Carbon Monoxide Leaks From Your Garage: What You Should Know

Posted On: February 02, 2013

Concerns over carbon monoxide leaks have caused many homeowners to install CO detectors in their homes and ensure that fuel-burning equipment is safe to operate. However, homeowners with attached garages should also be concerned about carbon monoxide leaking into the home from the garage. Studies support the notion that homes with attached garages may be significantly more polluted than homes without them. Here’s what you need to know about carbon monoxide safety when dealing with an attached garage.

Two primary conditions must generally exist in order for carbon monoxide that’s generated from the garage — emanating from your motor vehicle or gas-powered lawn equipment — to enter the home:

  • Air leaks – The shared wall (and ceiling if applicable) must be tightly sealed to prevent noxious fumes from infiltrating the home. If this area leaks, the fumes have a key access point into the home.
  • Pressure differences – During cooler weather, and when homeowners use vented appliances and run exhaust fans, it’s common for the home’s pressure to drop, while the outdoor air maintains a higher pressure. This difference in pressure sucks air into the home from the attached garage, along with CO and other unwanted fumes.

Learning how conditions in the home encourage carbon monoxide leaks from the garage to penetrate the home helps homeowners understand why these solutions work:

  • Install an exhaust fan, run on a timer, to remove carbon monoxide fumes, and to also lower the pressure in the attached garage.
  • Seal leaks in the shared wall (and ceiling), removing the entry points through which carbon monoxide and other fumes infiltrate the home.
  • Apply weatherstripping to the doorway into the garage, eliminating access that’s allowed when the material is damaged or worn.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle in the garage. Instead, back the car into the driveway to let it warm up. When you return home, once you drive into the garage and turn the car off, leave the overhead garage door open to let the fumes exhaust.

At Ernst Heating & Cooling, we’ve assisted homeowners in the Metro-East area since 1951 prioritize home safety and efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about preventing carbon monoxide leaks in your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Carbon Monoxide Leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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