10 things you shouldn't store in the garage
Many of us take an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to storing our things in the garage. But there are a few items you should never keep in the garage, most often because it's difficult to regulate temperature in there. Plus, there are pests to worry about...
Next time you're in your garage, we recommend checking to see if you're keeping any of these 10 items in there (and if you are, find them a new home!).
If you've ever given your home a fresh coat of paint, chances are that you still have some leftover tins in the garage.
But this isn’t the best place to keep them as it won’t last long in the high summer temperatures or when it gets really cold in winter if you store it on the garage floor. If you store the paint tins on cement floors, they’ll also rust more quickly than those left on shelves.
Instead, paint should be stored in a cool and dry environment, and never in freezing temperatures.
2. Wooden furniture
You may have no other option, but if you do, be aware that wooden furniture won’t stay in top condition if it's left in a cold, damp garage.
Wood is fragile enough to be affected by changes in humidity, and the fibres in the wood will swell and contract as the moisture level in the air changes. This will lead to cracks that you might not be able to repair.
You can keep wooden furniture in places where the temperature is consistent, like the attic, but if it’s in the garage, at least make sure it’s covered to protect it from the elements. However, even this will not keep the stain or varnish looking fresh.
3. Food of any kind
This might seem like a no-brainer but food should not be stored in the garage – unless you want to attract mice and other pests!
You may have prepared for the apocalypse by keeping canned food in the garage, but this isn't a good idea either. It can be affected by fluctuating temperatures, potentially freezing in winter and then thawing, causing it to lose some of its flavour in the process.
In the same way that wood is affected by humidity, the way that paper fibres respond will also cause pages to curl and spines to warp. This is also true for magazines, photo albums and other papers.
Humidity can also encourage mould and, unfortunately, paper is highly susceptible to becoming mouldy in the wrong conditions. So, it's best to keep books and other items made from paper away from the garage.
If you’re holding on to old DVD players, games consoles, TVs or computers in order to sell them off, be aware that they could be damaged by extreme temperature fluctuations.
Electronics are particularly susceptible to damage by condensation, as moisture can get into the circuits. Moisture getting into anything electrical can also be a serious danger as it poses the risk of electrocution.
6. Propane gas for barbecues
Propane canisters for your gas barbecue should be kept somewhere outside where it’s well-ventilated.
Putting them in the garage is a safety risk as the fumes could ignite when you start your car. Moreover, in the unlikely event you have a propane gas leak, this can be deadly — especially if it occurs within a tight space like a garage.
A fridge kept in the unregulated temperature of the garage is likely to use more energy to keep food at the right temperature. To keep your energy bill down, try placing the fridge somewhere else.
8. Tumble dryers
Condenser dryers shouldn’t be stored in the garage because they can be affected by cold temperatures.
In theory, the room temperature should be above 5°C. If it’s lower than this, the water that should condense in the condenser container might start to condense on other cold surfaces, meaning all that happens to the wet laundry is that it feels a bit warm.
Some of the latest electronic dryers may well even display a fault code and stop working if the room temperature is too low. Vented tumble dryers are more likely to work at low temperatures, but check the instructions first.
9. Washing machines
These can potentially be stored in the garage, but take care. Be aware there could be problems with condensation resulting from the heat and steam created during use. This can condense on cold walls and windows, or on the cold metal appliance.
In the worst-case scenario, this can damage the motor or cause mould or rust. Make sure the garage is well ventilated. Check plumbing and drainage regulations to ensure the water drains away to the correct place. Like other appliances, washing machines may be affected by extremes of temperature, either with overheating or the pipes freezing.
Like washing machines, you should proceed with caution if storing your freezer in the garage.
All freezers have climate class ratings that tell you the best external operating temperature for them. Check the instructions or the rating plate. Most freezers have a climate class of SN and will work in rooms that range from 10°C to 32°C. (The others are 16-32°C: N; 16-38°C: ST; 16-43°C: T).
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