Whether your garage is attached to your home or not, having proper ventilation will ensure that dangerous fumes do not accumulate. Carbon monoxide from cars, a clear, tasteless and odorless gas, is a common, hazardous fume that can seep into an attached home and poison your family. If you use your garage as a shop, then paint, oils and other fumes can sicken you as well, so proper garage ventilation is essential.
Here’s what you should do to alleviate those concerns:
1. Make Avoidance a Prerogative
Garage ventilation only becomes necessary if you’re not taking certain precautions in the first place. For instance, on cold days you should never warm up your car in the garage, even for just a minute or two.
Instead, open the garage door, start the car and back it out of the garage to idle temporarily outside. Then, immediately close the garage door.
2. Keep the Garage Door Open While You Work
First, wear a dust mask or a respirator. It’s not enough to just wear safety glasses and to don gloves to protect yourself from contact with the chemicals — you must avoid breathing them as well.
Second, keep your garage door open as you work. If you have a side door that leads to the outside of the garage, open that door and turn on the ceiling fan, should you have one. It would also be wise to place a floor fan by the door to pull in fresh air. Or you can turn it around to dissipate the fumes.
Always keep the door connecting the garage to the home shut while working in the garage. And just to be safe, install a carbon monoxide detector in your garage, as well as in the vicinity of your home’s sleeping areas.
3. Install a Garage Ventilation System
For those who consistently work in their garage, installing a ventilation system, that draws in cooler outside air and expels hot, humid air, is an ideal safety solution.
Notably, a ventilation system allows you to continue working in your garage with the doors shut. Systems like this are composed of a retractable reel, module wiring, fans, a thermostat and the required hardware.
Typically, these systems require installing fans to the upper portion of the garage door and vents to the bottom section of that door. Consequently, the fans pull out the hot air and the vents bring in the cool air when the system is operating. The thermostat is then set to automatically turn on when a predetermined temperature has been reached, including when you’re not at home. Moreover, you can override the system at any time, especially when you have immediate garage ventilation in mind. While you’re at it, if you’re going to be fiddling around with them, you might as well keep those garage door tracks adequately lubed.
A ventilation system will mitigate fumes, vanquish mold and mildew, cool the garage and even abate your energy bill. Furthermore, a ventilation system may add value to your home, something to consider if you’re planning to sell.
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Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.