House Smells Like Gasoline From Garage? (Fix It Now!)
Strange odors in your home can be alarming, especially if it smells like a flammable substance such as gasoline. Gasoline is a part of everyday life for the average homeowner or commuter, but you never expect your house to smell like it. So, why does your house smell like gasoline?
The most common reason for a house to smell like gasoline is unsealed gas cans or a fuel spill in the garage. Poor ventilation in your home or garage can cause a gasoline smell to spread if you recently started heavy machinery. Call 911 if you notice a strong and sudden gasoline smell in your home without explanation.
Gasoline smells generally come from the garage, and it isn’t always an emergency. However, it is important to treat it seriously and never use a lighter or match when your house smells like gasoline. Follow along as we explore what you should do when there is a gasoline smell in your house.
Gasoline Smell in House
The smell of gasoline in your home can be alarming, and it’s important to figure out the source. There is generally a reasonable explanation, and gasoline smells often occur if you store gasoline. Evacuate your home if you smell a sudden, strong gasoline smell and there is no apparent cause.
Luckily, however, gasoline odors are generally due to spilled or stored gasoline. Homeowners that live near gas stations can often smell gasoline throughout their homes. Gas stations often store 20,000-gallon gasoline tanks which can produce a strong odor.
These tanks are vented, and strong winds can easily push the odors downstream towards your home. You can often smell a fuel spill from your home, especially if the spill spreads and contaminates the water and soil. However, your house smells like gasoline from the garage the vast majority of the time.
House Smells Like Gasoline From Garage
The average homeowner stores one or more cars in their garage, and that is enough to make your house smell like gasoline. Gasoline odors grow stronger if you have multiple cars or power tools that run on gasoline. The smell is generally much stronger right after you park a car in the garage or store a power tool that you just used.
However, the smell can continue and grow stronger if gasoline leaks from a car or power tool while it sits in your garage. Poor ventilation can make the smell seem much stronger than it is, particularly in areas near the door to the garage. Bad insulation is another common reason that your house smells like gasoline from the garage.
Many homeowners store gas cans in their garage to fill tools or their vehicles, and they generally smell strong. Make sure to completely seal a gas can or you run the risk that your garage and home will smell like gasoline. Improve the ventilation in your garage and throughout your house to reduce the gasoline odor.
Call 911 if you are unaware of the source and the gasoline odor is overpowering. Until you find out the source, however, it is important to exercise caution because gasoline is flammable and your home could be at risk. Let’s take a look at several safety precautions that you need to take to protect yourself and your home if your house smells like gasoline.
Avoid Light Switches
Don’t use your light switches if a sudden and strong gasoline odor appears in your house. Light switches are conductive and that is how they turn on your light fixture. However, the conductivity is dangerous if there is a flammable or combustible chemical in the air.
The arc of electricity between the two metal plates in a light switch can cause gasoline to combust. A gasoline smell doesn’t always mean that there is a strong concentration of gasoline in the air, but it is worth it to exercise caution and avoid using light switches.
Don’t Plug in Appliances
Don’t plug in appliances in or near your garage if your house smells like gasoline from the garage. Inspect your garage and mop up any gasoline before you plug in any electronics in the space. Similar to using light switches, the arc of electricity is enough to create a spark and ignite spilled or leaking gasoline in your garage.
Shut Off Gas
Shut off the main gas supply valve in your home if your house smells like gasoline, even if it’s from the garage. You can generally tell the difference between gasoline and natural gas, but it’s still worth it shut off your gas if you smell gasoline. It is a great idea to shut off the gas valve even if it doesn’t smell like gasoline because natural gas is flammable as well.
Simply turn the gas valve clockwise to shut it off and pay attention to see if the odor dies down. You can always easily turn the gas supply back on later when you identify and eliminate the source of the gasoline odor. Leave your home after you turn off the natural gas if the smell continues, and call 911 to get professional help.
No Open Flames
This one should be obvious, but don’t have any open flames if your house smells like gasoline. Extinguish nearby flames if you can safely do so, and don’t create any new flames. Never use a lighter or strike a match in your house or garage if it smells like gasoline.
Candles, fireplaces, and burners on your stove can all cause gasoline in your home to combust. Contact emergency services if you cannot diagnose the source and don’t create any flames until your house is cleared.
