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What’s in Your Garage?

If you’re like most people, your garage contains lots and lots of stuff. At best, you have some unsightly clutter on your hands. And at worst? Fire hazards that could pose a danger to your garage and your home. (Can you believe that five percent of house fires start in a garage?) Find out if your garage poses a danger by reviewing this list of common garage hazards.

Heating hazards

The danger: ERIE will not typically cover garages that are heated by wood stoves and space heaters unless they are in a specially sealed off area of the garage in which hot air is piped in for heat. That’s because heating devices with an open flame have the potential of emitting gas fumes and igniting the garage.
What you can do: If your heating device is cleared for use in your garage, you’ll want to take a few precautions. “Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of communication at the National Fire Protection Association. This includes combustible items such as car batteries as well as general clutter like piles of rags or stacks of loose papers.

Electrical hazards

The danger: Wiring, extension cords, plugs, circuit breakers, transformers, light fixtures and battery chargers can cause a fire when they malfunction.
What you can do: Make sure your wiring and lighting is up to code, use bulbs with the proper wattage and don’t overload outlets. Have an electrician install more receptacles so you don’t have to use extension cords.

Chemical hazards

The danger: Chances are you have a virtual stockpile of flammable chemicals like motor oil, paint, gasoline, fertilizers and lighter fluid in your garage.
What you can do: Don’t smoke inside your garage—after all, one spark is all it takes to cause a fire. Instead, head out to the driveway or sidewalk. (Even better, kick the habit.) Store any chemicals out of direct sunlight and far, far away from any heat or ignition sources. Also check containers for cracks or defects.

Vehicles and power tools

The danger: When oil and gasoline from cars, motorcycles, power tools and lawnmowers drips and collects over time, the possibility of a fire becomes very real.
What you can do: Regularly check your vehicles and power tools. If you notice any leaks, clean up the spill ASAP by spreading an absorbent material such as kitty litter over them. Then sweep up and safely dispose of the material before taking care of the repair.

Cooking equipment

The danger: Ovens, microwaves, charcoal grills and gas grills can ignite the flammable stuff in your garage.
What you can do: They call it a cookout for a reason, so make sure you only use your grill outside and a good distance away from your garage. Propane tanks pose a special danger, so store them outdoors—they’re sturdy enough to handle the elements.

As a final precaution, make sure to stash a fire extinguisher and install a fire alarm in your garage.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.