Preventing Garage Emergencies

garage-emergenciesWorking in the garage is almost like a home away from home for DIYers. Pretty much everyone understands how power tools can pose a danger when not used properly. But most take for granted other dangerous or damaging scenarios which can take place in a garage. A few things to keep a lookout for and preventative measures can help keep things safe.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Working in the garage is nothing unusual for most homeowners, particularly when the weather doesn’t permit outside access. When the weather is bad is also the highest probability of getting carbon monoxide poisoning. This gas is odorless and can accumulate from fuel sources. Gasoline powered tools operating outside of windows where fumes travel inside an un-aired area can cause problems. This includes the garage, where doors may be closed and few, if any windows exist. A way to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in home or garage is to ventilate. Gas powered tools can create fumes that are toxic if used in an unventilated area. Closing doors in winter while using heaters designed for work areas may also cause products, not normally stored inside the home to emit vapors which can be harmful and even deadly. You need to also make sure to keep these items away from heat sources or the risk of an explosion becomes reality.

Leaking Water Heater

Learn before a garage emergency how to shut off water. Some water heaters have a valve that shuts the water off, while others you will need to shut off the main water supply line that goes to your house. Sometimes a water heater leak is minor and can be repaired easily, but other times, the issue may be more complex or even with the need to replace the entire unit. While rare, it’s possible for a water heater tank to actually explode due to too much pressure inside the tank if there is an issue with the pressure relief valve. Make sure to do a yearly inspection of your water heater and look for any tiny leaks which will eventually turn into major ones. Most leaks either come from the top or bottom of the tank.

Flooding

Flooding is certainly a garage emergency. Prevent this damaging event by keeping drain spouts clean and water channeled away from the home. If, there is a problem, a French drain will help water flow away from the garage. Obviously, those near rivers and streams or low laying areas are at the greatest risk of flooding so have a plan of action before it’s too late. The danger of flooding and water damage is not over once the water goes away. Unless properly ventilated with the use of fans and air movers, dangerous mold can start to grow in areas you see and don’t see. If you’re not sure how to properly dry out a garage after flooding, call a professional.

Garage Doors

The garage door and automatic garage door openers are the height of convenience. The advantage of staying in the car, driving out and into the garage without getting out of the car is priceless. No cold or excessive heat to deal with to upset your day. However, when power outages happen, you need an alternative plan. Fortunately, garage door manufacturers are way in front of you. Still, a customer needs to learn to operate the manual override provided by manufactures. The manual is best activated, while the garage door is closed. If the door is already open, the door may fall. Also, no matter how annoying those garage door sensors are, resist the temptation to remove them. They are there for a reason and legally required in most residential homes.

Garage Fire

When you think about the amount of flammable liquids people store in garages, it’s easy to understand how a fire might occur. Wires or batteries can spark and cause fumes to ignite. Make sure the walls of the garage are fireproof. This requires type X gypsum. A primary point of prevention is cleanliness. Keep paper and oil soaked cleaning rags disposed of, or stored properly. Never simply throw them away into a garbage can or outside the garage on a warm, sunny day. There are many incidents each year where the paper or rags actually ignite from the sun and cause majore fire damage.

For more information about how to prevent garage fires, visit:  https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/garage_fires_factsheet.pdf

Preventing garage emergencies is a high priority job and something we usually don’t even think about. By keeping an eye on certain things and even just being more aware of what could happen, you will automatically lessen your odds of a garage catastrophe occurring at your residence.

Air Tool Organization and Maintenance

Whether you work in a professional shop or you simply enjoy working on projects in your garage, having air tools on hand can save you a lot of time and make your work much easier. However, knowing where to store these tools and how to maintain them can be challenge. Storing them in their plastic cases (if they came in one!) can be clumsy, and stashing them in the bottom drawers of roll around tool boxes tends to take up a lot of space and risks getting dirt into fittings.

Most big box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot offer storage solutions that can be purchased and installed turnkey. However, these cookie cutter options don’t always provide adequate configurations to accommodate for your specific collection of air tools and attachments.

What are some other storage options for your air tools?

air-tool-pegboardOne simple and easily reconfigured approach is to purchase two 2x4s and a section of peg board of equal lengths. Measure the height of the pegboard and mount the wood on the wall of your shop at that distance apart. Attach the pegboard to the wood and install the appropriate combination of hooks, hangers, baskets, metal arms and other pegboard accessories needed to hold your air hoses, brad nailers, impact wrenches, couplers or whatever else you need quick access to.

To expand your storage capacity as your tool collection grows, add more accessories or mount additional pegboard walls, and easily reconfigure the layout as needed.This wall-mounted storage design not only keeps your tools within easy reach in your garage or shop, but it also avoids crowding work surfaces.

