Date: August 29, 2018
When it comes to home safety, people often think about installing alarm systems, deadbolt locks, and security cameras within and around their home. Most individuals never consider the dangers that lurk within their garage. As it turns out, home garage safety is vital when it comes to preventing damage, injuries, and even death.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are approximately 6,600 garage fires every year that result in an average of 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $457 million in property loss. Our garage safety tips revolve around installing two devices in your garage: a heat detector and a carbon monoxide detector. Keep your family (and the investment on your brand new garage door!) protected with our garage safety recommendations.
#1: Garage Heat Detectors
Heat Detector vs. Smoke Detector
It’s easy to confuse the terms “heat detector” and “smoke detector.” In fact, some people use them interchangeably. However, heat and smoke detectors are different and it’s important to know the purpose of each.
When placed in garages, smoke detectors may alarm frequently due to car exhaust fumes and excessive dust. The frequent alarms can become a nuisance and may damage the internal sensor of the alarm, causing it to not work properly over time. Because of this, smoke detectors should be placed in rooms that connect to your garage instead of directly inside your garage.
Heat detectors are triggered if the temperature within your garage becomes too high, indicating there is an issue such as a fire. They will not sound due to car exhaust fumes or dust, and they are a great solution when it comes to garage safety.
Heat Detector Benefits
Overall, heat detectors are more reliable than smoke detectors when placed in environments that can become dusty or dirty, such as garages. Whether your area is experiencing heat waves or a spark turns into a fire, the detector will alert you to abnormal conditions that could cause damage or be life threatening. Are you storing boxes of photo albums and irreplaceable heirlooms? Does your dog stay in a kennel you’ve built in your garage? With a heat detector, you’ll be better equipped to keep your pets, family, and valuables safe.
Plus, interconnected alarms can be installed for added safety. Once connected, if one alarm turns on, all of the alarms in the home will sound to ensure anyone in or around the house is aware of an issue.
Heat Detector Maintenance
Knowing how vital heat detectors are, detector maintenance must be a priority. First, make sure the heat detector within your garage is rated for 175-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Since unconditioned garages can become hot during summer months, the detector may sound if it’s rated for lower temperatures.
Expert Tip: Certain garage door materials, such as urethane composite, aid in the regulation of internal garage temperatures.
Be sure to always replace the detector’s batteries (per the manufacturer manual) right away if the low-battery alarm chirps. The only way to continuously protect your environment is by ensuring your alarms are adequately powered at all times.
You should also be aware of your heat detector lifespan and replace it when necessary. Heat detectors are made to last about 8 to 10 years. This lifespan is similar to the lifespan of smoke detectors, so you could conveniently replace your garage heat detectors and home smoke detectors at the same time.
#2: Garage Carbon Monoxide Detectors
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuel is burned in cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, and furnaces. Due to its odorless and colorless composition, it’s virtually undetectable unless you have a CO sensor and detector. If the gas builds up, it can be fatal to both humans and animals with prolonged exposure.
Carbon Monoxide Detector Benefits
Much like heat detectors, CO detectors will alert you of an issue within your garage. However, instead of extreme heat, CO detectors will let you know if CO has built up or accumulated. The alarm will allow you to fix issues before the gas levels are life threatening. Essentially, CO detectors eradicate the silence from this “silent killer.”
Since CO can leak into attached rooms, detectors will help to protect family members and pets residing inside your home. Depending on the type of CO detector you have, it may also be interconnected to other detectors to alert everyone within the home of high CO levels.
Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintenance
To properly maintain your CO detector, test it at least once a month to ensure it is working properly. While testing, remove any dust that may be resting on the sensor cover.
It’s recommended that you don’t use aerosols near the alarm sensor and that you only replace the batteries with alkaline batteries, not rechargeable ones. You should also be aware of your CO detector’s lifespan, which is approximately 5 to 10 years. You’ll need to replace it when necessary to keep your garage and home fully protected.
Additional Garage Safety Tips
Want to further enhance the safety in your garage and home? Check out our top eight tips for garage safety!