Both attached and detached garages are prone to a number of fire or other hazards. During a home inspection many of these hazards are discovered, which can demand hasty attention. Some fire hazards can be simple to correct, while others may need professional assistance. Lifeline Home Inspections would like to share some of the more common fire hazards we have discovered in a garage during a home inspection.
Sealed Fire Rated Garage Door Entry
The garage door requirement dictates that the door to the home cannot connect to a bedroom. The door must connect to an access point to the home and that a solid or honeycomb-core steel door is used. These doors have a fire rating of 20 minutes which prevents a fire from spreading from inside the garage into the home. Often during an inspection the door to the home from the garage is not tightly sealed which allows carbon monoxide to filter inside the home. Garage doors should also self-close to ensure the door isn’t left open. During a home inspection, many garage doors fail the self-close test and can pose a major hazard. Garage access doors should also never have a pet door cut into them as it will allow the fire to spread if one occurs. All doors and windows inside the garage should be fire rated.
Fire Rated Garage Wall & Ceiling Materials
When a home is being built, the wall and ceiling require a separation. The separation material can be a gypsum or drywall at least ½ inch thick. Sometimes a thinner drywall is used which allows the fire to spread more rapidly. When inspecting the walls and ceiling, the inspector will pay close attention to the attic access hatch to make sure it is properly covered. Light switch plates and outlet covers must also be secured and present. Sometimes the garage face-plate covers are not replaced when damaged and allow air to flow into the inner walls. When these flaws are discovered they can pose a bigger hazard than most people realize.
Garage Dryer Duct & Vent?
In many homes, the dryer exhaust duct will exist into the garage. These is a major design flaw which can result in a fire. The exhaust duct should be extended to the outside of the home and not into the garage. During a home inspection, it is surprising to discover this design flaw, especially when the duct breaches into the firewall.
Can a Water Heater Sit Directly on Garage Floor?
While the floors inside the garage don’t pose a direct threat, it is what is discovered on the floor that home inspectors do not like to see. One is the water heater, a water heater should never sit directly on the floor of the garage. Standard code requires water heaters to be 18 inches off the ground. Additionally, never store any flammable liquids or materials next to the water heater as the pilot light can trigger a massive fire.
Buyer, Seller Pre-Inspection & Maintenance Home Inspections in Griffin, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Newnan, Zebulon, Thomaston, Douglasville & Metro Atlanta, GA
For homeowners who do not know if they are safe and want to make sure their garage isn’t a fire hazard zone, simply seek a home inspection. A home inspection will cover the entire home including the garage which can help ensure your home’s safety. For quality home inspections, contact Lifeline Home Inspections.