Show Notes: Fire and Your Garage
Is your home safe from a garage fire? Do you have a fire door going from the house to the garage? Most home fires start in the garage and spread to the living areas of the home. Every year, there are approximately 6,600 garage fires in homes that result in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. Don’t become a statistic.
Tacky Home Décor Trends That Need To Go Away
Plastic furniture covers
Wall to wall shag carpet
U-shaped toilet rugs and toilet seat covers
Indoor fire pits
Mix and match wall paper
This started as interesting subject and our listeners added to the list with their own choices for tacky home trends to need to go away:
Veined Mirror Tile
Carpet in the Bath
Beads in the Doorways
Green Velvet Couches
Crocheted Toilet Paper Holder Dolls
What Is A Fire Door And Why Do You Need One?
Garages along with kitchens are the places most likely to initiate a fire. Think about it. Your garage has gasoline in it along with paints, thinners, cleaning fluids and other flammables. If your car leaked some gasoline onto a hot engine, a fire could start. Or a bundle of rags with paint thinner might spontaneously ignite when bundled up on a shelf or in a cabinet. It happens all too frequently. You need a good door to keep the fire from spreading from the garage to the house too quickly.
If your garage is separated from your house, you have a built in fire separation by virtue of the space between the buildings. However, most garages are connected to the house and a fire could spread to the house in minutes. So in these cases, the door to the garage must be able to resist the fire for some period of time so you have a chance to escape and avoid injury or death. Most Building Codes require this. The International Residential Building Code, which has been adopted in many locales, requires a 20-minute fire rated door, or a solid wood, or solid or honeycomb core steel door of not less than 1 3/8″ thickness.
The door should have a label that says this: Doors, along with many building products, are tested by the Underwriters Laboratory for safety. A 20-minute rated door has been tested to withstand penetration by a fire for at least twenty minutes. If you want more security, you can always exceed the minimum rating and install a door with an even higher rating. The fire door must not open into a sleeping area
Fire-rated doors, along with smoke alarms, will let you sleep at night knowing your family is safe. –
Thinking Of Buying An Air Cleaner?
Here is what to know:
There are several types of air cleaning devices available, each designed to remove certain types of pollutants.
Two types of air cleaning devices can remove particles from the air — mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners. Mechanical air filters remove particles by capturing them on filter materials.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are in this category.
Electronic air cleaners such as electrostatic precipitators use a process called electrostatic attraction to trap charged particles. They draw air through an ionization section where particles obtain an electrical charge. The charged particles then accumulate on a series of flat plates called a collector that is oppositely charged. Ion generators, or ionizers, disperse charged ions into the air, similar to the electronic air cleaners but without a collector. These ions attach to airborne particles, giving them a charge so that they attach to nearby surfaces such as walls or furniture, or attach to one another and settle faster.
Gaseous Pollutant Removal
Gas-phase air filters remove gasses and odors by using a material called a sorbent, such as activated carbon, which adsorbs the pollutants. These filters are typically intended to remove one or more gaseous pollutants from the airstream that passes through them. Because gas-phase filters are specific to one or a limited number of gaseous pollutants, they will not reduce concentrations of pollutants for which they were not designed. Some air cleaning devices with gas-phase filters may remove a portion of the gaseous pollutants and some of the related hazards, at least on a temporary basis. However, none are expected to remove all of the gaseous pollutants present in the air of a typical home.
For example, carbon monoxide is a dangerous gaseous pollutant that is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned, and it is not readily captured using currently available residential gas-phase filtration products.
Some air cleaners use ultraviolet (UV) light technology intended to destroy pollutants in indoor air. These air cleaners are called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) cleaners and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) cleaners. Ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners intentionally produce ozone gas, a lung irritant, to destroy pollutants.
Ozone is a lung irritant that can cause adverse health effects.
- UVGI cleaners use ultraviolet radiation from UV lamps that may destroy biological pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, allergens and molds that are airborne or growing on HVAC surfaces (e.g., found on cooling coils, drain pans, or ductwork). If used, they should be applied with, but not as a replacement for, filtration systems.
