How to Keep Dangerous Garage Fumes Out of the House - Fine Homebuilding

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How to Keep Dangerous Garage Fumes Out of the House

comments (7) April 6th, 2011 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Attached garages are convenient, but they need to be well separated from the house to be safe.Click To Enlarge

Attached garages are convenient, but they need to be well separated from the house to be safe.

Photo: Don Mannes

Should I supply make-up air to my house, or perhaps a well-sealed door between the house and the garage, to keep noxious fumes out?

That's the question Jack Woolfe poses in a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor's Q&A forum.


Further Resources

Houses Need to Breathe … Right?

The No-Mold Finished Basement


Q&A: Can range hoods cause backdrafting?


Starting or parking a car in the garage produces carbon monoxide. And the garage is often the place where we store gasoline and other fuels, paint, adhesives and a variety of materials that produce noxious fumes. Woolfe has more than a passing concern because he plans to build an airtight house.

To provide fresh air indoors, Woolfe is planning to install an exhaust-only fan. Will that draw fumes from the garage into the house? Or are their construction techniques that will guarantee indoor air stays healthy?

That's the subject of this week's Q&A Spotlight.

 

 



posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, weatherizing, hvac, safety, doors

Comments (7)

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Posted: 3:55 pm on April 17th

SlaterErlandsen SlaterErlandsen writes: I'm going to trust the fully weather stripped 20 minute fire doors with self closing hinges mandated by my building department and the walls without penetrations (all garage electrical in conduit and all plumbing penetrations caulked) between living space and the two car garage. I will install a carbon monoxide detector. I will have three sliding windows. I do not plan to store solvent and other volatiles in there. If I didn't have a separate storage shed I would get one. That kind of stuff should never be inside.
Posted: 11:09 pm on April 12th

Labrush Labrush writes: How about a small fan in the garage constantly sucking air outside. That lower pressure would pull the kitchen smells into to garage.
Posted: 1:31 pm on April 11th

methods methods writes: Some of these posts scare me. Corbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and mixes freely with air. It has about a 10,000 times affinity for hemaglobin than oxygen, and will displace oxyhemaglobin to form carboxyhemaglobin (meanining it will activly push out oxygen out of the blood cell). Treatment is depandant upon exposure and can require hyperbaric treatment to expell the CO from your blood. IT IS DEADLY.

If you have an attached garage you should have a CO detector and a smoke detector interconnected to the entire house so that it sets of the detectors in the entire house. It will save your life so you do not end up like the granny in Derek-P's post or severely disabled for life. For about $100 in detectors and wire, you can be sure that you, your family or your clients will be safe if a 4 year old gets a hold of your keys, or,if the wiring in your car shorts and sets your attached garage on fire.

Early detection is a far better solution than exhaust fans or wiring your door to open when the CO detector goes off. This is above code where I live and work, but, codes provide just the minimum. You should expect, and be able to do much better.


Posted: 12:06 pm on April 11th

Wayner1 Wayner1 writes: My best friend had his kid play with the remote car starter on his keys which were within easy reach of the 4 year old. The boy started their van which was inside their attached garage. It had ran for a while, when he noticed the sound of the engine running, while walking by the garage door. He immediately stuck his hand through the door and hit the garage overhead door opener. This scared him quite a bit. He came up with an ingeniuos solution for this. He purchased a carbon Monoxide detector and because he is an electronics geek he wired it into his overhead door opener. So now if this ever happens again, the garage door opener will automatically open when CO is detected. I think that this Idea should be incorporated by the door opener Mfg's and maybe be a building code requirement.
Posted: 10:55 am on April 11th

FPR FPR writes: I the PATH Concept House I built in 2007 we were working with the EPA on indoor airquality. We won the 2008 Green Demonstration Home of the year with NHAB. We installed two fans in the attached garage, they exhausted the garage to the outdoors for about 20 minutes each time the garage doors opened.

Fernando Pages Ruiz
Posted: 8:56 am on April 11th

Derek_P Derek_P writes: Absolutely. While living in Florida about 14 years ago I was an observer after the fact, when an elderly woman accidentally killed herself and her son in their gated community golfcourse condo. The police surmised that after returning home the night before, she entered the house, closed the entry door behind her to the house and went to bed; forgetting to turn off the car ignition but remembering to close the garage door behind her. The car ran all night, the fumes built-up in the garage and seeped into the living space and eventually into her and her son's room. They deid in their sleep. You absolutely should protect your home environment from the garage space with both a well sealed door (which is not a 100% guarantee of safety) and make up air.
Posted: 8:34 am on April 11th

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