How to Prevent Fires in Your Garage

Nothing can be more devastating than your house catching on fire. You work hard to maintain your home, and the last thing you want is for all your effort to go waste in an accidental fire. While you might think house fires are uncommon, you are going to want to take every precaution to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

With that in mind, it is critical to understand that fire preparedness starts in your garage. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the most common causes of garage fires and how you can prevent them. We will also let you know what to do should the worst-case scenario of fire occur.

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.

This garage door is an Eastman E-21, 9’ x 8’, Moka Brown doors with Ice White overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

The Most Common Causes of Garage Fires

Before we can begin thinking about how to prevent fires, it is important to have an understanding of the reasons why garage fires happen in the first place.

More often than not, we use our garage to store a lot of stuff that we don’t want in our house. After all, who wants to keep a gas can and propane tank in their living room? While it seems logical to keep those things in the garage, the truth is, propane tanks and gasoline cans should never be stored in a garage.

Garage fires can be extremely dangerous and could lead to serious property damage, injury, and even death. This is why we can never be too prepared when it comes to fire safety.

While garage fires are less likely to occur in comparison to house fires, they can many times be more destructive. This is because they have a greater potential to get out of control due to the fact that garages are often left unattended.

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

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

How Do Fires Start in the Garage?

Theoretically, there are many ways for a garage to catch on fire, but in this article, we’re going to take a look at the four most common causes of garage fires.

  • Propane Tanks

    If any kind of spark comes in contact with a leaking propane tank, your garage could be significantly damaged. Exposure to any flame could cause an explosion which could seriously injury someone standing nearby.

    To make matters worse, the fire could spread to your entire home leaving you in a catastrophic situation. This is why you should make sure to store all propane tanks outside your garage, preferably in a shed far away from the house.

  • Flammable Liquids

    Many homeowners make the mistake of storing things like gasoline, oil, and flammable cleaning solutions in their garage. It might not seem like a big deal, but storing flammable liquids puts your garage at a much higher risk of catching on fire.

    If any of these flammable substances came in contact with a flame they could easily ignite and cause a fire that could spread throughout your garage. This is why we once again recommend that you keep all flammable liquids stored outside your garage in a shed far away from your house.

  • Clutter

    One of the benefits of having a garage is that it gives you extra space to store things that you don’t want in your house. While this is an amazing perk, it can also become a serious fire hazard if you let too much junk accumulate in your garage over time.

    A cluttered garage that is packed with junk can serve as fuel to any potential fires that occur. This is why you should always keep your garage tidy and not let too many items pile up. The cleaner your garage, the least likely it will be for a serious fire to spread.

  • Electrical Issues

    Aside from storing flammable liquids, and clutter, the next most common cause of garage fires is electrical malfunctions. If you have an older home, it is recommended you call someone to inspect your wiring to make sure everything is up to code.

    In addition to having faulty wiring, using an extension cord for a long period of time can overload your electrical outlet causing it to go up in flames. We also recommend that keep your garage door opener in a regular wall socket to avoid any electrical fires.

What to Do to Avoid Fire

Being prepared for when a fire breaks out is essential. Garage fires have the potential to spread quickly making them more dangerous than a regular house fire.

This is why we highly recommended that you install a smoke alarm in your garage. In addition, you should also protect your home and garage by:

  • Install a heat alarm within your garage if your garage door opener doesn’t have one already.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher near your garage so you’re prepared to put out any flames.

Now that you know the importance of having a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher, we can go into another common-sense prevention strategy. While this might seem like a no-brainer, you should never light a fire in your garage.

Surprisingly, many garages catch on fire unnecessarily due to human negligence. Don’t put yourself or your family in danger and avoid using a fire pit in an enclosed space like a garage.

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

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

4 Key Steps for Homeowners Dealing with Fire Damage

Even if we follow all of the precautions outlined above, we still can’t guarantee we won’t experience an accidental fire. If you have to go through this unfortunate experience, there are several steps you should take to properly deal with the damage.

1. Contact the Insurance Company

If you have homeowner’s insurance, make sure to contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to let them know about the fire. Be aware of your own individual policy’s coverage and make sure to get fair compensation.

In most cases, insurance policies cover the home’s value before the fire. However, if it is a complete loss, the insurance company might compensate you by paying the full policy amount for the house in addition to the value of the items lost inside the garage during the fire.

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

Avoid fire trucks rushing to your location. Image: Pixabay

2. Get a Professional Inspection

After you’ve let your insurance provider know that a fire has occurred, they might have an adjuster come out an inspect the damage. Unfortunately, this assessment isn’t always beneficial. Oftentimes, insurance companies will make decisions that advantageous to their bottom line with little regard for their customer. Hiring your own inspector can give you a more accurate estimate of the repair costs.

The inspection should look at the interior walls, structure, framing, roof, heating systems, siding, plumbing, and stucco or concrete.

3. Decide Whether to Repair or Rebuild

After you’ve had a professional inspection, you can be in a better position to decide whether to repair the damage, or completely take down the garage and rebuild it. Be sure to check your insurance policy to be aware of how much they will cover. Be aware of the cleanup process and price estimates for water damage, smoke damage restoration, and soot removal.

4. Hire the Best Local Expert

After you’ve assessed the damage and have decided whether you need a repair or complete rebuild, your next step is to choose a professional contractor to do the job. It is important to research certified professionals in your area with a good reputation in the community

The Process of Replacing a Garage Door

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

This garage door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.

If you’ve decided that your garage needs a complete rebuild, the first decision you will need to make is what kind of door to install. You can choose the best option by considering your budget, the size of the door you want, and whether you want an attached or a detached option.

You’re probably also going to want to know your options when choosing a one car or two-car garage. Additionally, you should research the choices you have for the garage door opener you’d like to use. Some of them come with great features like two-way audio and cameras.

Having gone over those considerations, you will also need to take a look at how to keep your garage at a comfortable temperature. Here are two crucial questions to consider when looking for a new garage door:

  • How well does the door reflect light? Garage doors that reflect light effectively allow for your garage to stay cool even when it’s getting beat by the sun throughout the hot summer months.
  • Is the door construction made to stop the wind? Be sure to ask your garage door specialist about this. The last thing you want is to hear the wind howling through your door.

Time to Install a Brand-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.

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

If it’s time for a new garage door, contact a professional garage door dealer near you. The staff can guide you toward the best option for your home while taking your style and budget into account.

Atlas-Coles Door Systems creates a simple process by offering a free email quotation.

Still not sure what style your home is? Look our 3 styles guide and find out which door meets your needs.

Get in touch with us at 860-668-7991, and we can help you choose the right options for your home.

Try our innovative app

If you’d like a preview of what your door could look like, try our Design Centre App. It lets you look at all sorts of door styles or even add them to your garage by uploading a few images.

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Lots of gorgeous residential garage doors are waiting for you here; check out our wide variety of options that can fulfill any of your garage door needs.

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