- PCO cleaners use a UV lamp along with a substance, called a catalyst, that reacts with the light. They are intended to destroy gaseous pollutants by converting them into harmless products, but are not designed to remove particulate pollutants.
- Ozone generators use UV light or an electrical discharge to intentionally produce ozone. Ozone is a lung irritant that can cause adverse health effects. At concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little effect in removing most indoor air contaminants. Thus, ozone generators are not always safe and effective in controlling indoor air pollutants. Consumers should instead use methods proven to be both safe and effective to reduce pollutant concentrations, which include eliminating or controlling pollutant sources and increasing outdoor air ventilation.
Garage Fire Safety – Common Sense Minimizes Risk
For many homeowners, a shiny new car is as integral a part of the home as the roof and the door—and it’s often right next to both. That’s because many people go to great lengths to protect the beloved car from the elements, chief of which is garaging it rather than leaving it out in the driveway.
Garaging a car keeps it safe and snug—but, if the garage is attached to the home, some risks ensue. One major risk is fire. Most folks have plenty of combustible material in their garages, from gas and oil cans to cleaning products. Combine this with all the fuel and oil in your car, and one errant leak can ignite a devastating fire.
A less obvious, but just as dangerous, concern is carbon monoxide, which is potentially deadly. (In fact, now is the perfect time to check and make sure you have a CO2 alarm in your home and that it’s working). What makes carbon monoxide so scary is that it’s invisible—odorless, colorless, and tasteless—and it’s in your car’s exhaust. Always keep not only the exterior garage door open, but keep your car door open as well, when starting the car—the goal is to have as much ventilation directly to the outdoors as possible. Also, don’t idle the car in the garage; pull the car out of the garage as quickly as possible after starting the car. It sounds basic, but it’s easy to make mistakes and get distracted as soon as you get in the car.
Luckily, there’s no need to panic over these risks—you can minimize them. Just use common sense, and rest assured that you have a whole bunch of codes on your side. Those codes, and the builders who put them into practice, can help to greatly minimize the risk. Here’s a rundown of U.S. national fire codes for attached garages in single-family homes:
-Half-inch gypsum board is required on the garage side of any walls that the garage and house share, as well as any walls that support a ceiling in the garage that is connected to the house. This gypsum board helps prevent fire from igniting wall studs and quickly spreading to the house.
-Any garage ceilings common to the house must contain fire-resistant 5/8 Type X gypsum board.
-The door from the garage into the house must be fire-resistant; it must either have a 20-minute burn rating or, if not rated, must be solid and 1 3/8 inches thick. Lastly, this door must not open onto a room used for sleeping.
-The garage floor must be non-combustible.
-No supply or return air registers or ducts may be in the garage, under any circumstance. Any duct-work that passes through the garage with no openings (the only kind, as no openings are allowed) must be sealed with fire-stop caulking. The ducting material must be 26-gauge steel.
Note that these are national codes; many local codes, which usurp national codes where applicable, are even more stringent. And if you are worried about remembering the above when buying or selling a home, don’t worry—you don’t have to. Just choose a good home inspector, who will know all the rules regarding garage safety. Your only other job, besides exercising common sense, is to drive carefully and enjoy your new wheels.
Green Thumbs Go Digital
Landscaper’s Companion ($5.99 iPhone, iPad; $4.99 Android): This is a planting reference for just about anything you can stick into soil — trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, bulbs, and on and on. For each species, the app provides its growing zone, watering and sun needs, height, width, and bloom time — plus a pretty picture. You can also scroll through images, pick a plant that sparks your interest, and then research it.
Garden ID (free for iPhone, iPad): A personal gardening guru that customizes information for your particular slice of heaven. Allow the app to use your current location, and it suggests fruits, vegetables, and herbs that can thrive in your edible garden anytime, and even varieties you can plant now. Select a veggie, and Garden ID gives you planting, growing, and harvesting tips. As a bonus, it also names plants that like to grow together, like corn that shades lettuce, giving it a longer growing season. You’ll also learn which plants don’t get along, like cauliflower and tomatoes.
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