Moving into a new home with an attached garage? The benefits of this coveted feature are many, but there are certain things to keep in mind with this newfound convenience—namely, car exhaust fumes. While building codes require new construction to include an airtight exhaust gas barrier to help minimize infiltration into the home, older homes use only the standard drywall installation to separate the living space from automotive exhaust. Here are some steps you can take to protect the air inside your new home from contamination.
Vent the Exhaust Outside
Of course, any time the car engine is running the garage door should be in the fully open position. Still, every time we pull the car into and out of the garage some exhaust fumes will linger. Sometimes the wind is blowing in the wrong direction and can push the exhaust into the garage instead of helping us vent the space. This is why a garage venting system is not only a recommended addition for safety, but it is also a feature that can improve the resale value.
Your local home improvement center offers a wide variety of reliable methods to vent an attached garage. There are also some interesting low cost solutions that don’t require drilling holes into the wall. A company called Vent-a-Garage offers a do-it-yourself kit in the $100 price range. The nice part about this type of product is that it works in conjunction with any automatic garage door opener. Since it shares a power source there is no need to run additional wiring. The operation of the vent fan is automatically triggered by the opening and closing of the door. The fan operation will continue for a set amount of time after parking the car with the garage door closed. This particular product also comes with a thermostat that will automatically turn on and off in an effort to help keep the space at a comfortable temperature.
Keep the Exhaust Out of the Home
According to a local contractor I spoke with, one of the most common leakage areas is the door that leads from the garage into the home. If the seal is compromised, it provides a direct path for the exhaust fumes to flow inside the home.
If you’ve moved into a newer home, you’ll likely find it equipped with a gas barrier to keep the fumes out of the living area. This is a continuous and solid plastic wrap installed between the wood framing and the drywall. Unfortunately, after this wrap is installed HVAC and electrical contractors might come along and cut holes into this barrier, reducing its effectiveness.
In the case of older construction, it‘s all up to the drywall to keep car exhaust fumes from making their way into the family home. Fortunately, most HVAC contractors can run an air tightness test that will accurately measure the amount of leakage from both old and new construction homes with detached garages. These tests will go a long way in deciding what your next step is.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Not all states mandate that homes sold with an attached garage have a carbon monoxide detector. However, as a new homeowner, you should consider this a necessity. With individual CO alarms available for under $20 each, you can get peace of mind at a fair price. These units come with an easy-to-understand guides on where and how to install them.
Install one 10 to 15 feet away from the door that leads to the garage and at least one unit for each level of the home, especially outside the sleeping areas. Make sure units are not placed near a window or door that opens to the outside.
Purchasing a new home with an attached garage has many advantages. It provides protection for your automobile and makes getting in and out of the car a pleasure regardless of weather conditions. However, the attached garage also comes with a level of responsibility. Breathe easy, and take these simple steps to make sure the fumes from the car exhaust don’t wind up inside the home.
Author bio: Mark Gittelman is a homeowner, former mechanic and writer for CARFAX. He prides himself in sharing car buying and ownership tips to help maintain your car and your home.