Let’s first define both attached and detached garages. An attached garage connects to your house and has an inside door to your garage. A detached garage stands alone next to your house.
Next, let’s think of all the items that may be stored in your garage. First of all, there are the odd and end items that we just don’t have room for in the house. Maybe there’s a bicycle or some athletic equipment stored out there. Maybe you have some tools and a workbench with a plethora of screws and nails that you just might need one day. Obviously, these are not detrimental to your health. But is there a lawnmower and a gas can in your garage? What about some paint, paint thinner, fertilizer, or other chemicals?
All of those chemical containers that have been opened are slowly leaking VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Over time, exposure to those VOCs can have a detrimental effect on our bodies. As a matter of fact, the EPA says that there are about 12 VOCs that they have identified to be in greater concentration inside homes than outdoors. And these VOCs can have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Here is the actual article from the EPA website: What are volatile organic compounds? (VOCs)
Now, how many times a day do you enter and exit through the door from the house to the garage? Each time the door opens and closes, there’s an air exchange that takes place. Air from the garage comes into the house and air in the house goes into the garage.
Here at BIOSWEEP of Alabama, we have tested homes that had elevated VOCs that were directly linked to the items stored in the garage. One basement we tested in 2018 had an attached garage with a prized sports car parked in it. The basement door was often left ajar as the homeowner went in and out while working on his vehicle. The basement VOC test showed that the gasoline components in the basement environment were in the highest category, which is the severe level.
Now, most vehicles are not giving off gasoline VOCs in the garage. But the gasoline stored for the lawnmower/weed eater et. al. all give off gases. Other products like paints and cleaners are leaking VOC’s. All of these light gases can infiltrate your living space from an attached garage.
The solution to these issues is not difficult at all. An outside storage building for these items is a possibility. Move gas-powered equipment and gasoline containers to some type of outside storage. If paint and cleaning supplies must be stored in an attached garage, consider tight sealing plastic containers for these items.
If you’re wondering if your home is being affected by VOCs, MVOCs (microbial volatile organic compounds) or formaldehyde, give us a call at BIOSWEEP of Alabama. We have testing supplies and procedures to test your home.