How to Prevent Fires in Your Garage

Nothing can be more catastrophic to your home than experiencing a fire. While fires seem to be rare and a low probability scenario, you'd be surprised at how many homes are damaged each year due to accidental fires.

Oftentimes, we only take the proper fire precautions inside our home, but the biggest threat can often lie right outside your door in your garage. Because garages are often used for storing various things you don't want inside your home, it isn't surprising that often overlooked garages can catch fire.

This is especially true if you consider the fact that we store propane tanks, gasoline, and other flammable substances in garages. In addition to these hazards, garages can be a place we hoard items we haven't used over the years. Collecting a lot of junk can pile up over time and become perfect kindling for a fire.

Luckily, we've created a guide to help you avoid this potentially catastrophic situation. By following our tips and tricks, you will be able to rest easy knowing that you're doing everything you can to prevent a garage fire. We will also provide advice regarding what to do in the event a fire does 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 Cause of Garage Fires

Garage fires are never something you plan on. If your garage is unattached, your home might not incur any collateral damage, but if it is an attached garage, there is a good chance the fire could spread to your entire house. This makes understanding the causes of what could start a garage fire crucial.

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

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

While most house fires do not typically occur in your garage, the fact that it is outside your home gives this type of fire a higher likelihood of getting out of control if it isn't detected fast enough. As was mentioned above, there are certain factors that are the most common contributors to potential garage fires. These common causes include:

◾️ Propane Tanks

After a long summer of grilling, it isn't uncommon for homeowners to store their propane tanks in the garage for the winter. This could spell trouble if these tanks are not stored properly. Accumulating multiple propane tanks in your garage could be disastrous if any of those tanks were to leak and come in contact with a spark or flame.

Any contact with fire could cause a tank to explode. An explosion could cause serious injury or even worse if it occurs close to someone inside the garage. This is why professional fire officials recommend tanks be stored outside and away from your home.

◾️ Flammable Liquids

We often store our most flammable products in the garage. We don't want to store gasoline, motor oil, or any other flammable cleaning products inside our homes, but accumulating too many of these flammable liquids could make it a lot more likely for an accident to occur.

This is why it is recommended you store any gasoline, oil, or other flammable products in an outside shed away from your home. This will best ensure that your home and garage are protected against any unexpected fires.

◾️ Clutter

Having gone over how propane tanks and flammable liquids can be the spark that ignites the flame, it is important to note that having too many things stuffed into your garage can cause a fire to accelerate rapidly.

This is why you should make sure to keep your garage tidy. Try not to collect too much junk in your garages. By decluttering the space of your garage and throwing out things you no longer need, you can greatly improve the odds of fire not getting out of control should that situation arise.

◾️ Electrical Issues

This can many times be the most common cause of garage fires. Faulty wiring, in addition to overloading old electric outlets, can result in combustion that could catch on the items in your garage, causing them to burn. Try to avoid keeping extension cords plugged in for extended periods. If you have an older home, it might also be a good idea to consult an electrician to see if your wiring is set to code. Faulty wiring and overloaded circuit breakers could ignite a fire which is why you want to make sure that the wiring is safe.

Fire Prevention Strategies

Having outlined the primary causes that contribute to garage fires, it is essential to also employ the proper strategies to avoid a fire in the first place. While we have outlined many of these prevention strategies in the section above, there are a couple more steps you should take to ensure your garage doesn't go up in flames.

Installing a Smoke Alarm

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how few garages have one. Having a professional install one can save you from disaster in the long run, which is why this simple solution should be your number one priority if you're concerned about fire safety.

Having a Fire Extinguisher on Hand

This is another obvious suggestion; however, it is critical. Many fires start small. If you have a smoke alarm that can detect it quickly, you should have an extinguisher nearby to stop the flames before they spread out of control. This could save you from experiencing significant fire damage and offer you great peace of mind knowing you can put out a fire before it's too late.

Other considerations

Now that we have outlined the importance of having a smoke detector and extinguisher to mitigate any potential damage that could be caused by a fire, we would be remiss not to mention that prevention also starts with your actions.

Never light a fire pit in your garage! This should be common sense, but unfortunately, many people make this mistake risking serious injury and thousands of dollars in damage. If you're trying to take fire safety seriously, don't make things harder for yourself, and be sure to never have a bonfire in your 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 Shaker-Flat CC, 9' x 7', Black, Clear windows.

4 Key Steps for Homeowners Dealing with Fire Damage

Contact the Insurance Company

Should the worst-case scenario of fire occur, the first thing you're going to want to do is to contact your insurance company. Most homeowner's insurance plans cover fire damage and should be able to cover the entire expense of repairing the damage. All plans are different, so make sure to check with your provider to see what they will cover.

Get a Professional Inspection

Assessing the damage of a fire can be difficult to do if you're not a professional. Hiring a professional inspector can give you a more precise understanding of what needs to be replaced and what has been lost as a result of a fire. Things they will look at are the electrical circuitry of your garage, as well as any structural damage that could have occurred as a result of a fire.

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

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

Decide Whether to Repair or Rebuild

If only minor damage has occurred to your garage, it is possible to get away with only having to repair the damage. This can save you a lot of money. But if the damage is too extensive to be fixed with a simple repair, you might need to rebuild the entire structure.

Hire the Best Local Expert

When dealing with fire damage, it is highly recommended that you only deal with the most reputable professionals. Many contractors that are new to replacing garage doors and fixing fire damage might not know what they're doing. Don't make this mistake and be sure to only call people who have been in business for many years and have a respectable 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're looking into rebuilding your garage, you might not even know where to start. To begin, first, consider your budget as well as the size of the door you will need to install. Additionally, you should know whether or not you're looking for an attached or a detached option. After you've figured that out, you might want to look into different options for garage door openers.

To keep your garage space at a comfortable temperature, here are two important factors to look at during the shopping process for your garage door:

◾️ How well does the door reflect light? The better the garage door reflects light, the cooler it will keep your garage when the sun shines on it in the summer.

◾️ Is the door construction made to stop the wind? Ask questions of the garage door professional you will work with. You certainly don’t want to hear the wind howling through your garage door.

It all comes down to your budget and style, as well as what looks best on your home.

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 to replace a garage door that has been damaged by fire or otherwise, you're going to want to contact a professional garage door dealer near you. Our staff can assist you in finding the best options for your home while taking your style and budget into consideration.

Laurent Overhead Door Systems creates a simple process and will provide you with an email quote

Still not sure what style your home is? Look at these 3 styles to find out.

Get in touch with us at 603-524-4778. We can help you find the right options for your home.

You can also try our innovative Design Centre app today!

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Lots of gorgeous residential garage doors are waiting for you here; all you have to do is take a moment to see what other people are doing and what appeals to you.

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