Do Garages Need Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

Smoke and CO detectors are not required in garages when selling in California. But in some cases they are a good idea. In some cities, fire detectors (different than smoke detectors), are common for garages that are attached to neighbors (attached housing).

Did you know that most house fires start either in or very near the garage of a home? Government sources report that there are around 6600 garage fires every year in the US. These fires, on average, result in 30 fatalities, more than 400 injuries, and a loss of over $457 million in property damages yearly.

Smoke detectors in garages – Not required when selling but are recommended in many cases as a pre-warning to residents in a home, and a pre-warning is always a good idea, especially if you live in home with shared garage space or shared walls with your neighbor, or an ‘attached’ style home. Electric car fires have also been reported when charging an EV car, so a smoke detector and heat detector in a garage may be warranted if you regularly charge your EV car in it.

Reasons why you would not have a smoke detector in a garage are that it may be triggered by car exhaust, smoke or particulates from garage workshop activities. The detector may collect dust over time to the point where it may not work anymore. Also manufacturers suggest keeping smoke detectors in areas that remain above freezing year round.

Carbon Monoxide detectors in garage- Reason area similar to the above. Normal car exhaust may cause carbon monoxide alerts hence the detector may be ignored over time.

Fire Detectors – For some new construction in LA County, fire detectors are installed in the garages for attached (townhome) construction. More on the difference between a smoke detector and a fire detector here. Fire detectors are usually tied into the homes security system and will alert the homeowner if temperatures exceed a certain point which would alert the homeowner to a possible fire. Fire detectors may be useful when EV car charging, or when the homeowner keeps gasolint or other flamables in the garage.

Regardless of what type of detector you may have in your garage, check it every few months for dust and dirt, and to make sure it will work in case of emergency.

Do you have any experince with garage fires? Share your story below by sending us a message in the comment box.

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