For a less store-bought approach, modify the front edge of a length of a wooden or metal beam with slots large enough to allow the small diameter of each tool’s male air fitting to slide into. Use brackets to securely mount the beams onto a wall near the air lines and store the air tools hanging down when they’re not in use. Having all of your tools in one specific place makes finding them easier, and prevents having to hunt for them when you need to use them!

Simple Maintenance Results in Valuable Longevity

To ensure the longevity and performance of your air tools, no matter how you decide to store them, be sure to maintain them by cleaning and lubricating them on a regular basis.

Air Compressor Condensation

Oftentimes the first place to focus is on the condition of the air compressor. When compressors are in use, they are condensing moisture out of the air, and that moisture collects at the bottom of the tank. You may be doing a great job with regularly draining your air tank, but this only avoids rust in the tank. Since the condensation in the air line is what can cause corrosion issues in your tools, with an air compressor, review on a weekly basis that you are draining and cleaning the entire system, from the compressor to the tools – to lengthen the life and improve the performance of the tool.

Lubrication

Lubrication is another way to reduce friction and prevent water condensation from building up in your tools. Although the frequency of preventative maintenance necessary will vary, depending on the amount of usage of the tool, a good rule of thumb is to apply a manufacturer-recommended lubricant once every eight hours of use. A lubrication regimen can sometimes make worn down tools that are operation at a lower power output work like new again! The majority of air tools have more than one grease fitting, so consult your manual or ask your tool dealer if you have questions.

Quality Couplers

Another good rule of thumb is to avoid connecting a dirty or damaged hose coupler to your tool. Couplers that have been dragged across the floor or are contaminated with brake dust, grease, saw dust or dirt, will transfer these particles directly into your motor. To keep your couplers – and ultimately your air tools’ motors – clean and off the dirty floor, use an air hose reel that is suspended from your shop ceiling.

Help Your Tools Help You

Air tools are simple to use and are useful in your shop or garage. But they should be treated with care, stored appropriately and maintained regularly in order for them to do their best work for you.

How to Organize your Workbench

organized-workbenchIf you have a workbench, then you’re probably familiar with the way it can go from being a usable space to a cluttered mess in a short amount of time. Most of us have had a similar experience. We clean and organize, only to find that tools don’t get put away immediately, and over time, we have a mess we have to clean up on a regular basis.

So, here’s a solution that will whip your workbench back into shape, and keep it that way.

It starts with a commitment

If it’s just you using the bench, make a commitment to yourself to keep it clean, by putting all tools back into their place. The few extra seconds of putting your tools back in their rightful places can save you minutes as well as a lot of frustration when you need a certain tool quickly. If a number of people will be using the workbench, take a moment to discuss how it’s going to be organized and most importantly, stress the need for all tools to be returned to their proper place when the jobs are done. With out this step, we know what the end result will be.

Make a workable space

Remove all clutter from the surface of the bench, and assess how much space you have to work with. The goal here is to survey your wall space and the back of the bench, to get an idea where storage solutions can be placed in order to keep as much of your workbench as free as possible. Peg board and hooks are great for available wall space, because you can easily hang wrenches, saws, and hammers on them. This will keep these tools organized and at arm’s length.

Screws, nails, nuts, bolts, and other small hardware can be organized into plastic stacking bins. These can be placed at the back of the bench against the wall. If you have a lot of small hardware to keep separate, consider a storage cabinet that’s about a foot tall, and has tons of clear plastic drawers. All these go best at the back of the workbench.

One of the best things you can do is to mount a multiple outlet surge protector to the side of your workbench. This is especially helpful in garages where outlets are at a premium, which is most.

Power tools can be neatly laid out on a multiple shelve, metal baker’s rack. You’ll be able to spot the right tool quickly.You can also put a bin next to each tool, so all the important bits, chucks and blades are in one spot.

What to do with liquids

Paints,and other liquid chemicals, should be stored on the bottom shelf of your workbench. A large plastic drip pan should be used to contain any possible spills from sitting cans. Underneath your workbench is also an excellent spot to store all those half-empty cans of paint or wood stain. It’s a good idea to mark on each can where that paint color has been used (ie: kitchen, upstairs bathroom, exterior trim, etc.).

That’s all there is to it

With your hard work and ingenuity, you can turn your workbench into a space to be proud of. The amount of time you’ll save by organizing now, will pay off on what really matters — your projects!

