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Why is a pet door from a house to the garage a fire hazard?
Saturday, June 30, 2018
The garage is recognized by fire officials and the building code as a place where plenty of house fires get started. Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, paint thinner, degreaser, and other solvents, are often stored in a garage. A car in the garage can leak gasoline onto the floor, and the gas itself or its vapor is easily ignitable by a spark. Also, the carbon monoxide fumes generated by a car left running in the garage are deadly if allowed to seep into the home. So, for all these reasons, the International Residential Code (IRC) has safety standards for a door that separates the garage from the house interior.
The door cannot open directly onto a room used for sleeping purposes (bedroom) and must be one of the following types with fire resistance:
- Sold wood door not less than 1-3/8” thick.
- Steel door, with a solid of honeycomb core, not less than 1-3/8” thick.
- A door with a 20-minute fire-rating.
A pet door cut into the bottom of the one these fire-resistant doors puts a hole in the door that voids the fire protection and vapor seal. We never see it in a brand new home because the building department inspector would fail it, but a pet door to the garage is a common addition by well-meaning pet lovers shortly after they move in.
See our blog post What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house? for more about the necessary fire resistance.
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