Question

What are the best ways to green my garage?

Asked by Marcus Mumford
Federal Way, WA

I understand it is best to separate the garage as much as possible form my living quarters but within my garage what are some tips?

Answer

Dennis Cheslik

Answered by Dennis Cheslik

Lewisville, TX

GreenTex Energy Savers

October 10, 2012

Garages are notorious for sucking in hot air during warm summer months and cold air in the bitter winter months.

If your garage is attached to your home, it can affect your home heating and cooling efficiency. It can also affect the air quality in your home.

  • With an attached garage, the main thing you want to do is keep the carbon monoxide from your autos, as well as the fumes from any stored materials, from entering your living space.
  • If you keep the fumes out, you help keep the heat and cold out as well.

Start by air sealing

The best place to start is by sealing any and all air leaks between the garage and your living space.

INTERIOR WALLS. Inspect any walls or doors that lead into your home from your garage. You want to use caulking and weatherstripping to seal all cracks, gaps, and spaces that you find. If there is a gap between the garage floor and the wall, be sure to fill that in. You can use the expanding foam type insulation if the gap is too large for caulking.

DOORS. It is extremely important to seal around any door that leads into your home.

EXTERIOR WALLS. Next, you want to seal any and all air leaks on the exterior walls. If the exterior walls have any windows, be sure to caulk and weatherstrip around those as well.

Insulation is next

The next step is to make sure the garage is well insulated.

If you have an older home, there is a good chance that the garage is not as well insulated as the rest of your home.

  • You want enough insulation in the attic above the garage to achieve a reflective value of at least R-30 (10 inches of insulation) or higher.
  • Determining whether your garage walls are insulated properly or not is tough to do by yourself, unless you can remove a piece of sheetrock fairly easily.

A home energy auditor with a “thermal imaging camera” can tell you in a heartbeat whether your walls are insulated. That’s an option you have to decide for yourself, depending on how much time you spend in your garage, and how energy efficient you want to make it.

If you determine the garage walls do need insulation, the easiest way to remedy the situation is by hiring a contractor that does blow-in insulation.

Other energy efficiency tips

Here are some other energy efficiency tips for garages:

  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save on electricity.
  • Use concrete sealant to repair any and all cracks in the floor.
  • Make sure your garage door has a good bottom seal. If yours is worn out, replace it. They are available at most home improvement centers.
  • Consider investing in a garage door insulation kit. There are several to choose from, most range in price from $80 to $160.
  • On hot summer days, wait for the car to cool down before pulling in the garage.
  • On cold winter days, pull it right in.
  • If the hot sun is pouring through any windows, consider installing a solar screen. 

For more information:

Read Harold Remlinger's Q&A "How should we heat and cool our new garage addition?"

Also, read Jesse Terzi's Q&A "How can we prevent car fumes from polluting our house through the attached garage?"

Tagged In: garage

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