How to Setup a Workbench for DIY Auto Repair

auto-repair-workbenchWhen it comes to creating a work space for yourself, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Setting up a work bench for home auto repair will require some essential tools and other equipment to make doing work on your vehicles easier than ever before. Many garage spaces you’ve probably seen are cluttered and mainly used for storage, but that doesn’t have to be the case for every person’s garage. A garage can serve several purposes. One of those purposes is to have a do it yourself space to repair your own vehicle. Having the right space with the proper tools in an uncluttered environment is the best way to go. Going about that can be difficult without the proper resources. First you want to remove the clutter in the space you want to work in and then begin by having a sturdy work surface so you can lay out parts for the jobs you will be working on.

Obviously, the actual tools you’ll be using are important. A good socket set (metric and SAE) should be your first priority. Having an air compressor and impact wrench are two of the best investments you will make if working on cars. A good hydraulic floor jack is another must have item. Don’t settle for one of those $50 jacks on sale at your local auto parts store. They are cheaply made and not worth risking your life over to save a few bucks. Same goes for motorcycles. Do some research, read reviews, and get the best motorcycle jack your money can buy. Other necessities include:  jack stands, torque wrench, mechanics creeper, auto ramps, wheel chocks, bench vise, and adjustable wrench. Organize all these tools and others in a way that makes most sense to you. Everybody has their own layout that works best for them but the key is put away all your tools in the same spot each time so you know where to find them.

The next thing to consider is lighting. Lighting is an essential part of an efficient work space, specifically when working on a vehicle. The details that must go into repairing a vehicle could literally mean life or death, not that we want to scare you, but it’s important to have adequate lighting so you can see what you are doing and make the repairs properly the first time without having to go back and fix any mistakes that may have happened.

Next you want to make sure your work space in clean and organized. Any space that is not clean is a recipe for disaster which can cause injury. Reducing the risk of injury while you are working is something that should never be overlooked. Additionally, having an organized space is just as essential as proper lighting. Knowing where all the tools and equipment are can reduce your time working on a vehicle because you do not have to waste time searching for the tools needed as the project moves forward. There are many ways that you can organize a garage work space and it’s ideal to use as much vertical space as possible. Whether it’s building a rack from the ceiling to hold car tires or getting the taller tool chest (vs wider), the more space you have to move around, the safer it is.

Overall, these steps are necessary to have a good are for working on your vehicles and being able to make all your repairs at home and save you a substantial amount of money. The key is not to have the biggest garage with all the best fancy tools, but to have a garage with enough room to work comfortably and with the tools that you need all within easy reach.

Garage Storage and Shelving Ideas and Tips

Garages have a tendency to become quite messy. It’s a place where it’s common to just dump things and forget about them because of the lack of organization and inability to easily see everything you have stored in them. Luckily, there are a few ways you can organize your garage on a budget. You’ll be able to find everything in your garage and have your belongings stored in an efficient manner. Here are just a few ways you can clean up your garage and get organized over the weekend.

Combine Shelves with Storage

storage-shelvesWith your belongings piling up in the garage, you need a simple way to store your things. Whether your garage stores your tools, craft supplies, kids outdoor toys, or whatever else, building your own shelves would save money and your sanity. If you don’t have any leftover wood, you can buy some inexpensive plywood, leg supports, self-tapping wood screws, standard screws, and wood glue. You can build a shelving unit as long and as tall as you wish. It all depends on your needs. Once you have your shelving unit built, you can buy some plastic Tupperware bins to store your belongings and label them for easy access. Heavy items such as air compressors or hydraulic floor jacks can be stored at floor level under the first shelf. This is one simple way you can organize your garage.

Take Advantage of Overhead Space

overhead-storageWhen you have a lot to be stored in your garage and you want it to be neat and tidy, you should take advantage of all areas where you have space to store things. This should include the ceiling. One way you can utilize your ceiling space for storage is by building a simple sliding storage system. Using just 2×4’s and plywood strips, you can build a sliding storage system to hang more Tupperware bins that are also labeled. This would be a more convenient way to store things you may not use all the time. Certain sports gear such as bicycles, kayaks, life jackets, and hockey equipment are excellent candidates for ceiling storage.

Store Your Evergrowing Amount of Tools

pegboard-bookIf your garage is overflowing with tools, it’s important you find a way to store them in an organized way. You don’t want to lose your tools because they can cost a good chunk of money to replace. You can store your tools like a book using square pegboard pieces, 1×2’s, a 2×4, screws, and hinges. With a few square pieces of pegboard hung book-style, you’ll be able to store a ton of your everyday tools with ease.

There are many ways you can get your garage organized. It depends on what all you need to store. It would be a great task for the weekend to try some of the DIY ways to get organized in your garage. You’ll be happy you gave it a shot when you’re able to find everything in your garage again. As you’re doing the above-listed ideas, you may come up with some ideas on your own of ways to organize some other things in your garage. Your garage will be neat and orderly thanks to a few DIY garage organization ideas.