Are garage fires common? Have you ever wondered what the risks might be? Read this guide to keep your home and your garage safe.
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There are several factors involved in learning how to protect your garage from fire. It’s important to know, though, because thousands of garage fires happen each year that cause millions of dollars in property damage. They also cause some deaths and hundreds of injuries.
To help, we’ll cover the best ways to prevent fires in your garage. From common causes to how to deal with a fire, and what you should do when a fire happens, as well as after the fact.
The Most Common Causes of Garage Fires
Before getting into how to prevent fires in the garage, you need to answer another question: what causes garage fires in the first place? The truth? It’s a little more complicated than you think.
Garage fires can be extremely dangerous. They can cause injury and destroy property. If they are attached to the home, they can lead to fires and smoke damage within the home itself. That’s why it’s important to prevent fires as much as possible.
The good news is that most house fires do not start in the garage. The problem, however, is that when they do, they often burn longer before being noticed because the garage doesn’t get as much traffic as the rest of the home.
Preventing garage fires is for everyone’s safety. Image: Pixabay
So, how do garage fires start?
Plenty of things can lead to garage fires. However, there are four causes that are more common than the rest. If you’re trying to be proactive, look at:
● Propane Tanks
Propane tanks should always be stored outdoors. If the tanks leak or have a bad seal, they could be prone to explosion from the slightest nearby spark. If you want to protect them from the elements, cover them in a tarp, but keep them out of the garage.
Even fire officials say you shouldn’t keep these tanks in your garage. Find another place outdoors so that you don’t risk causing an explosion in your garage. After all, that could even damage your home or put your family’s safety at risk.
● Flammable Liquids
Many people leave gasoline, oil, and harsh chemicals or cleaners in the garage so that they’re out of the house. Unfortunately, while these liquids aren’t always dangerous, they can create another ignition source under the right conditions. The liquid can ignite, as can the vapors.
Any flammable liquids need to be properly labeled and contained, and stored somewhere besides the garage.
A lot of fires that get out of control spread because of excess clutter that is like free fuel for the fire. While garages are great for storage, you don’t want them to become a cluttered mess.
Donate things, throw out garbage, and even gift items to people who might enjoy them. If you really need to consider, another storage solution.
● Electrical Issues
One of the most common reasons for all structural fires, including garages, is electrical malfunctions. Fires can start from faulty circuits, shorted wires, and overloaded outlets or circuit panels.
Don’t use extension cords for permanent fixtures. Put the garage door opener in a standard socket. If you buy an older home, consider having an electricial come perform an inspection as a proactive measure.
Tips for Avoiding a Fire
Of course, the best solution is prevention. Although it’s good to know how fires start because they can spread fast and create many more injuries than people realize, it’s also good to prevent them as much as you can.
So, what about a smoke alarm? Absolutely! Also consider:
● Installing a heat alarm with your smoke detector.
● Installing or storing a fire extinguisher in the garage.
Several people ask about lighting fires in their garage. Honestly, though, it’s best to avoide at all costs. You can’t control the fire and it could get out of hand quickly. You’ll want to avoid using a fire pit in an enclosed space and save that for the wide open yard.
Make sure that you put safety first. If the fire is out of your control, leave immediately and call the fire department or emergency services.
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4 Steps for Handling Fire Damage as a Homeowner
When there’s a garage fire, you are going to be left to deal with the aftermath. This is a process that includes several steps. The first thing, however, should be to take a deep breath and reassure yourself that these people will help make it better.
1. Call Your Home Insurance
Every home should have home insurance. If you have a mortgage, it’s required by the lender to even meet specific criteria. Reach out as soon as you can to inform your provider that there has been a fire. Check your coverage so that you get what you are paying for. Remember that every policy is different.
Most of the home insurance policies are designed to cover home value prior to the fire. That would mean even if it would cost $400,000 to rebuild your house today, the insurance might only pay $250,000 because that’s what the home value was. Total losses often garner higher payouts because they will pay for the structure and all of the internal contents.
Avoid fire trucks rushing to your location. Image: Pixabay.
2. Have an Inspection by a Professional
Another part of the process will involve an adjuster inspecting the home post-fire. This may not always be enough, though. You should consider hiring a third-party inspector to assess the damage and give you an accurate picture of the potential repairs. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, after all, not for you.
3. Repairing vs. Rebuilding
You’ll need to determine after the inspection whether you’re going to rebuild the garage or if you can repair the damage. Your insurance may limit the options that you have, but you will need to make sure that you know what those options are. Check out pricing for cleanup, water damage, soot and smoke restoration, and other services. It can get quite expensive to clean up after a fire.
4. Hire the Best Local Expert
After you’ve considered everything else, research and find a local garage door contractor that you can rely on and that knows how to work with insurance companies when taking care of fire restoration and rebuilding.
The Process to Replace a Garage Door
You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.
If you’re rebuilding, you’ll also need to choose a new garage door. You should start this search by considering your budget, the size of the door that you prefer, and whether yoru garage will be attached or a detached.
If you aren’t sure, you can learn more about the options between one-car and two-car garages, as well as the garage door opener that you will choose. Some high-end systems even include two-way audio, cameras, and other intelligent features.
You’ll also want to make sure that you keep your garage temperate. That requires considering the following:
● Is the door going to reflect light? If you choose a door that reflects light well, you’ll keep the garage cooler in the summer.
● Is this a door durable enough to stop the wind? Ask a garage door professional about wind ratings and garage doors. The last thing you want is wind damage or wind getting through the cracks.
It’s about finding the combination of style, budget, and what matches your home best.
Ready to Install Your 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.
Contact a local garage door dealer that has experience to guide you in choosing the best solutions. They’ll consider your budget, style, and other needs when helping you decide.
ACS Door Services of Sioux Falls makes it easy with an email quotation that’s yours in minutes.
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And of course, you can call us at 605-332-5188, and we can walk you through the process, too.
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