Garage storm shelters are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners, especially those who live in areas that are prone to severe weather conditions. However, as with any home improvement project, there are potential problems that homeowners may encounter during and after installation. Troubleshooting these problems can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, homeowners can ensure that their storm shelters are safe and functional.
One of the most common problems with garage storm shelters is water leakage. This can occur if the shelter is not properly sealed or if there are cracks in the concrete walls or floor. Water leakage can not only damage the shelter but also put the occupants at risk. Another common problem is poor ventilation, which can cause the air inside the shelter to become stale and stuffy. This can be especially dangerous if the occupants are in the shelter for an extended period of time.
Other problems that homeowners may encounter with their garage storm shelters include inadequate lighting, difficulty opening and closing the shelter door, and inadequate space for occupants and supplies. Troubleshooting these problems requires a thorough understanding of the shelter’s design and construction, as well as knowledge of best practices for storm shelter installation and maintenance. With the right information and resources, homeowners can ensure that their garage storm shelters are safe and effective in protecting them from severe weather conditions.
Common Garage Storm Shelter Problems
Lack of Ventilation
One of the most common problems with garage storm shelters is a lack of ventilation. Without proper ventilation, the air inside the shelter can become stale and stuffy, which can lead to discomfort and even health problems. It’s important to ensure that your storm shelter has adequate ventilation to keep the air fresh and circulating.
Another common problem with garage storm shelters is water damage. If your shelter is not properly sealed or if there is poor drainage around your garage, water can seep into your shelter and cause damage to your belongings or even compromise the structural integrity of the shelter itself. It’s important to inspect your shelter regularly for signs of water damage and to address any issues as soon as possible.
Poor drainage can also be a problem for garage storm shelters. If water is not able to drain away from your garage properly, it can collect around your shelter and cause flooding or other water-related issues. It’s important to ensure that your garage has proper drainage and to address any issues as soon as they arise.
Inadequate lighting is another common problem with garage storm shelters. If your shelter is not properly lit, it can be difficult to navigate and find the items you need in an emergency situation. It’s important to ensure that your shelter has adequate lighting and to test it regularly to ensure that it is in good working order.
Garage storm shelters are designed to keep you and your family safe during severe weather conditions. However, like any other structure, they can develop problems over time. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you maintain your garage storm shelter:
Check for Leaks
One of the most common problems with garage storm shelters is leaks. Water can seep into the shelter through cracks or gaps, making it uncomfortable and even dangerous to use. To check for leaks, inspect the shelter after a heavy rain or flood. Look for signs of water damage, such as mold, mildew, or rust. If you find any leaks, seal them with a waterproof sealant or call a professional to fix them.
Clean the Shelter Regularly
Another common problem with garage storm shelters is dirt and debris buildup. Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate in the shelter, making it difficult to breathe and increasing the risk of respiratory problems. To prevent this, clean the shelter regularly using a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth. Make sure to remove any debris that may have accumulated in the ventilation ducts as well.
Install Proper Drainage System
Garage storm shelters should have proper drainage systems to prevent flooding. If your shelter is prone to flooding, consider installing a sump pump or a drainage system to remove excess water. Make sure that the drainage system is properly installed and maintained to prevent clogging and other problems.
Add Ventilation Ducts
Ventilation is crucial in garage storm shelters to prevent suffocation and other respiratory problems. If your shelter does not have proper ventilation, consider adding ventilation ducts. Make sure that the ducts are properly installed and maintained to prevent clogging and other problems.
Maintenance and Repairs
Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to keep your garage storm shelter in top condition. Here are some tips:
Inspect the Shelter Periodically
Check your shelter periodically for any signs of damage, such as cracks, rust, or leaks. Make sure that the door opens and closes smoothly, and that the locking mechanism works properly. Inspect the ventilation system to ensure that it is functioning correctly. Check for any debris or obstructions that may prevent the shelter from opening or closing properly.
