having an attached garage is the production of car fumes that can potentially infiltrate in your home. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of your indoor air, you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that garage fumes contribute to the problem. The car isn’t the only source of toxic fumes as there are other items typically stored in your garage which can pollute the air in the house.
Studies have shown that owning an attached garage can increase your risk of developing some forms of cancer. One of the best solutions is to go for a detached garage but not everyone can afford that luxury. In that case, there are other measures you can take to stay protected from the dangers of garage fumes. Whether coming from cars, lawnmowers or paints, fumes can sneak through open gaps and alter the air inside your home. Here are the most important steps to take so you can breathe more safely.
1. Ventilation is Key
Many garages come with all kinds of sources of noxious fumes. Once you get accustomed to the smell in there, you won’t notice any problems even though you’re dealing with potentially toxic odors. Ventilation is an important aspect when it comes to keeping both the air in your attached garage fresher as well as the one inside the home. Improving the air quality in the garage can be usually done with the help of an exhaust fan which collects air pollutants and gets rid of them outside.
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2. Isolating the Garage
Although attached garages can be considered too closely connected to the rest of your home, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try various methods to isolate this area as much as possible. Fumes can penetrate through gaps in the garage, and that’s where you should focus your efforts to prevent them from polluting the indoor air.
The first step involves close inspection of the garage to discover potential gaps that permit odor leaks. Once you find them, you can rely on low-cost supplies such as caulk and spray foam to deal with the gaps. If the garage seems fairly well isolated, it’s important to check the door leading to the house very carefully. Make sure it closes tightly and has adequate weatherstripping that seals it as best as possible.
3. Preventing Excessive Fumes
While there are lots of good solutions to tackle the problem of fumes already produced, it’s often a better idea to just prevent them from becoming an issue in the first place. The air in the garage can be maintained cleaner simply by following some smart work procedures and rules. Not using gas-powered water heaters in the garage represents a good starting point.
Try not to use any kind of gasoline-powered machine inside the garage more than necessary. Once you become aware of the dangerous fumes that accumulate, you can get used to be more cautious in general. When there’s no other alternative, make sure the garage door is wide open or that a reliable ventilation system takes care of the fumes.
4. Remember the Door
It’s understandable that you’ve been really busy lately and leaving the door from the garage open happens quite often. While it may seem like a little thing, remembering to keep that door closed can make an important difference. Maybe the kids forget about it or simply don’t close it completely. Regardless of the situation, trying to keep the garage door that leads into the house tightly shut represents a good solution to block nasty fumes from entering inside. Consider getting yourself a self-closing door if you want to get rid of this problem once and for all.
5. Safe Chemical Storage
While fumes produced by your car can be considered the most dangerous, it’s important not to underestimate other sources of toxic substances. The garage is one of the favorite spots for many people who want to store various paint and solvent containers. Some of these substances can pollute the air so you need to prevent them from infiltrating the house.
By storing these chemicals safely, you can breathe cleaner air while inside the garage. Consider reliable containers that have sealable lids or ice chests that protect the contents inside from leaking dangerous fumes outside. Perhaps the best solution is to invest in a chemical storage cabinet if you have a bigger collection of items. Keep potentially toxic substances secure away from the access of children and pets.
6. Mounting Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There’s always a risk of a carbon monoxide leak when you have gas water heaters or furnaces. While you shouldn’t use these items in the garage, it’s recommended to install a carbon monoxide detector here just for your peace of mind. It will sound a very loud alarm when dangerous concentrations are found. CO levels in the garage can accumulate from various sources so it pays off to have one here besides other areas in your home.