What Items to Avoid Storing in Your Garage During Severe Weather Conditions

By skipashraful Updated October 15, 2023 Reviewed by skipashraful
Photo Credit: BiggerPockets

As fall arrives, we’re approaching winter, which could be just as cold as the previous sweltering summer. Different extreme weather conditions can pose a threat to your garage, but many of these risks are preventable. Surprisingly, a recent survey by Esurance found that only 25 percent of homeowners take proactive measures to prepare for extreme weather. Don’t be caught unprepared. Whether it’s scorching heat, freezing cold, hurricane seasons, or drought-induced wildfires, it’s advisable to get your garage ready in advance to reduce safety risks.

From fire hazards to frozen pipes, here’s how you can get your garage prepared for extreme weather.

**Extreme Heat and Wildfires:**

1. *Propane Tanks:* Propane tanks should never be stored indoors, but they pose an even greater risk in extreme temperatures as they release gas through their pressure-relief valve, turning your garage into a toxic fire hazard. Instead, store them outdoors, 10 feet away from your house, and out of direct sunlight. Ensure they are painted with a light-reflecting color and, if they get too hot in the sun, cool them down with a hose.

2. *Oil-Stained Rags:* Oil-stained rags, even after washing, can ignite and cause house fires in extreme garage temperatures. In the event of a wildfire, they can fuel the flames and lead to small explosions. To prevent this, dispose of heavily used oil-soaked rags and replace them. For lightly used rags, wash them a few times and store them in a covered metal can.

3. *Aerosol Cans:* Most aerosol cans contain butane or propane, which can explode when temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. They become dangerous projectiles or shrapnel. Store aerosol cans in the garage only if the temperature falls within the range of 55 to 80 degrees.

**Snow/Ice Storms and Extreme Cold:**

1. *Aluminum Cans:* Carbonated beverages can be problematic in freezing temperatures. They can burst when frozen, especially after the carbon dioxide separates from the liquid and pressurizes the can. Store canned carbonated beverages in the house where they won’t freeze.

2. *Glass Bottles:* Water-filled glass bottles can shatter in the cold due to water expansion as it freezes. Store your glass beverage containers indoors with the aluminum cans.

3. *Exposed Pipes:* As water freezes, it expands and exerts pressure on pipes, ultimately causing them to burst. Prevent this by letting water drip from your faucets and insulating exposed pipes with foam insulation.

**Hurricanes and Windstorms:**

1. *Generators:* Never run a generator indoors, even in your garage, during power outages. Generators emit lethal carbon monoxide, and confined spaces can be deadly. Set up your generator outside, at least 10 feet from your house, for proper ventilation.

2. *Open Doors and Windows:* Open garage doors and windows can invite debris and potential damage during hurricanes. Ensure all doors and windows are closed and locked before the storm. Consider installing storm windows or shutters for added protection against strong winds and heavy rains.

**Important Documents and Sentimental Items:**
With the increased risk of flooding and water damage during extreme weather, move important files and sentimental items indoors to an interior room for the duration of the storm.

To protect your family and property during extreme weather, inspect your garage and avoid storing potentially dangerous items in adverse conditions.