Lower Your Hydro Bill With These 13 Garage Energy Efficiency Tips

When evaluating your home’s energy efficiency, you maybe be underestimating the important role garage energy efficiency plays in the carbon footprint you’re leaving.

Energy usage concerns in the non-garage areas of your home tend to get a little more attention. This includes making sure your appliances have an Energy Star certification, changing to more energy-efficient home lighting, upgrading to energy-efficient windows, and paying close attention to your thermostat setting. These are just a few of the many ways homeowners can take steps to lower their monthly hydro bill.

You’ll find numerous opportunities to improve garage energy efficiency

Your garage should really be considered an extension of your living space and have the same attention paid to it when evaluating how to lower your carbon footprint. A garage with poor energy efficiency has a direct impact on the rest of your house.

Cold air from the garage that penetrates your heated living space drives up your hydro bill during the winter. Hot air in the summertime coming into your home through the garage will increase both your air conditioner usage and hydro bill.

There are numerous opportunities available to improve your garage energy efficiency. Here are 13 tips that will specifically improve your garage energy efficiency and your home’s overall energy efficiency.

1. Insulate your garage walls and ceiling

One of the most impactful ways to improve garage energy efficiency is to add insulation to your garage’s walls and ceiling. There are several types available, depending on your garage’s specific needs (such as blow-in, batting, spray foam, and styrofoam board insulation).

Choosing the right type of insulation and having it properly installed will keep your garage at a more stable temperature by limiting the transfer of cold and warm air from the outside. A more stable temperature in your garage environment has less of an impact on the temperature of the rest of the house, which will reduce your heating and air conditioning costs. For homes with a living space above the garage, insulating your garage walls and ceiling becomes even more important.

2. Improve garage energy efficiency by insulating your garage door

An extension of insulating your garage’s walls and ceiling is to make sure your garage door is outfitted with energy-efficient insulation. Improving your doorframe’s weatherstripping will also help improve garage energy efficiency. Some skilled homeowners may be able to handle garage door insulation or weatherstripping installation by themselves, or perhaps you’re due for a garage door upgrade that’s installed by professionals like Garage Living.

If you’re in the latter category, there are a number of custom options available to choose from, depending on the R-value you’re looking for. Typically, a new garage door comes with either polystyrene boards or polyurethane spray foam as insulation materials. Modern garage doors are also designed with better thermal breaks and seals than older garage doors, which enhances their insulating capabilities.

Garage door insulation not only improves your garage energy efficiency, it also:

  • makes your garage door quieter when it’s operating
  • reduces noise transfer from both inside and outside
  • strengthens the garage door
garage energy efficiency door

An insulated garage door improves the energy efficiency in your garage.

3. Upgrade or fix your garage’s interior door

Evaluate the door between the garage and the house to help improve your garage energy efficiency. If the door is ancient, it’s almost certainly not providing the energy efficiency that a more modern replacement door can deliver. If the door is relatively newer, try and assess just how tight a seal it’s currently providing. Replace or upgrade your door’s weatherstripping and the threshold barrier on the bottom of the door if necessary.

4. Insulate around light switches and outlets

Inspect your garage’s light switches and electrical outlets to see if there are any small openings or gaps around them. If so, close up those gaps with some type of insulation material or sealant to limit the transfer of cold and warm outside air. It might seem inconsequential that these small openings can have an impact on your garage energy efficiency, but every preventative measure you can take will help, whether it’s to a larger or smaller degree.

5. Seal any additional openings in your garage

Also carefully check for gaps where your garage floor and wall meet. These gaps not only allow hot and cold air into your garage, they can also provide an access point into your garage from unwanted pests. Use a foam sealant or caulking to seal any such gaps.

6. Fix or upgrade your garage floor

A damaged garage floor can also impact garage energy efficiency. Even small cracks in the floor can allow cold air and gases into the garage and can be early warning signs of more serious structural issues. Road salt and water infiltration into those cracks (from melted snow and ice) can make the problem even worse. One option is to repair the cracks, but that might not always be the best solution.

A polyaspartic flooring surface like a durable Floortex™ coating provides your best level of long-term protection against garage floor damage and potential cracks. It can also be applied as a type of baseboard around your garage’s interior perimeter, which eliminates any aforementioned gaps between your walls and floor.

