How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

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:

  1. Sold wood door not less than 1-3/8” thick.
  2. Steel door, with a solid of honeycomb core, not less than 1-3/8” thick.
  3. 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.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

  To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:

What causes sweating (condensation) on the inside of windows in the winter? 

Is every exterior door of a house required to have a landing outside? 

 What are the small slots at the bottom of the outside of my window? 

Why does condensation form on the outside of some windows and not others in the morning? 

Why is the garage door track a white tube? 

What is the raised metal plate on the floor under the garage door?

 Why do I have to hold down the button to close the garage door? 

How can I tell if a window or glass door is safety glass? 

What are the code requirements for safety tempered glass for doors?• 

Should a front door swing in or out? 

How many exit doors are required for a house?

 How many exit doors are required for a mobile/manufactured home? 

Are openable windows required to have window screens? Will windows with no screens pass a home inspection? 

Can a bedroom door open into the garage?

What is "low-E" window glass? 

What does ANSI 297.1 on glass mean?

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard? 

How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?  

What is an egress window?

Does a home inspector test all the windows and doors in a home? 

How difficult is it to change a window to french doors or a sliding glass door?

How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Why are window security bars dangerous? 

What are the common problems you find inspecting windows?

What is causing a foggy haze on my windows? 

What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean?

What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door? 

• What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

• Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house? 

• When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

   Visit our DOORS AND WINDOWS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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