Like many people on chilly mornings, perhaps you’re taking a few extra minutes to warm up your car with the overhead garage door open. A recent Canadian study shows, however, that if you have an attached garage, vehicle emissions and other dangerous contaminants are likely leaking into your home. It’s not only a matter of breathing clean indoor air; it’s a matter of your family’s health and safety.
What’s in the garage?
Motor vehicles pollute much more when initially started than when idling. And vehicles continue to pollute and emit deadly carbon monoxide (CO) and other dangerous chemicals, including benzene, for hours after being turned off. Garages often harbor a host of other pollutants and contaminants. There may be paint and chemicals stored, herbicides and pesticides, landscaping equipment, allergens and biological contaminants.
How contamination occurs
Even with the overhead garage door open, emissions, pollutants and contaminants find their way into your living space. Air pressure differences, especially during cold and cooler weather, between the garage (higher pressure) and the living space (lower pressure) exacerbate the problem. Air leaks into your home through the tiniest of holes and cracks in walls, vents and door seals, and when the access door is opened.
Indoor air quality tips
Take steps to tightly seal unsafe chemicals, garbage bins, pet food and pesticides. Try not to store gas containers or landscaping equipment that is still hot. In addition, perform the following tasks to keep your indoor air safe:
- Install a CO detector inside your home 15 feet away from the access door. Detectors that display CO levels at measured intervals are recommended.
- Seal holes and cracks in the walls with joint compound. If your walls in the garage are unfinished, seal the joints of the drywall with compound as well. Put on a fresh coat of paint.
- Use weatherstripping around the access door.
- Consider installing a simple exhaust fan in your garage, especially if you park your vehicle in it. An exhaust fan depressurizes the garage. Run the exhaust fan for two hours after your vehicle has been parked and turned off.
For more indoor air quality tips, contact CCAC, Inc. in Corpus Christi. We’re Constantly Concerned About Customers.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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