And if you’re really taking into consideration all aspects of your green garage makeover, you’ll appreciate the fact that Floortex™ floor coatings are environmentally friendly because they’re free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs are chemicals found in products around the home that are slowly released into the air.

7. Improve your garage’s ventilation

Improving your garage’s ventilation can help when it comes to maintaining more stable temperatures inside your garage space. Roof vents are one low-cost ventilation method to consider. A fan-driven ventilation system on the garage’s ground level are another option.

Properly installed soffit venting around your garage’s upper exterior can also help with garage ventilation. Also remember that excess clutter restricts airflow in the garage, so consider implementing storage solutions like slatwall, specialty storage racks, or garage cabinets to keep your space tidy.

8. Upgrade your garage windows to boost garage energy efficiency

How energy-efficient are the windows in your garage? If your windows are older, it’s sensible to invest in new energy-efficient windows that may cost a little more, but will end up saving you money in the long run. Another replacement option is to switch to storm windows. Replacing your windows’ weatherstripping and caulking will also ensure a tight seal and help with garage energy efficiency.

9. Update your garage lighting

Replace those outdated energy-sucking 60 watt incandescent bulbs currently lighting your garage with a more energy-efficient and modern alternative. Our LED garage lighting illuminates your space much better and uses 30% less energy than a similar fluorescent light.

garage energy efficiency

This energy-efficient LED garage light uses 30% less energy than a similar fluorescent light.

10. Get a new garage door opener

An old garage door opener is another area that can be negatively impacting your garage energy efficiency. Today’s garage door openers are more energy-efficient than the models of the past, with many openers using 75% less power in standby mode. Modern garage door openers are also quieter and come with high-tech features that allow you to control your garage door from anywhere with your smartphone.

11. Rethink that old fridge running in your garage

Are you currently running an old fridge or freezer in your garage? If so, it’s likely costing you much more than you think to run it. Fridges are one of the most energy-consuming appliances in your home. The older the fridge, the higher the cost to run it. A garage fridge manufactured before 1990 could potentially be costing you between $250-300 a year to operate.

This Energy Star calculator will give you an idea of what your old fridge is costing you to run. If running a garage or freezer in your garage is necessary, you’re much better off investing in a new energy-efficient appliance. You’ll dramatically lower your yearly operating costs to run the appliance and improve your garage energy efficiency.

12. Add aluminum capping to your garage doorframe

Aluminum capping involves covering your garage’s wooden doorframe with aluminum sheeting, which has a several benefits:

  • a weather-resistant barrier is established between your garage’s exterior and interior, decreasing drafts and improving garage energy efficiency
  • your garage exterior will have a much cleaner, finished look
  • future maintenance on your wooden garage doorframe is virtually eliminated

13. Use garage solar panels

Is heating your garage during the winter and keeping it cool during the summer a necessity in your home? If so, the hydro costs can add up. One option is to install solar panels on your garage roof. Converting the sun’s energy to heat, cool, and provide electricity to your garage and the rest of your home will lower your hydro bill.

Admittedly, the solar panel option isn’t without its downsides. It can require a significant upfront investment, depending on the size of your setup. Another negative is that this still-developing technology is only going to improve in the coming years. Like any type of emerging technology, waiting might be prudent.

Reduce your carbon footprint by improving your garage energy efficiency

You can reduce your carbon footprint and lower your monthly hydro costs by using some of these garage energy efficiency tips. Also keep in mind that many of these garage upgrades will make your home safer. Improving the seal between your heated living space and the garage will better protect your family from potentially harmful carbon monoxide produced by vehicles in the garage.

Garage Living can help you achieve your green garage goals. We specialize in a number of the garage energy efficiency improvement opportunities listed here. Simply book a free in-home consultation to get started.

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Why A Garage Floor Replacement May Be Smarter Than A Garage Floor Repair

Knowing when to choose a garage floor replacement over a garage floor repair can be a difficult call for a homeowner.

There are many factors to consider, which can vary widely from one garage to another. Let’s explore some of the issues that cause floor damage and examine why it may be smarter to choose a garage floor replacement instead of repairing your damaged flooring.

