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Garage Safety

OpenerBeamsBy Jon Vacha

With the rise of “never stop improving” and “more saving, more doing” more and more home owners are becoming do-it-your-selfers. Every now and then we will run into the handy work of someone who didn’t go about things in the best possible way. Garages are one area that can ‘improved’ more or have ‘more doing’ then the home inspector may appreciate. There are three common things we find that are considered safety concerns.

Styrofoam board insulation is easy to cut and install into over walls or ceilings or even garage doors. Once it is installed it shouldn’t be left exposed, however because it is flammable and its fumes are highly toxic. Batted fiberglass insulation has a paper back that has a warning printed on it- “should not be left exposed, will burn”. The solution to exposed insulation is simple, just cover it with drywall.

Now-a-days all garage door openers come equipped with safety beams that are designed to protect children or pets who may be positioned under a closing garage door. These beams should be 6” or less above the garage floor on either side of the garage door. They don’t do much in the way of safety if they are installed up on the ceiling of a garage, but this is where we find them periodically.

We all like a warm garage in the winter or a cool one in the summer, however vent openings should not be installed in garages. It is okay to install a separate heat source like a wall mounted gas heater. The concern with a vent opening that is connected a whole house HVAC duct system is that CO gas from a car left running could enter the house. This obviously could be deadly.


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