Repair Any Damage Immediately
If you notice any damage during your inspection, repair it immediately. Small cracks or holes can quickly become larger if left untreated, and rust can spread rapidly. Use a high-quality sealant to repair any cracks or holes, and sand the area around the repair to ensure a smooth surface. If you notice any leaks, repair them as soon as possible to prevent water damage.
Replace Worn-Out Parts
If any parts of your shelter are worn out or damaged beyond repair, replace them promptly. This includes door seals, locking mechanisms, and ventilation systems. Use high-quality replacement parts to ensure that your shelter functions properly and provides maximum protection. Keep a supply of spare parts on hand in case of emergencies.
Maintaining and repairing your garage storm shelter is essential to ensure that it provides the protection you need in the event of a storm or other emergency. By following these simple tips, you can keep your shelter in top condition and ensure that it is ready when you need it.
Can a Tornado Pull a Shelter Out of the Ground?
One of the biggest concerns for homeowners when it comes to storm shelters is whether or not they will be able to withstand the force of a tornado. Specifically, many people wonder if a tornado can pull a shelter out of the ground. The answer to this question is not a simple one, as it depends on a variety of factors.
First and foremost, it is important to note that a properly installed and anchored storm shelter should not be pulled out of the ground by a tornado. However, there are some situations where a shelter may become dislodged or damaged during a severe storm.
One of the most common reasons for storm shelters to fail during a tornado is due to poor installation or anchoring. If a shelter is not properly secured to the ground, it may be more likely to shift or move during a storm. Additionally, if the shelter is not installed at an appropriate depth, it may not be able to withstand the force of the wind.
Another factor to consider is the strength of the tornado itself. If a tornado is particularly strong, it may be able to uproot trees or even move entire buildings. In these cases, it is possible that a storm shelter could be pulled out of the ground. However, it is important to note that these situations are relatively rare and most shelters should be able to withstand the force of a typical tornado.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure that a storm shelter will not be pulled out of the ground during a tornado is to have it installed by a professional and to follow all manufacturer guidelines for anchoring and installation. Homeowners should also make sure to regularly inspect their shelter for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garage Storm Shelter
Garage storm shelters are a great investment for those who live in areas prone to tornadoes. However, one issue that homeowners often face is keeping bugs out of their storm shelters. Here are some tips to help keep your storm shelter bug-free:
Seal all entry points: Bugs can enter through even the smallest gaps or cracks, so it’s essential to seal all entry points. Use weather stripping to seal the door and caulk to fill any gaps or cracks in the walls or ceiling. Make sure to check for any new entry points regularly.
Use insect repellent: Treat the interior of your storm shelter with an insect repellent designed for indoor use. It’s essential to choose a product that is safe for humans and pets. Follow the instructions carefully and reapply as needed.
Keep the shelter clean: Regular cleaning can help prevent bugs from making a home in your storm shelter. Sweep or vacuum the floors, wipe down surfaces, and remove any debris or clutter. Make sure to dispose of any trash or food waste outside of the shelter.
Consider a dehumidifier: Bugs thrive in damp environments, so using a dehumidifier can help keep the air dry and less attractive to bugs. Make sure to choose a dehumidifier that is the right size for your shelter and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Call a professional: If you’re still having trouble with bugs in your storm shelter, consider calling a pest control professional. They can inspect your shelter and recommend the best course of action to eliminate any bugs and prevent future infestations. By following these tips, you can help keep your garage storm shelter bug-free and ready for use in case of a tornado.
How to Breathe in a Storm Shelter
When in a storm shelter, it is important to ensure that you have enough oxygen to breathe. While most storm shelters are designed to provide adequate ventilation, it is still important to take precautions to ensure that you are breathing properly. Here are some tips:
- Take slow, deep breaths to ensure that you are getting enough oxygen.
- Do not panic or hyperventilate, as this can lead to a shortage of oxygen.
- If you are in a large group, try to spread out as much as possible to avoid using up all the oxygen in one area.
- Make sure that the air vents are not blocked and are functioning properly.