A garage environment can demand a lot from your garage floor

Consider how much your garage floor has to endure:

  • the average weight of a vehicle parked on your garage floor is approximately 4,000 lbs
  • constant vehicle traffic
  • everyday foot traffic (especially considering a majority of homeowners use the garage door as their house’s main entryway)
  • garage floors are exposed to materials and liquids that contribute to concrete deterioration
  • temperature shifts put stress on your concrete garage floor, especially in northern climates

Age or a poor flooring installation can lead to a garage floor replacement or repair

A garage floor replacement may be needed simply due to its age. Garage floor surfaces should provide approximately 20-25 years of use. If yours is older than that, it may be time to seriously consider a garage floor replacement.

A poorly installed garage floor surface might be another reason your garage floor has seen better days. Some home builders cut corners and may not have done the following steps properly:

  • dug the garage floor sub base to the correct depth
  • used the proper concrete mix or used a high quality cement
  • ensured the right compacting ratio was used so the ground/soil settles properly
  • placed the expansion joints in the proper locations
  • graded the garage floor correctly

Recognizing the early warning signs of garage floor damage

Cracks in your garage floor are a telltale early warning sign that a garage floor replacement or repair will eventually be needed. The severity of those cracks will dictate what your course of action should be. The two main types of garage floor cracks are shrinkage cracks and settlement cracks.

Understanding shrinkage cracks on your garage floor

Shrinkage cracks (also known as hairline cracks) occur when poured concrete begins to shrink as it dries and cures. This can cause it to crack and show minor breaks in the floor surface. This type of smaller crack is cosmetically unappealing, but relatively minor and not necessarily an indicator of more serious structural damage.

While shrinkage cracks can be repaired, those repairs can be rather unsightly and are a short-term solution. You’ll have to readdress the problem eventually, especially since the cracks will only grow larger as moisture seeps into them.

The ongoing freezing and thawing cycle causes the concrete floor to expand and contract (expansion joints help relieve some of this stress). Moisture that enters the floor through cracks can cause additional degradation of the flooring, however. Add in deicing road salt that’s recrystallizing inside the cracks and the problem is further compounded.

garage floor replacement before pic

BEFORE: The cracked and damaged garage floor of one of our clients prior to its transformation.

garage floor replacement after shot

AFTER: A Floortex™ floor coating noticeably upgrades the look of the garage space.

Why settlement cracks occur on a garage floor

Settlement cracks are larger and more serious than shrinkage cracks and have the potential to cause more substantial damage. Settlement cracks occur when the soil beneath the flooring shifts. A poorly installed floor base will increase the likelihood of settlement crack issues. As with shrinkage cracks, water and salt infiltration in settlement cracks will cause more problems over time.

To check whether a crack is a structural problem or not, first determine whether the concrete sections on either side of the crack are at different heights. Then measure the crack’s width. An opening of ⅛” or more could be a problem that you should have inspected sooner rather than later, as your concrete slab may be sinking.

Improper drainage can also cause garage floor damage

Your garage floor may be cracked, crumbling, chipped, uneven, and unattractive for other reasons. Ineffective water drainage can cause cracks and lead to major structural damage underneath your garage and the rest of your house.

Avoid having pooled water sitting on your garage floor (which is also a safety issue). Try to determine why the water is accumulating and from where. Blocked eavestroughs or poorly placed drainage pipes near the garage can sometimes be the culprit. Improper garage floor grading can also cause drainage problems.

Additional factors that can necessitate a garage floor replacement or repair

General wear from tires and foot traffic will also take a toll on a garage floor over an extended period of time. Exposure to leaking vehicle fluids and other household chemicals can also have a cumulative harmful effect on floors.

Pitting (where small holes form on a floor surface) and other surface imperfections may also occur/appear on floors. This can be due to dried salt deposits and fine dirt and sand granules that aren’t swept up often enough acting as an abrasive on the floor. All of the above factors will occur more rapidly if your garage floor surface never had a sealant applied.

Should you go with a garage floor replacement or garage floor repair?

So with all of this information, should you choose a garage floor replacement or go with a floor repair? The latter may be a simpler fix, but it will also prove to be more of a short-term fix, depending on the severity of the problem.