It may be tempting to drive away right when your house smells like gasoline, but they could be dangerous. The gasoline smell may be coming from your car and you could cause further damage or even make the gasoline combust if you start the engine. The same applies to power tools and riding lawnmowers which can also go up in flames.
Walk away from your home or go to a neighbor’s house until the gasoline odor fades or the fire department says that it is safe. Otherwise, the spark of the engine’s ignition could cause the vehicle or tool and your home to catch on fire.
How to Get Rid of Gasoline Smell in House
You should only try to eliminate a gasoline smell in your house if you know exactly where it’s coming from. Make sure that no electronics are running or open flames near the gasoline before you clean it and try to remove the smell. Let’s take a look at the easiest ways to remove the odor if your house smells like gasoline.
Cat litter is absorbent and strong enough to eliminate the smell of cat waste, so it’s strong enough to remove gasoline odors. You can pour cat litter directly onto wet gasoline to absorb it and minimize the odor. However, it can often be more effective to mop up as much of the gasoline as you can before you dump cat litter onto it.
It can be a hassle to clean up the soaked cat litter afterward, but it is among the best way to remove the smell of gasoline. Try to find highly absorbent, heavy-duty cat litter so that you can quickly eliminate the odor without having to use a lot of cat litter. Use as much cat litter as you need to soak up excess gasoline and reduce the smell in the air.
Sweep up the cat litter and seal it in a bag or container to be safe. Check your local laws to see if there are regulations about disposing of cat litter and or gasoline before you throw it away. Open your garage door to air out your garage and it should smell like it did before after an hour or two.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda are the two most useful household items to remove the smell of gasoline from your home. Simply mix equal parts hot water, vinegar, and baking soda, and wash the area of the gasoline spill. It is ideal to mop and soak up the gasoline before you use the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
Gasoline odors can persist even after you soak it up, but the vinegar and baking soda can absorb and remove the remaining smell. You may need to clean the area with the mixture multiple times before the odor disappears completely. Adjust your mixture based on the surface that you clean because absorbent materials may take longer to clean.
Mix the vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle if the gasoline spilled over a large area. Otherwise, you can make the mixture in a bucket and soak a rag or mop to clean the gasoline spill. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes after you scrub the gasoline spill before you wash it away to eliminate the odor.
Prevent Gasoline Smell in Garage
It can be annoying and intimidating when there is a gasoline smell in your house or garage. Removing a gasoline odor can take time and resources, so it’s best to avoid it in the first place. Let’s take a look at the best way to prevent a gasoline smell in your house and garage.
Don’t Use Machinery in Garage
Whether it’s a hedge trimmer, chainsaw, or lawnmower, don’t start it in your garage if you want to prevent a gasoline smell. These tools run on gasoline and often produce a stronger odor than your car does when you start them. It may be tempting, but you can make your whole house smell like gasoline if you start a lawnmower in the garage.
The same thing can happen if you store power tools or heavy machinery in the garage right after you use them. Air out your machinery that takes fuel after you use it to minimize the gasoline odor in your garage and house. You should still start your car in your garage, but try not to run it for too long in your garage or your home may smell like gasoline.
Never skimp on ventilation in your garage or home, especially if there is a gasoline smell in your house is common. A poorly ventilated garage can make the space warmer and can make gasoline smells linger in the space. Sub-par ventilation can also create a fire hazard in your garage if noxious fumes accumulate and linger for too long.
Don’t store gasoline cans in your garage if it is poorly ventilated. Keep your gasoline in a shed outside if you cannot add better ventilation to your home yet. You can add a vent to a garage wall for as little as $400 in some cases, but a full ventilation system can cost up to $6,000.
Summing It Up
Nearby fuel spills can make your home smell like gasoline, and you can also smell it if you live near a gas station. Otherwise, gasoline smells generally spread through your home if there is a gasoline spill or leak in your garage. Make sure that you seal all of your gas cans or your home may smell like gasoline.
Add ventilation to your garage and improve the insulation between your house and garage to reduce the gasoline odor. Mop up spilled gasoline and soak up the remainder with cat litter to absorb it and remove the smell. Never start heavy machinery or lawnmowers in your garage or your house will smell like gasoline.
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