How to Properly Ventilate Your Garage

Have you ever walked into a neighbor’s garage and noticed a musty scent immediately? Was the interior wickedly hot in the summer or bitingly cold in the winter?

Garages have a tendency to get neglected. People often disregard them as storage units, as well as second-rate rooms in their homes. However, not ventilating your garage properly is a major no-no.

how to ventilate your garage

Poor ventilation in a garage is bad news for two significant reasons. First, the fumes and chemicals generated from your vehicle, as well as machinery or tools you may operate inside the garage, are dangerous if they seep into other parts of the house.

Secondly, the heat that builds up in an attached garage during the summer months also makes the rest of your home uncomfortable. The attached garage can have a similar effect in the winter.

In order to correctly vent a garage, many homeowners invest in items like an exhaust fan to help with airflow. Here are some basics to understanding what you need to do to assess your garage as well as utilize the right materials to get the job done.

Inspect Your Garage

If your garage suffers from poor ventilation there is little you can do about it without costly repairs or renovations. So if you don’t have the funds to install more windows, or don’t want to keep the operating door cracked open to help with the problem for security reasons, the next best solution is an exhaust fan.

Inspections related to garage ventilation aren’t too complicated. Are you uncomfortable when you stand in the room? Is it too hot or too chilly? Though garages don’t have the same room temperature control as the rest of your home, they should be at least bearable.

Furthermore, you’ll notice if the garage gives off strong, undesirable odors. Intense, chemical odors are always a bad indication of poor ventilation so your garage should not smell like you just walked into a hazard zone.

If you have come to the conclusion that it’s time to ventilate the garage, then the next step is to get the square footage of the area. If you don’t already know that figure, measure the height and width of the area and then multiply the two for total square footage.

Consider an Exhaust Fan Kit

Garages have a tendency to develop bad fumes and odors because of:

  • What you store in them,
  • Exhaust that travels in from automobiles and
  • The lack of windows or fans that could stir air movement.

As a result, many invest in some type of exhaust fan to help generate air flow. Exhaust fans can get purchased at your local hardware store and many of them are sold in kits that are fairly easy to self-install.

If you have any questions about the product, such as how much square footage of area it will help ventilate, as well as placement of the fan, you should inquire with a rep at the hardware store.

There are many varieties of garage exhaust fans with different price ranges.

ventilating your garage

Prepare the Garage for Installation of an Exhaust Fan

The exhaust fan kit should walk you through the installation instructions. However, since instructions posted on a product label aren’t always the most specific or clear, here are the basic steps:

1. Cut a hole in the garage ceiling where you want to place the exhaust fan.

2. Once you cut through the ceiling you should be able to locate the electrical wiring box.

3. Before you begin messing with the electrical wiring box it’s EXTREMELY important that you shut off all power in the garage. You’re dealing with wires so you don’t want to get electrocuted.

4. Then run new wires from the nearest junction box to the opening. If you’re installing a large fan then you may want to create a separate circuit or two, as these fans can draw a lot of electricity and may overload existing circuits.

Installing a New Garage Fan

Now that the prep work is complete it’s time to install the actual fan. Here are the basics:

1. Connect the exhaust hose to the fan, and then push it through the roof until the nozzle is entirely through.

2. Secure the hose to the outside of the roof with the installation brackets provided in a kit.

3. Then connect the wires to the fan and screw the fan into the ceiling or side wall.

4. Once the fan is secured, caulk around the edge of the casing to prevent air from escaping back out of the garage immediately.

5. Turn the power back on in the garage and test out the new fan. If it’s not operational, you’ll want to first check the troubleshooting part of the manual.

Other Factors to Consider with Air Ventilation

The fan will go a long way in keeping your garage at more pleasant temperatures, as well as eliminate nasty odors. There are additional measures you can take as an exhaust fan can only do so much.

South and west facing garages struggle with hot temperatures the worst because of how the sun wears on them during the day. Though a fan will help, south and west facing garages are still at a disadvantage and it’s very hard during the summer to keep them completely cool.

Also, you should try to avoid parking cars immediately in a garage if possible. When you keep in mind that automobiles have been out on the road and generated an insane amount of heat, it’s going to take a little while for the mechanical parts of the engine to cool down.

So, even if you take the vehicle out for 15 minutes or less, you should still consider parking it outside the garage for a few hours until it starts to cool down. It won’t radiate as much heat into the interior of the garage.

Lastly, while insulated garage doors are incredibly efficient during the winter months for preventing cold air from coming into your garage, they are actually counter-productive during the warm months.

Insulated doors actually keep hot air trapped in the garage. It isn’t a problem if you live up north and experience long, bitter winters. Though if you live in a more mild climate you would do better to avoid installing this type of garage door.

Garage Ventilation and Air Flow

Garages are not only unpleasant if they are warmer/colder than the rest of the house and have strong odors, but they also negatively impact the rest of the house.

If the garage is too hot or cold then the adjacent rooms are going to get impacted. It’s impossible to stop this transfer of heat or cold air. Consequently, your best means to combat the problem is plenty of air movement.

Your garage can only get as cool as the temperature outside. However, by installing one or more ceiling or sidewall exhaust fans it will help keep the temperature within reason.

Exhaust fans that are placed high on the wall or ceiling, as well as directly opposite the main garage door offer the most effectiveness.

New Garage and Ventilation

Garages should be properly ventilated to air out any chemicals and fumes generated by your vehicle. Also, your garage builds up heat over the summer so it will feel uncomfortable if you don’t ventilate your garage.

At Danley’s, we construct custom size and style detached garages to accommodate your needs. All the garages are customized to air out all the heat, chemicals and fumes generated by your vehicle. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote online now.



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We offer an unbeatable combination of products, service and value for homeowners across Chicagoland.

Get a free quote now or call us at 877-DANLEYS today!

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