How important are the aesthetics of your garage floor to you? Patching cracks or larger sections of your floor with unsightly repair materials that don’t match your floor’s colour may not be a desirable look for your garage space.

Why Floortex™ is your best garage floor replacement solution

If your garage floors are older or past the minor repair stage, a Floortex™ floor coating is your best garage floor replacement solution. Rhino Linings, manufacturers of Floortex™ coatings, are an industry leader in commercial and residential floor coating products.

Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coatings are superior to epoxy floor coatings in numerous ways:

  • a Floortex™ floor coating can be applied year-round (epoxy coatings have a relatively limited temperature range they need to be applied at)
  • polyaspartic floor coatings are water-soluble and penetrate concrete surfaces better than epoxy coatings, ensuring a stronger adhesive bond is formed
  • Floortex™ floor coatings provide a higher degree of surface protection to ensure a long life (including abrasion and impact resistance, plus high resistance to most household and automotive chemicals)
  • the textured surface of a Floortex™ floor coating provides more traction than epoxy coatings and helps to obscure dirt

How we apply the Garage Living 5 Step process during your garage floor replacement

Here’s how we use the Garage Living 5 Step application process when carrying out a garage floor replacement with a Floortex™ floor coating:

  1. First we prepare the surface by using a state-of-the-art Werkmaster™ diamond grinder that opens the pores of the concrete and smooths out the surface.
  2. Floor cracks are opened with a diamond cutting wheel, filled with a polyurea joint filler, and then the excess filler is ground down.
  3. A pigmented base coat (which can be chosen from 14 colours) is applied with rollers.
  4. The decorative Floortex™ flakes that correspond to the chosen base coat colour are extensively spread on the floor. After a short curing period, the floor is then scraped with a tool to leave a smooth surface.
  5. A top coat is thoroughly applied with a squeegee and then back rolled to produce a thick, even, and consistent finish.

Let us help with your garage floor replacement

A Floortex™ floor coating will provide your garage with a sleek and attractive surface for years to come. A durable Floortex™ floor coating is also backed by our written guarantee against flaking, peeling, blistering, or losing its shine.

Get started on your garage floor replacement and upgrade solution by scheduling your free in-home consultation with us today.

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Celebrating Canada’s History And Looking At Garage History

Canada is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary, which makes us reflect on how the country has evolved and developed over a century-and-a-half.

That also got us thinking about garage history and how this vital space in Canadian homes has changed over time. Garage history doesn’t stretch back that all far. In fact, Canada is only about 50 years older than the home garage.

How much do you know about the history of the home garage? Let’s look at where home garages began and find out how they’ve evolved over the past 100 years.

“Garage” – derived from the French word “garer” (meaning to protect, shelter, or store)

Garage history: the early years

Before the garage existed, the main mode of transportation for Canadians was the horse and buggy, which were kept in detached buildings known as carriage houses, gatehouses, and outbuildings. As the newly introduced automobile became more accessible to the masses, a need for a more practical parking solution became apparent.

Early car owners would park their vehicles alongside their horses in the carriage houses. Carports and portable garages were also used. Large parking lots that charged a monthly fee were another method used for car parking until around 1910. At this point, the availability of parking spots was being outstripped by the number of car sales.

During the early 1900s, architects began creating the rudimentary designs that brought us a little closer to what would become the traditional home garage as we now know it. There was a still much room for improvement, however, as many of these garages still weren’t attached to homes and had to rely on inconvenient and cumbersome barn-style doors.

Garage history: the overhead garage door and garage door opener are invented

By 1920, cars had become a must-own item in Canada, prompting even more demand for a more practical storage space for vehicles. It was at this time that the overhead garage door was invented, which replaced swinging garage doors with a more convenient and space-saving solution. In 1926, the first electric door opener was also invented, which made it easier to open the heavy wood doors of the era.

The home garage evolves

Garage doors would continue to evolve into the 30s with improvements made to their mechanical operations, reliability, design choices, and overall quality. The sectional overhead garage door was also introduced. The inclusion of a garage would increasingly become a make-or-break factor in whether Canadian homes up for sale were purchased.

