During the winter, it can be tempting to let your car warm up in the garage before you leave the house. Though the idea of a warm car may be appealing, you should also be aware of the threat of carbon monoxide (CO). In order to protect yourself and your family this season, here are three steps to prevent CO from accumulating in your attached garage and infiltrating your home.
1. Prevent CO from entering your home from the garage
CO is produced when your fuel-burning appliances are unable to complete the combustion process due to a deficiency of oxygen in the air. Cars and other gas-powered equipment, as well as garage-installed appliances such as your gas furnace, water heater or dryer, are all capable of introducing this colorless and odorless poison to your home when your attached garage is improperly ventilated and/or the common wall and door aren’t properly sealed. Never run your car or other gas appliances in a closed garage as the incomplete combustion product of CO can enter your home through cracks in your drywall and doors. You may also consider installing an exhaust fan in your garage to remove CO and other harmful fumes from your garage, as well as lowering the garage’s air pressure. This will ensure that air moves from your home into the garage through any cracks or holes, rather than vice versa.
2. Use carbon monoxide detectors
Install at least one CO detector on each level of your home, especially where sleeping residents can hear an alarm. For homes with attached garages, install detectors that monitor the levels of CO present within your house at any given time. In this way, you will quickly be alerted to any CO buildup, whether from the garage or some other source.
3. Schedule preventive maintenance
Gas furnaces can develop cracks in their combustion chamber, which can result in CO escaping into your home or garage (if that’s where your furnace is located). By scheduling annual preventive maintenance, your HVAC contractor can help prevent leaks and alert you to any potential problems before they occur.
For more advice on carbon monoxide, please contact us at (503) 266-1249. We’re proud to serve the Portland area.