What Not to Leave in Your Garage

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Eric Brandt educates us on things to not leave in the garage during extreme weather.

As summer starts to wind down, it’s only a matter of time before winter sets in – a winter that could be as frosty as the summer was is sweltering. For Americans in states like Michigan, the extreme weather swings both ways. In fact, the Great Lakes State has seen a high of 112F and a low of -51F. Talk about range.
Any kind of extreme weather could bring potential damage to your garage. Fortunately, a lot of the risks they present are preventable — although a recent Esurance survey found that only 25 percent of homeowners proactively prepare for damaging weather events. Don’t get caught unprepared. Whether it’s triple-digit heat, below freezing cold, hurricane seasons or drought-induced wildfires, it’s best to prep your garage ahead of time to minimize your safety risks.

From fire hazards to burst pipes, here’s how to prepare your garage for extreme weather.

Extreme Heat and Wildfires
Propane tanks
Propane tanks should never be stored indoors in the first place, but they are a particularly big risk in extreme temperatures as they begin releasing gas through their pressure-relief valve — a built-in safety feature. In the garage, this becomes a toxic fire hazard.

Do this instead: Store propane tanks outdoors, about 10 feet away from the house and out of the sun. Make sure they’re painted in a color that reflects light. If they’ve been left in the sun and you worry that they’ve gotten too hot, hose them down.

Oil-stained rags
It might seem obvious, but oil-stained rags have been known to cause house fires — even if they’ve been through the wash. When the temperature in your garage rises to extremes, they can spontaneously combust. If a wildfire breaks out, they pose a substantial risk for fueling the flames and even causing small explosions.

Do this instead: Dispose of heavily used oil-soaked rags and replace them. Wash gently used rags a few times before storing them in a covered metal can.

Aerosol cans
Eighty percent of aerosol cans — even ones filled with hairspray and the like — contain 3 to 5 ounces of butane or propane. When temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, they can explode, sending bits of metal shrapnel through the air, or they can become propelled like rockets, capable of causing serious injury or damage.

Do this instead: Store aerosol cans in the garage only if the temperature is between 55 and 80 degrees.

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