It was around the early 40s that homes were more commonly designed with an attached garage in mind, with an entryway from inside the garage directly to the home also becoming more popular. The size of garages increasingly grew as car sizes got bigger. Between 1930 and 1960, it’s estimated that the percentage of a home’s overall square footage that was taken up by the garage grew from 15% to 45%.

Garage history: garage door openers become more sophisticated

Although they first appeared in the 20s, electric garage door openers actually took decades to really catch on with Canadians. Improving on its initial radio-controlled design, openers began to use a fixed code pulse system that ensured a more unique signal that was far less likely to accidentally open a neighbour’s garage door (and were more secure). Better safety features, such as early versions of the eye sensors commonly used on models today, were also implemented into door opener designs in the 70s.

Now we’ve evolved to the point where modern garage door openers use a rolling code technology that constantly changes the door’s access code, giving homeowners a higher degree of security. Today’s openers are also much quieter, energy efficient, and tech-friendly, with innovative features like the convenient MyQ Technology, which lets you control your garage door through your smartphone.

Garage history: garage doors improve in quality

It took until the 70s for a garage door material besides wood to become more common. Although wood garage doors deliver a warm, earthy look to a home’s exterior, they do require more maintenance. This brought about the advent of a low-maintenance alternative with steel garage doors. Eventually, fibreglass and full view aluminum doors were made available to consumers.

Just in the past couple of decades, garage door technology has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of quality and customization ability, allowing homeowners more choices and styles than ever before. And wouldn’t you know it, that original carriage house look is now a very popular style favoured by Canadian homeowners purchasing new garage doors!

garage history

The throwback carriage-style garage door look continues to be popular with many homeowners.

Home garages have come a long way

A look back at garage history shows just how far this vital space in Canadian homes has evolved over the past 100 years. We’ve gone from its humble beginnings as a glorified shed to the modern wonders that garage makeover professionals can create nowadays, such as this underground garage.

garage history underground

Home garages have come a long way and can now be considered an extension of your living space.

Garage Living completes hundreds of garage restorations every year, so if your outdated garage is in need of a modern touch, we can certainly help. Just schedule your free in-home design consultation with us today and enjoy celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary this weekend!

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Garage Floor Maintenance Tips That Will Prolong Your Floor Coating’s Life

Dirt, leaks, stains, and debris on your garage floor cause it to deteriorate over an extended period of time. These messes also contribute to a visually unappealing environment that can be less safe. Additionally, dirt, mud, and messy liquids can get tracked into your house.

That’s why garage floor maintenance is a task you should be doing a minimum of twice a year and ideally more than that (especially during the winter in areas with road salt). You can also give your garage floor a cleaning on an as-needed basis, depending on how heavily your garage is used. Needless to say, garages being used as workshops should have their floors cleaned fairly regularly.

Garage floor maintenance tips that extend your floor’s life and keep your space clean

These garage floor maintenance tips are meant for floors with a polyaspartic coating, such as a Floortex™ floor coating. Many of the tips can also be applied to garage floors of all types. By performing regular garage floor maintenance, you’ll keep your floors clean and tidy, which will help extend their life.

garage floor maintenance

Make garage floor maintenance easier by removing clutter

Before sweeping the garage out, clear as much clutter from your garage floor as possible. This will obviously make the garage floor maintenance quite a bit easier, as well as allowing you to give the floor a thorough cleaning. To avoid accumulating garage floor clutter altogether, you might consider a slatwall storage system or specialty storage racks.

Cover your electrical outlets and drywall

Because you’ll be using a hose during the garage floor maintenance, it’s wise to protect your drywall and any lower electrical outlets with taped up plastic sheeting. Cover any additional items staying in the garage that you’d rather not risk getting wet.

Clean up any leaks or spills

Before sweeping, attend to any leaks or spills on your garage floor. A Floortex™ coating is extremely resilient and less porous than a standard concrete garage floor, so it resists most chemicals found in households. That includes liquids leaking from vehicles like oil, gas, coolants, and other fluids.

Leaving leaks from hazardous liquids and spills on your polyaspartic garage floor for a prolonged period may cause staining and dull the floor’s shine, however. They’re also a safety hazard, so take care of any leaks or grease on the garage floor as soon as possible.

