When you’re setting up a space to work on your car, you’ll obviously need adequate clearance, lighting and tools, but have you thought about proper garage ventilation?
Because cars have internal combustion engines, they’re a major source of pollution and invisible gases. Outside, one barely notices the carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides constantly spewing from a running car’s tail pipe. However, inside a closed area, such as your DIY garage, high concentrations of these gases can rise to dangerous levels. So how do you keep fresh air flowing?
Garage Ventilation Tips for the DIY Crowd
Ventilation systems keep noxious fumes from building up in your garage, and a good one doesn’t need to be particularly complicated or expensive. In order of complexity and expense, here are a few ways to keep your garage properly ventilated:
- Open the door: This might seem obvious, but routinely opening your garage door is the cheapest way to ensure proper ventilation in your garage. In the summer, this might be a good idea, but what about in winter?
- Exhaust hose: The winter can make it uncomfortable to work in your garage, and it’s likely that you’ll have to use gloves to handle your tools, making it more difficult to perform precision maneuvers. A space heater can keep things nice and warm, but you’ll still need to get any car exhaust out of the garage. In the same way you would prepare to install a clothes dryer, run a rubber exhaust hose out of your garage. Make sure to buy enough foil hose to reach your car’s tail pipe. To maximize this system’s efficiency, cut and fold the end of the hose to fit your tail pipe, and make sure to avoid stepping on the hose.
- Mounted fan: If you don’t want to use an exhaust hose, you need to make sure to keep the air flowing in order to flush out exhaust gases. A fan mounted directly in the wall works nicely and is much cheaper than a full ducted system. Be sure to frame and fill in around the fan, and install a lightweight door on the outside for when you aren’t using it. On the opposite end of the garage, make sure there is a small window that you can open to create air flow. You’ll need a slightly bigger space heater to keep up with any heat loss resulting from this circulation.
You don’t have to break the bank or become an HVAC specialist to ensure proper garage ventilation. Just make sure that it fits your budget and sufficiently transports any harmful fumes from your breathing space.
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Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.