February 19, 2016

Ways a Messy Garage Can be Dangerous

Messy garage can be dangerous

Dangerous Clutter

As a homeowner you may use your garage as an quick and easy place to dump random items that you don’t have another place for. The rest of your home may be pristine, with the garage acting as the only zone of chaos among your well‑organized abode. However, just because your garage is out of sight, it doesn't mean that the danger of all the clutter doesn't exist. These are some of the ways that a messy garage can be dangerous for you and your family.

Falling Objects

If the clutter in your garage is bad enough to stack higher than a person, there is a chance that the entire pile may suddenly shift and fall. At best, getting hit by a falling piece of clutter might leave a bruise or scrape. At worst, if you've hoarded enough materials in your garage, you may become trapped underneath a pile of items, such as old magazines or other stockpiled goods.

Heavier objects stored on higher shelves represent a greater danger should they fall off their perch. An item that weighs 10 pounds falling from a height of four feet will strike with a force that measures in the thousands of pounds depending on the thickness of the padding that cushions the blow.

Trips and Falls

One of the more obvious dangers of having a messy garage is tripping and falling over an item left on the floor. Clutter not only increases the number of objects that may cause you to trip, but it also distracts you from the existence of the tripping hazard. An item accidentally left on the floor of a well‑organized garage is much more noticeable and easier to avoid than an item misplaced in a crowded garage.

Fire Hazard

Stacks of newspapers, magazines, wood, cloth and other dry items act as the perfect kindling to turn a brief spark into a roaring inferno. The United States Fire Administration has conducted comparative studies finding that fires started in garages tend to spread faster and burn with more intensity than fires that begin on other parts of the property.

Cluttered garages, especially those with live wires that feed electronics, also provide an excellent environment to generate the initial spark that leads to igniting dry material.

Chemical Hazards

Electricity isn't the only source that can start a fire in your garage. Storing chemicals such as paints, cleaners, lubricants, fuel and other reagents can lead to a catastrophe. If a container or canister somehow becomes compromised, the chemicals may leak together to create a reaction that generates heat.

However, the more likely problem with chemical hazards revolves around toxic emissions that release noxious gases. For example, if a spill occurs that mixes bleach with ammonia cleaning products, the resulting combination releases a poison gas called chloramine that burns lungs, eyes and may even result in death. Another nasty mixture involve bleach and acid‑based cleaners.

The potential combination of these and other types of chemicals haphazardly stored in a garage may result in any number of terrible liquid and gas concoctions that are dangerous to your health.

Exacerbating Flood Damage

If you live in an area that's prone to flooding, having a cluttered garage can make the damage worse should a storm deluge your house. A well‑organized garage helps to reduce the damage incurred by storing valuable closer to the ceiling than the ground. If you have a messy garage, those valuable items may end up becoming mixed in with refuse that should be thrown away, resulting in cherished items becoming destroyed.

Another threat would be flood waters that upend improperly stored chemicals, causing them to spill all over the garage, creating a toxic hazard that's difficult or even dangerous to clean. Of course, technological clutter that's still plugged into the wall presents another hazard in the form of currents that may result in electrocution.

Keeping a garage free of clutter ensures that these and other dangers end up never happening. This is particularly true for families with young children. Curious children tend to explore all areas of the home in detail as part of discovering the world around them. If your garage is messy you might not even be aware of the danger that your garage presents to your child.

Lock up all the cleaners, lubricants, fuels and other chemicals and materials that are potentially poisonous instead of letting them lie around the garage. Clear the clutter off the garage floor to prevent tripping and falling. Instead of stacking items high in your garage, prevent injury from falling objects by securing them or moving them to another area where they won't fall.

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