Standing liquids can be cleaned up by using sawdust, kitty litter, or a dedicated absorbent material product. Keep in mind that they made need to sit for several hours. To treat stains on a Floortex™ floor, we recommend using Scotts Outdoor Cleaner and a soft bristle brush if necessary. If you’re unsure about whether or not your Floortex™ coated floor is suited to a different cleaner or degreaser you already own, consult a Garage Living professional first.

garage floor maintenance spills

A Floortex™ floor coating is chemical and abrasion resistant and spills can be easily wiped up.

Sweep your garage floor

The next garage floor maintenance step is to sweep the floor with a good push broom. The smooth surface a Floortex™ floor coating provides makes this step even easier. Be sure to open all windows and doors leading to the outdoors during this step. This will improve the garage’s airflow and aid in removing airborne dust and dirt particles.

If your garage floor is particularly dirty and the sweeping is kicking up an excessive amount of dust, use a dust mask. A shop vacuum can also be used for cleaning hard-to-access areas.

The importance of garage floor maintenance when it comes to road salt

For those living in colder climates where road salt is used, regular garage floor maintenance is even more important during the winter months. Deicing salt used on roads that attaches itself to vehicles, in addition to salt used on driveways and walkways during the winter, can leave quite a mess on your garage floor.

Those white salt stains on your floor are caused by the melted snow containing the deicing salt recrystallizing, which is a process known as subflorescence. Older concrete floors that lack a high quality coating are especially vulnerable to further damage because the melted snow seeps into the floor’s pores and the deicer will refreeze when temperatures lower. This process, known as spalling, commonly causes the concrete to crack.

Dried salt deposits on your floor are unsightly and messy. They also have an abrasive nature that can dull the lustre on your garage floor if ignored. That’s why you should be regularly sweeping your polyaspartic coated garage floor during the winter to eliminate as much of the salt tracked inside as possible. Once the weather warms up, you can perform more detailed garage floor maintenance using a hose.

Wash your garage floor

With as much loose dust and floor debris as possible now removed from the garage, you’re ready for the final cleaning step. Scotts Outdoor Cleaner is also ideal for this garage floor maintenance step. It’s a gentle, environmentally friendly cleanser that’s biodegradable and phosphate-free, so it won’t harm plants or grass when rinsed away. Follow these steps:

  • mix the cleaner with water in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • apply the mixed solution to the garage floor and use Garage Living’s 30″ double blade foam squeegee or a broom to ensure the entire floor is covered
  • let the solution set for a few minutes
  • rinse your garage floor with a hose
  • use a squeegee to remove all excess water

Treat your Floortex™ garage floor right with regular maintenance

Floortex™ polyaspartic floor coatings have many advantages over epoxy floor coatings. To name just a few, they have a textured surface that provides better traction (and makes dirt and dust less visible), can be applied any time of the year, have a faster application process, and provide a higher degree of surface protection than epoxy coatings.

Even with all of these great benefits, occasional garage floor maintenance is required to ensure you get the maximum amount of life out of your garage floors and have them looking their best.

Experience the difference a Floortex™ floor coating makes

For those intrigued by what Floortex™ offers, be rest assured that a high quality floor coating can make a big difference when it comes to ease of garage floor maintenance. A polyaspartic garage floor coating also provides a more updated, polished look in comparison to concrete.

You can choose from 14 Floortex™ colours to achieve the garage floor look that appeals most to your tastes. Get started on your garage floor transformation by scheduling your free in-home consultation today. 

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Top 7 Garage Safety Hazards That You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring

When it comes to potentially hazardous areas in houses, garages are one of the most overlooked and ignored spots by homeowners.

So why are garage safety hazards not given the attention they’re due? It may be because many homeowners consider the garage more of a “separate” area of the home that doesn’t require the same level of organization and cleanliness found in the traditional interior of the house.

But it’s important to remember that the garage is a vital part of your home. It’s a space that’s heavily used and an area that’s conducive to safety hazards if proper care isn’t taken. As such, the garage is as deserving of your attention as any other area of your house.

Know how to identify common garage safety hazards

Any one of the most common garage safety hazards listed below can be found throughout your neighbourhood and perhaps in your very own garage. Keeping your garage safe isn’t difficult, however. Stop ignoring these top seven common garage safety hazards and take steps to improve the level of safety for your garage and entire home.

