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April 27, 2016
If you think about it, most people living in Lawton, OK don’t really consider the garage to be a true room in the home. It’s separate from the living space and tends to appear quite different from the rest of the home, but it’s important to realize that the garage is not completely isolated from your living space. If the building envelope has not been properly sealed, it can be very easy for air from the garage to seep into your home, bringing with it all sorts of issues.
Take a moment to consider what you’re currently storing in your garage. Chances are, your list will include a number of chemicals (cleaning, automotive, gardening etc.), which can result in fumes and airborne contaminants. If you haven’t been feeling your best lately, it may be worth your while to look towards the garage.
The Danger of Carbon Monoxide
There are a number of things to be concerned about when it comes to the garage affecting home performance, but one of the most dangerous factors is carbon monoxide (CO). An odorless, invisible gas, CO is capable of causing sudden illness and even death in severe cases of exposure. Since CO presents itself along with burning fossil fuels, it’s a concern for those who keep their cars inside the garage. This being said, carbon monoxide can also result from hot water heaters, furnaces and clothes dryers that aren’t properly vented, making it a concern no matter what you keep in the garage.
Even with proper air sealing of your garage, there may still be CO in your home. Investing in a low level CO monitor will help ensure your family’s safety year round. Most of the products purchased at “big box” stores are not sensitive enough to CO and won’t register when it is present in low levels. But low level exposure is problematic and causes numerous symptoms of CO poisoning, which are often misdiagnosed as other ailments like the flu or allergies. Some suggested products would be Foobot or Birdi, both of which will ensure healthy indoor air.
Chemicals & Your Indoor Air Quality
While carbon monoxide is one of the biggest things to worry about when it comes to your garage making you or your family sick, chemicals kept within the garage are also a concern. The garage is where we often store fuel, paint, cleaning compounds, fertilizers and other types of chemicals, many of which are capable of off-gassing and creating harmful fumes. If the building envelope isn’t properly sealed, these gases can enter into your home through the garage, affecting indoor air quality in a negative way.
Poor indoor air quality is especially problematic for those who suffer from asthma and allergies, which is why it’s so important to nip this issue in the bud if discovered.
Sealing the Building Envelope
Let’s face it—the garage exists for a reason. People will always store chemicals and vehicles within the garage, but that’s not to say that it has to continue to be a threat to the health and safety of you and your family. The solution can be found in air sealing. Sealing the tiny cracks and gaps that are often scattered throughout the building envelope ensures that clean, conditioned air stays inside and that fumes aren’t allowed to enter the home. No matter how old or new your home may be, a sealed building envelope is the answer to enhanced indoor air quality.