Is your garage attached to your home, and do you often leave the door open? Have you been having any difficulty breathing lately? Well, according to a health study, garages are a hub of toxic substances.
When these toxins find their way into your living space, they can have adverse effects on your health, thus the breathing problems.
Understanding How Garage Fumes Pollute Your Indoor Air
There are several ways your indoor air can be polluted. From pollen finding its way into your home, pets dragging their air and dander, to your carpets to toxic fumes and gases from your attached garage finding their way into your living space.
Vehicles, paints, mowers, and lubricants have or generate toxic elements that can quickly enter your home through your doors, ducts, gaps around closed doors, and other wall and ceiling penetrations.
According to a Health Canada study, measurable quantities of benzene (a gasoline-related contaminant) find their way into most homes with attached garages. In contrast, those without garages don’t necessarily have any.
Other studies from Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and Alaska have also found significant evidence of garage-generated carbon monoxide leaking into your home and activating carbon monoxide detectors.
Luckily, there are some essential steps you can take to keep your indoor air quality secure.
1. Keep Your Garage Clean
The first thing you need to do is ensure that your garage is clean at all times. So make sure that you avoid running your car, motorcycle, lawnmower, or any other gasoline-powered machine any longer than you need to hen you’re in your gag rage. Moreover, don’t start your vehicle or any other internal combustion engine when the garage door is shut. When you do decide to start up your engine, after you open up your garage, move it outside as soon as possible then closed it to avert any exhaust gases from floating back into your garage.
Make sure that you also shut your car off as quickly as possible when you pull it into your garage and leave its door open for a few minutes to clear the air.
When it’s possible, ensure that you avoid placing any mechanical systems like your gas-powered water heaters and furnaces in the garage.
Purchasing an air purifier can also be a big help.
2. Seal all the Gaps
Fumes and other toxic gages can find their way into your home through gaps. It’s easy to take action to prevent, but most people tend to ignore these gaps.
So, ensure that you assess where there may be gaps from your garage into your home and use less costly supplies like weather-stripping, caulk, and spray some foam to help solve these issues.
Moreover, make sure that the door leading to your house from the garage is shut tightly and that you apply proper weather-stripping. If the weather-stripping is worn, ensure that you replace it immediately.
It would be best if also remembered to seal all the gaps like ducts and wiring that lead into your home or ceiling above your garage.
You can try using caulk or spare since they’re great products for sealing these types of penetrations.
3. Finish Your Walls and Ceilings
Almost 30% of new homes in the U.S have garages left with open walls or with drywall attached, but the joints not finished. Both circumstances allow garage pollutants to easily find their way inside your home and affecting your respiratory systems.
So, to avoid these calamities, ensure that your garage walls and ceilings are completely covered with drywall and have the joints adequately sealed with tape and compound to prevent fumes from getting into your home. You should also ensure that the surfaces are primed and painted since paint and primers are less likely to leak. While this will be a massive project and cost you a couple of bucks, it’ll pay off in not only safeguarding your indoor air but also ensuring that your garage is more attractive and adds some value to your home design.
4. Keep the Door that Connects Your Home and Garage Shut
After a day of shopping for groceries, you might find yourself arms full when entering your house, forgetting to shut the garage door. Alternatively, your kids could be playing and they forgot to shut the door or failed to close it all the way. As much you did this unconsciously, leaving the door open if for a little while, allows nasty fumes from your garage to enter your haven of peace and comfort quickly and easily.
So, if you can, ensure that you input a rule that everyone must shut the door behind or trying installing a self-closing door for a more secure and reliable approach.
5. Store Chemicals Safely
Another essential consideration to take is ensuring that all chemicals are stored securely and that they’re sealed. Don’t let cans of paint thinners, solvents, and other toxic liquids to sit uncovered. If you smell the chemicals then that means that potentially harmful fumes are in the garage area and they can find their way to your living space.
When you’re storing these containers, consider also getting a plastic bin with a sealable lid or an ice chest to help keep them safe. The sealable top will act as an additional layer of protection, thus preventing your kids from accessing them and any accidental spillages.
If your garage serves as your storage locker, be sure to buy a lockable chemical storage cabinet to help keep the kids and pets out of reach.
6. Vent Your Garage Outdoors
If you’re a workaholic and you send most of your time in the garage working with chemicals, paints, wood furnish, combustion engines, or other toxic and harmful materials, consider installing an exhaust fan that averts the odors and fumes to the outdoors. You can try getting a decent bathroom or kitchen fan, or if you work in a larger space, a reliable air purifier would be the perfect fit.
7. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
You should also install a carbon monoxide detector. If you’re curious about the carbon monoxide levels in your garage, make sure that you mount one out there, too, at least temporarily.
It can be essential to you and your health to make sure it works properly. If it, perhaps, goes off when you haven’t been running your motorcycle in the garage, it could be a sign of a hazardous condition with your furnace or gas water heater. Even though it can be irritating due to the noise it emits, it might be the knight and shining armor you need to keep you safe.
8. Invest in a Detached Garage
If you’re building a new house for you and your family, consider making the garage fully detached from your home. You’ll keep the odors, fumes, noise, and fire hazards out of your principal residence.
Getting rid of garage pollution is very crucial, especially if you live in an old home. It might seem trivial, but the number of fumes that come from the garage can cause adverse effects to your respiratory system, thus leading to irreversible health conditions. So always ensure that you monitor your CO levels and invest in an excellent air purifier to help curb these issues.