- If you are in a below-ground shelter, be aware that carbon dioxide can build up over time. Consider opening the door periodically to let in fresh air.
It is also important to note that some storm shelters may have air filtration systems to protect against chemical or biological agents. If this is the case, be sure to follow any instructions provided by the shelter operator to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Do Shipping Containers Make Good Tornado Shelters?
Shipping containers have become a popular choice for storm shelters due to their inherent strength and economic availability. However, there are several factors to consider before using a shipping container as a tornado shelter.
Firstly, it is important to note that a shipping container is not specifically designed to withstand the high winds and debris associated with a tornado. While it may be made from steel and wind tested, it may not be as sturdy as a typical tornado shelter.
Additionally, the location of the shelter is crucial. If the shelter is above ground, it may be more vulnerable to damage from the tornado. On the other hand, an underground shelter made from a shipping container may be more secure, but it requires excavation work and additional reinforcement to ensure its stability. Another consideration is the ventilation and air supply inside the shelter.
A shipping container does not have natural ventilation, which can lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Proper ventilation and air supply must be installed to ensure the safety and comfort of those inside the shelter.
In conclusion, while shipping containers can make good tornado shelters, it is important to carefully consider all factors before using one. It is recommended to consult with a professional and follow all safety guidelines to ensure the shelter’s effectiveness in protecting against tornadoes.
Where is the Best Place to Put a Tornado Shelter?
When it comes to choosing the best location for a garage storm shelter, there are a few factors to consider. The first is accessibility. You want to make sure that the shelter is easily accessible to all members of the household, including those with mobility issues. A good location is one that is close to the main living area of the house and does not require navigating stairs or other obstacles.
The second factor to consider is the structural integrity of the location. The shelter should be installed in a location that is structurally sound and can withstand the force of a tornado. It is recommended to install the shelter in a corner of the garage, as this provides added protection from debris and wind.
Another important factor to consider is the size of the shelter. The shelter should be large enough to accommodate all members of the household, including any pets. It should also be equipped with emergency supplies such as food, water, and first aid kits.
Finally, it is important to consider the local building codes and regulations when choosing a location for the shelter. Some areas may have specific requirements for the installation of garage storm shelters, so it is important to do your research and ensure that you are in compliance with all local regulations.
Can You Get Trapped in a Storm Shelter?
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to storm shelters is the fear of getting trapped inside. While storm shelters are designed to protect individuals from severe weather conditions, there is always a risk of getting stuck inside if the shelter is not properly maintained or if there is damage to the shelter during a storm.
In-ground storm shelters, in particular, can be susceptible to debris falling on top of the door, making it difficult or impossible to open. This is why it is important to have a plan in place for exiting the shelter in case of an emergency.
One solution to this problem is to install a hydraulic jack system that can lift the door of the shelter if it becomes blocked by debris. It is also important to store a jack inside the shelter in case of an emergency. Another option is to install a pivoting emergency exit lid that can be activated with a handheld remote from inside the shelter.
It is also important to make sure that family and friends who live away from the shelter know its location and that you have a plan in place to contact them in case of an emergency. Additionally, it is important to check the condition of the shelter regularly and to make any necessary repairs or maintenance to ensure that it is functioning properly.
Overall, while there is always a risk of getting trapped in a storm shelter, taking the proper precautions and having a plan in place can help minimize this risk and ensure that individuals can safely exit the shelter in case of an emergency.
Why Do Storm Shelter Doors Open Outward?
One common feature of storm shelter doors is that they open outward. This is done to ensure that the door remains secure and intact during a storm. If the door were to open inward, the force of the wind could easily push it in, compromising the safety of those inside the shelter.
Another advantage of outward-swinging doors is that they provide full contact door-to-frame protection around the entire door perimeter when debris missiles impact the door. An inward swinging door is only as strong as the hinge and latch points holding it to the frame and they must absorb the entire impact.
