The garage is one area of our homes at particularly high risk of fire. Why is that? Because it is the place, we generally keep the most combustible items like gas canisters, cleaning chemicals, outdoor equipment and used decorating supplies, etc. Any of these items could increase the risk of fire, especially if they are not stored in the proper way.
What other factors contribute to a garage becoming a fire hazard? Very often, if we have to do some yard work or fix a piece of outdoor equipment, we use the garage to do it. If oily rags or combustible liquids are left on the garage floor, they can become a hazard, so it is important to clean these up as quickly as possible. You should not store bags full of garbage in the garage either, as these will increase the fire risk.
Another way the garage can become a health hazard is if a vehicle is left running with the doors closed. This could be lethal, so never start the car or any other machine before opening the garage door first. You must also ensure that you have carbon monoxide detectors and that they are regularly checked to make sure they are working properly.
Be extra careful if your garage is attached to your home. Damage to the connecting door and frame, such as cracks or gaps can allow toxic fumes to enter your living space. So, be vigilant with regard to garage maintenance and do your best to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL