Preparing your home for aging in place may be the most important remodeling projects you’ll ever undertake. And the best place to start is right behind your garage door. A well-designed garage provides many benefits to older adults including convenient, ground-floor storage, a space for a workbench for gardening or other hobbies, and a safe and weather resistant entrance to the main house.
But for most, realizing those benefits requires a few updates to make the garage senior-friendly.
Your garage may serve many purposes, such as a place to park your vehicle and store your tools. Your children might use it as a designated spot for all of their bikes, sporting equipment, and summer toys.
We talk a lot about making more of your garage, and garage door maintenance, but what about garage door safety?
If you’ve got small children, or pets then you’ll want to make sure that your garage and your garage door is as safe as possible.
Here’s what we recommend
1. Garage doors are not toys
Whilst it may seem obvious, garage doors are not toys, and shouldn’t be played with. They are heavy and the springs are under a lot of tension.
2. Garage doors are not for children
Garage doors are not for children, and they should not be encouraged to open and close the garage door by themselves.
Make sure that they are supervised whenever they use the garage door, and that they know about the rest of the garage door safety recommendations.
3. Keep the remote controls away from children
Remember to keep the remote controls for your garage door opener away from children.
Whilst you might let them open or close the garage under supervision, it’s not a good idea to let them use the remote controls by themselves.
4. Never walk or stand under a garage door in motion
It might be tempting to try and get in or out a bit quicker to save time or to get out of the bad weather, but you should never walk or stand under a garage door that it is in motion.
5. Keep hands and feet away from moving parts
Remember to keep your hands and feet, and any loose items of clothing or long hair away from the moving parts of your garage door.
It only takes a sudden gust of wind, or to be distracted, and you or your child could be tangled up in the mechanism.
6. Watch the garage door when opening or closing it
If you can’t see your garage door, you can’t see what’s going on. It only takes a second for a pet or a child to get in the way.
Also, remember that if your children have a habit of leaving their bikes and other toys near the garage door, you won’t see them if you can’t see your garage door.
7. Maintain your garage door
Looking after your garage door will ensure that it is in working condition, and that you spot any damage or wear before it becomes a problem, and your door won’t open or close properly.
8. There is a risk of electric shock
If you’ve got an automatic garage door opener, then you’ll know that it uses electricity.
Making sure that you protect yourself and your family from electric shock is of paramount importance.
If the casing is damaged, or there are exposed or damaged wires, get it fixed properly straight away.
If your door is damaged perhaps due to bad weather, or a car driving into it, then get it fixed straight away to avoid further damage.
10. Get the professionals in
If you’re not comfortable and confident about fixing your garage door, or repairing your automatic door opener, then don’t even try.
Get the professionals in.
Now you know more about garage door safety, and what you can and can’t do yourself, why not get your garage door serviced or a Free Estimate, and make sure that you, your family and your home are safe?
Call 651-702-1420 now and tell us how we can help you.
You use your garage for tinkering and storage. Often your garage becomes the starting point for major projects such as landscaping or car work.
You leave boxes full of old rags or used paint cans in your garage that you don’t really want to store in your home.
As a result, you see your garage either as a place for fun projects or common chores.
Odds are you wouldn’t see it as a threat.
However, garages can cause a major fire hazard:
Nearly 6,600 garage fires start every year, causing 30 deaths and 400 injuries.
Garage fires cause around $457 million dollars in property damages every year.
Despite the danger, you can make your garage safe when you take the right precautions. We will show you some of the best ways to eliminate fire hazards in your garage.
Read on to discover the specific fire risks you face. If you correct them, you will have a home safe from garage fires.
Why Garage Fires Are Dangerous
A survey of garage fires found that they are more likely to cause injuries and extensive property damage, making them more severe than other residential fires.
What makes garages such a danger to the rest of the home? Fires in the garage have plenty of air and fuel necessary to get started.
Garages are home to many flammable materials such as fuel and work rags.
Perhaps more significantly, garages give fires a structural advantage.The low spot in the home allows fires to spread to the rest of the home quickly.
Garages that have lower ceilings can give the fire more avenues to move out of the garage. This is especially true if a bedroom sits above the fire.
The furnishings give the fire extra food, while the fire also blocks the window exits.
With these factors in mind, you can develop a three-pronged strategy to prevent garage fires.
Get rid of fire starters
Second, reduce the fuel that a potential fire has access to
Make sure you can stop the fire from spreading to the rest of your home
Get Rid of Fire Starters
Fires need a spark, heat, or flame in order to catch.
If you remove potential starters form your garage, you can rest assured that you won’t see a major fire.
The following methods can help you neutralize the different fire starters in your garage.
Ensure the best electrical wiring in your garage. Electrical wiring is the number one cause of garage fires.
Use lightbulbs with proper wattage that don’t overload your wiring.
Don’t leave charging appliances alone in your garage and never use an extension cord to charge an appliance.
Never leave flammable chemicals in direct sunlight. The heat can cause them to explode.
Don’t mix chemicals. This can start a fire or create deadly fumes.
Reduce the Fuel in Your Garage
Garages are places for flammable items, and in some cases that is unavoidable.
However, it’s best to remove as many fuel sources as possible.
You can prevent a large fire from burning out of control if you keep flammable materials out of the fire’s reach.
Use these tips to make your garage safer.
Remove clutter like paper and oil rags from your garage. A cluttered garage provides the initial fuel that builds fire to unmanageable levels. Make sure you secure oil rags in separate, air-tight containers and place them far from any heat sources.
Store oil, gasoline, paint, and propane in a separate shed. Even if they catch here, the fire will stay localized in the area. This rule is especially true of propane tanks. The pressurized fuel will explode if it catches on fire, sending deadly fragments through your home.
Keep other flammable liquids away from any appliances. Store them in small quantities only.
Install Safety Features to Contain a Fire
If a fire does happen in your garage, you need to contain the fire immediately.
Safety features and fire-resistant home improvements can keep the fire in your garage until emergency services can come help you.
Use these ideas to determine which upgrades work best for your home.
Upgrade your garage walls and ceiling with Type X fire-rated gypsum. This material will block fires from spreading, giving your family time to exit your home.
Get a 20-min fire-resistant door that is self-latching and self-closing. This will prevent a fire from entering the living area of your ho
me before you can escape. Never have a doggy door on your garage door.
Install an attic hatch cover if your attic entryway is in your garage.
Purchase a heat alarm for your garage, rather than a smoke alarm. Heat alarms work better in the dusty environment of a garage.
If you want to use your garage as a work station or a place to tinker, the threat of fire means you need to take steps to stay safe.
We have given you a variety of strategies to remove ignition sources, reduce available fuel, and contain a fire.
With these strategies, you can reduce your chances of ever experiencing a garage fire.
Can’t find a place for your extra paint, old photographs, food storage, or gasoline? Find somewhere, these are 4 things to keep out of your garage.
How often do we stick things in the garage just because we can’t find a place for them inside? A garage can hold a lot of items, but some items are best kept in other areas. Here are four things to keep out of your garage.
1. Loose Files, Photos, and Documents
Sentimental people can build up quite the collection of keepsakes. Drawings from children, notes, lose files, and photos are all things we like to keep. If you want to preserve these memories, don’t keep them in the garage.
Paper products are susceptible to water damage from floods or leaks. Stacks of paper also make wonderful homes for mice and other pests.
Instead of storing papers in the garage, store them in plastic or metal bins inside. If you happen to have a locked metal filing cabinet in your garage, your important documents should be safe from floods and pests.
2. Food and Wine
Food, like paper products, attracts mice and pests when stored in the garage. Exposure to extreme heat, cold, and humidity can cause food to spoil.
Even if you plan on storing canned food like tomatoes, beans, or pears, temperatures above 70 degrees will give canned foods a shorter shelf life. Watch out for winter, too. Canned food that freezes and thaws spoils faster.
After you shop in bulk, store food in a pantry or temperature-controlled basement. Keep wine in a cabinet or refrigerator inside your home. Extremes in temperature will cause wine to expand and leak oxidation.
How many of us finish painting a room and then stick the leftover paint in the garage? It seems like a great place to store paint that we can later use for touch-ups.
But, oil-based paint does not last if you stick it in the garage. Extreme temperatures in the summer cause paints to go bad. Also, metal buckets will rust in high humidity or if left on the ground.
Instead, store paint in a cool, dry place in your home. Many people keep paint in a basement or closet. When selecting a spot to store your paint, just make sure it’s in a temperature-controlled, low-moisture area.
4. Hazardous Chemicals
Never keep hazardous chemicals, such as propane and gasoline, in the garage. Gasoline is unsafe to store near cars and other sources of heat. Without ventilation, fumes can leak and build up in the garage.
Similarly, you might keep your propane-fired grill outside during the summer and wheel it into the garage for the winter. But, if you keep both propane and your car in the garage, you risk igniting fumes from the propane when you start your car. Garages are also dangerous places to store hazardous chemicals because children and pets can get into them.
Where can you store these hazardous chemicals? Store propane tanks in a cool, ventilated area outside the house. Tanks should be set in an upright position away from rain gutters to avoid getting wet. If propane does get wet, it can rust and damage the controls.
You can store gasoline in a shed away from your home. Just make sure the gasoline is out of reach of children.
Don’t worry, there are still things you can keep in your garage! Obviously garages are the perfect place to park your car. In the garage, your car is away from the elements, and it is less likely that someone will break into it. You can keep woodworking supplies, tools, workout equipment, and toys in the garage, too.
But, next time you’re looking for a place to store loose paper, food, paint, and hazardous chemicals, find a place other than the garage to keep them safe.