Prevent Garage Fires with These Tips

How common are garage fires? Are you at risk? Explore this blog to find out.

You like this look? This garage door is an Eastman E-21, 9' x 8', Moka Brown doors and Ice White overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

Dig this look? This is an Eastman E-21, 9' x 8', Moka Brown doors with Ice White overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

Asking yourself “how do I protect my garage from a fire”? It’s a surprisingly complicated situation with few simple answers. Each year, thousands of homes across the country are affected by garage fires. They result in physical damage, the loss of the home, or even injuries and deaths.

In this post, we will discuss ways to help prevent you from becoming yet another victim. We’ll highlight the most common causes of garage fires, as well as what to do should one ignite in your garage.

Understanding Why Garage Door Fires Happen

While we will talk about how to prevent fires in your garage, we must start at the beginning. How do garage fires start in the first place? There are many different reasons.

Garage fires can cause injuries and even lead to deaths. They destroy property and can leave families homeless. All homeowners must avoid the issues we discuss below to help ensure the safety of their garage, home, and family.

Is a fire in the garage the most common cause of a house fire? No, but those that do are generally far more destructive than those that start in the home simply because it is much harder to detect a fire when it is in the garage.

Keep flames out of your garage for your safety. Image: Pixabay

Make your garage a flame-free space for safety. Image: Pixabay

Garage Fires: How Do They Start?

While garage fires can begin for almost any reason, four causes top our list. Understanding these four threats can help you protect your home and family.

Propane Tanks

Chances are good that you have a propane tank or two around the house. They’re required for your gas grill, but they can be used with turkey fryers, and much more. However, they can be a threat that you might not even think about. If the tank’s seals fail and a leak develops, a single spark could lead to a fire or even an explosion.

Keep your propane tanks out of the garage. Find a storage space well away from the house (or consider only using one propane tank at a time).

Gasoline and Other Liquids

Most of us keep gasoline in our garages and don’t think anything about it. We need it for lawn mowers, trimmers, edgers, and other tools. You might also keep cleaning agents in the garage. All of these items are flammable and pose very real threats to your safety. Stor all flammable liquids in a backyard shed well away from the garage and your home. Make sure that any flammable liquid is properly stored and labeled, too.

All the Mess

How much junk are you storing in your garage? Clutter, boxes in poor condition, incorrectly stored items – these can all increase your risk of a fire. They are not flammable in their own right, but the more cluttered your garage is, the faster a fire will spread. That is particularly true if you have lots of cardboard boxes or plastic tubs/totes. Declutter your garage. A yard sale can do wonders (and put a little cash in your pocket), but don’t be afraid to take things to the landfill, either.

Wiring Problems

Electrical fires in the garage are common. They can also start for any number of reasons, including overloading circuits, rodent damage to wiring, wiring that isn’t up to code, and so much more. Try to avoid using too many extension cords and very long cords. Don’t overload your outlets, and check for signs of problems, like hot outlets or circuit breakers that constantly trip.

Protect Your Garage from Fire

The best offense against fire is a good defense. And by that, we mean using preventative strategies that reduce your risk of fire. The single most important tip is to install a smoke detector in your garage. Ideally, it will be situated close to the door into the house so that you can hear it inside the home. However, there are other things you can do.

● Consider installing a heat alarm in your garage that will alert you when the heat reaches a dangerous level.

● Have a fire extinguisher in the garage and make sure to check the charge regularly.

● Don’t light fires in the garage. It is important that you avoid using a fire pit in your garage. They’re not suitable for enclosed spaces.

It’s not just about prevention, though. It’s also important to be safe when dealing with a fire. If you cannot get the flames under control, call the fire department immediately.

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Shaker-Flat CC, 9' x 7', Black, Clear windows.

How do you like this door? It is a Standard+ Shaker-Flat CC, 9' x 7', Black, Clear windows.

How to Deal Damage with a Fire in Four Simple Steps

Sometimes, you may suffer a fire despite your best efforts. Take a deep breath and then follow these four simple steps.

1. Call Your Insurer

Your first call (after the one to the fire department) should be to your insurance company. You will need to file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance. In most cases, that will have to wait until after the fire marshall’s investigation. Each insurance policy is different, so know how yours works and how the insurer will pay out in the event of fire damage or a total loss.

Avoid fire trucks rushing to your location. Image by Pixabay.

This is NOT what you want to see in your driveway. Image: Pixabay.

2. Hire Your Own Inspector

Your insurance company is supposed to work for you, but too often, the inspector they send has the company’s best interests in mind (less money for you). If you don’t feel that the inspector’s decision was fair, you have the right to hire your own. Make sure the inspector checks the entire structure, including the walls, the roofing, the HVAC system, and the exterior of the home.

3. Repair? Rebuild?

With the inspection over, it’s time for you to make a decision. Should you repair your home? Can it even be repaired? In some cases, your insurance company may specify what actions you can and cannot take. If you choose to repair, understand that you’ll need to invest in smoke and water cleanup, as well.

4. Work with an Expert in Your Area

Whether you’re rebuilding or repairing, it’s important to choose a local expert to work with. Make sure that the contractor has experience working with insurers and check their work history to ensure you’re happy with what they can achieve for you.

Garage Door Replacement: Understanding the Process

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.

Is this your style? This door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.

If your garage sustained substantial damage, you’ll need to rebuild it. One decision that you’ll need to make in the beginning is what type of garage door you want. You have several factors to consider in this decision, including considering your budget, the size of the door, and whether it’s better to go with an attached or a detached garage.

Not entirely sure what the best option is? Take some time to learn more about the process and your options, including the garage door opener you’ll need for ease of access. Some of today’s openers offer pretty innovative functions, like remote entry, programmable timers, and even voice communications.

As you’re rebuilding the garage, keep a couple of things in mind. These will affect your comfort level.

● What are the door’s reflective capabilities? Garage doors that reflect light will help you keep your space much cooler in the summer.

● Does the door block the flow of wind? Make sure the garage door installer explains its insulative capabilities so you can ensure you make an informed decision here.

The other main factors you’ll need to consider are the cost and your budget, the style and its impact on your home’s aesthetic, and the timeline for completion.

Are You Installing a New Garage Door?

You like this look? This garage door is a Regal Shaker-Flat Long, 9' x 7', Black Ice, window layout: Left-side Harmony.

Does this style work for your home? It is a Regal Shaker-Flat Long, 9' x 7', Black Ice, window layout: Left-side Harmony.

Contact a local garage door specialist to discuss your needs, budget, and goals. They will be able to guide you through the process easily.

Overhead Door of Nova Scotia can even offer a fast, simple email quotation.

Not sure how the garage door will affect your home? Explore these 3 styles so that you can choose the right door.

Call us at 902-455-5469. We look forward to helping you get the perfect garage door for your home.

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