ICC 500 requires manufacturers of storm shelter impact-protective systems, including door and shutter assemblies, to have their products rigorously tested and certified to ensure they will not fail in the event of a tornado or hurricane. The entire storm shelter door assembly must pass the required testing in the same configuration in which it will be installed. The door must also meet specific impact resistance requirements, including withstanding the impact of a 15-pound 2×4 board traveling at 100 mph.
How Much Weight Can a Storm Shelter Hold?
One of the most important considerations when it comes to installing a storm shelter in your garage is how much weight it can support. After all, you want to be sure that it will be able to withstand the full force of a severe storm or tornado.
The weight capacity of a storm shelter will depend on a number of factors, including the size and type of shelter, as well as the materials used in its construction. For example, a typical in-garage storm shelter may be able to support anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 pounds, depending on its size and construction.
It’s also important to note that the weight capacity of a storm shelter can be affected by a number of external factors, such as the condition of the garage floor or the amount of weight that is placed on top of the shelter. For this reason, it’s important to follow all manufacturer recommendations and guidelines when it comes to installation and use of your storm shelter.
Additionally, it’s important to have your storm shelter inspected regularly to ensure that it remains in good condition and is able to support the weight it was designed for. This can help to prevent any potential problems or issues that could arise during a storm or other emergency situation.
Overall, when it comes to installing a storm shelter in your garage, it’s important to choose a shelter that is not only the right size and type for your needs, but also one that is able to support the weight that will be placed on it. By taking the time to carefully consider all of these factors, you can help to ensure that your storm shelter will be able to provide you and your family with the protection you need when you need it most.
Will You Be Safe Out of the Storm If You Take Shelter in the Basement?
Basements are often touted as the safest place to be during a tornado, and for good reason. They are typically below ground level, which provides added protection against flying debris and strong winds. However, it’s important to note that not all basements are created equal when it comes to storm safety.
While a basement can provide some protection against weaker tornadoes, houses – and most buildings in general – aren’t designed to resist the most extreme wind speeds associated with tornadoes. According to experts, a basement is only truly safe if it has been specifically designed and reinforced to withstand the forces of a tornado.
If your basement is not a designated storm shelter, there are still steps you can take to increase your safety during a tornado. Make sure to:
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls
- Put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible
- Use a sturdy object like a mattress or table to protect yourself from falling debris
- Listen to weather reports and follow evacuation orders if necessary
It’s also important to note that basements can pose their own unique safety risks during a tornado. Beware of items in the basement that could become dangerous projectiles in high winds, such as appliances, tools, and furniture. Make sure to secure these items or move them to a safer location before the storm hits.
In summary, while a basement can provide some protection during a tornado, it’s important to take steps to ensure that it is a safe place to be during extreme weather. If you are unsure about the safety of your basement, consider investing in a designated storm shelter or seeking out alternative shelter options.
Why is a Bathtub Safe in a Tornado?
During a tornado, finding a safe place to take shelter is of utmost importance. While there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others. One of the safest places to take shelter during a tornado is a bathtub. Here are a few reasons why:
- Bathtubs are usually located in interior rooms of the house, which are less likely to be impacted by flying debris and high winds.
- The plumbing in a bathtub provides extra reinforcement, making it a sturdy structure that can withstand strong winds and debris.
- Bathtubs are often made of heavy materials like cast iron or porcelain, which can provide additional protection.
It’s important to note, however, that not all bathtubs are created equal when it comes to tornado safety. If your bathroom or bathtub is on an exterior-facing wall or has outside-facing windows, it may not be the safest place to take shelter during a tornado. It’s important to assess your home’s layout and identify the safest location for shelter during a tornado. In addition to bathtubs, other safe places to take shelter during a tornado include basements or interior rooms without windows on the lowest floor of the house. If possible, it’s best to avoid sheltering in any room with windows. For added protection, get under something sturdy like a heavy table or workbench. Overall, when it comes to tornado safety, it’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Knowing the safest places to take shelter and having emergency supplies on hand can make all the difference in protecting yourself and your family during a tornado.