1. Faulty wiring

One of the most common garage safety hazards is faulty wiring. The U.S. Fire Administration identified electrical malfunctions as the leading cause of garage fires. Garage fires are particularly dangerous because they typically go undetected for longer periods. They also spread quickly because they’re fuelled by flammable materials and garage clutter.

Older homes are more prone to electrical problems and you should speak to an electrician if you have concerns about your garage’s electrical system (such as an outlet sparking every time you use it). Older electrical wiring can also deteriorate over especially long periods due to environmental factors or other reasons, such as rodents chewing through wiring.

2. Other general electrical issues

Along with faulty wiring, a number of additional electrical issues can be garage safety hazards:

  • electrical circuits that are old and faulty
  • overloaded electrical outlets
  • improper usage of extension cords (avoid using extension cords on a permanent basis, make sure you’re using the right extension cord for the task, and throw out any frayed or worn extension cords)
  • light bulbs that are the wrong wattage, which can overload wiring

3. Garage clutter

Garage clutter doesn’t just prevent you from parking in your garage and maximizing the space’s usefulness, it’s also a safety hazard. Stacks of clutter and junk piled high in the garage may not be stable and will also, as mentioned, fuel any fire.

Clutter management in the garage is much easier if you choose some effective garage organization solutions. You can keep your garage clean and clutter-free with storage cabinets, slatwall, and specialty storage racks.

garage safety hazards before after

4. Improper storage of combustible liquids

Gas, oil, lighter fluid, lawn care products, and paints are just a few of the many hazardous solvents typically stored in the garage. Improper storage of these liquids can cause fire risks, either from ignition caused by surface contact with a leaking combustible liquid or with flammable vapours.

Store your combustible liquids in containers that are clearly marked or colour coded, tightly closed, and durable (plastic soda bottles don’t count for the latter). Never mix combustible liquids. Make sure you store them away from any heat sources, including heaters, appliances, and direct sunlight. If possible, store your combustible liquids in a shed that has good ventilation. Properly dispose of combustible liquids you no longer need.

Another one of the garage safety hazards that’s amazingly common is improper propane tank storage. If you’re putting away your barbecue for the season and storing it in the garage, leave the propane tank outside. Propane tanks are resilient and should never be stored indoors.

5. Improper storage of other hazardous materials

The garage is also where other hazardous materials are found, such as fertilizers, cleaning products, and oily rags. Make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions.

One way to keep hazardous materials out of reach from your children is to add storage cabinets to your garage. Some of our garage storage cabinet systems come with options for locks. Storage cabinets also give you more storage space in the garage, as well as adding an aesthetic upgrade to its appearance.

6. Tripping and slipping hazards

Neglecting the condition of your garage floor and what’s stored on it can create tripping and slipping hazards. An old garage floor that’s uneven, missing chunks of cement, or filled with clutter can lead to tripping hazards. Oil or gasoline leaks from vehicles that haven’t been cleaned up are slipping risks, not to mention potentially flammable. Melted snow and ice can also can also be slipping hazards.

A Floortex™ floor coating is one solution that can help. Floortex™ floor coating provides a smooth, attractive surface for your garage. It’s highly resistant to oil, gas, and most household chemicals and allows for spills to be easily cleaned up. And Floortex™ floor coating also has a textured surface, which give you better traction than traditional epoxy floor coatings.

7. General carelessness

Last on our list of the most common garage safety hazards is general carelessness. This can come from a number of methods:

  • barbecuing in the garage when the weather is bad (it happens more often than you’d think)
  • carelessness when using your garage as a workshop
  • failing to properly extinguish cigarettes or cigars (did you know that extinguishing your smoke in an old flower pot or planter can potentially be hazardous?)

Awareness is your best safeguard against these garage safety hazards

Now that you’re aware of the most common garage safety hazards, you can take steps to ensure you’re being responsible with your garage’s safety. You should also consider installing a smoke and heat detector in your garage. And having a readily accessible fire extinguisher for the garage is also wise (make sure it’s suited to cold weather storage if you live in such a climate).

For help with making your garage a safer environment, Garage Living can help. Schedule your free in-home consultation to further discuss your numerous options for improving your garage space.

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