Welding at home. Should I worry?
July 2, 2006 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Will putting a MIG welder in my garage make my house an insurance nightmare?

Also, I'm reaching out to anyone who does have a welding setup at home. What safety precautions do you have in place?
posted by jgee to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I don't recall being asked when applying for homeowners insurance what tools I had. Mine was for a condo, so perhaps there's an interview I don't know about if you have an actual house with a garage, but I was never asked about tools I own, so at least based on my experience I don't think you should be affected.

I do not do welding at home, but general safety precautions:
- Obvious, but have at least 1, if not 2 fire extinguishers handy
- Also obvious, but you're going to want to have flame retardant / fireproof walls
- You want a big, open workspace. Clutter is a likely first step leading to what ultimately causes a fire - too much stuff in the way of your work leading to carelessness or just straight up ignition of clutter that was in the way
posted by twiggy at 10:05 AM on July 2, 2006

The small, light duty systems like the Miller 135 are sorta intended for home users and hobbyists, but bigger units you might pickup second hand may seriously load your electrical service, to the point of being unsafe. Beyond that, you've got a duty to protect passerby from flash blinding, and sure, at a minimum you need to take the precautions against fire outlined by twiggy, above.

Presumably, you have or will take classes in MIG welding, and learn to set up and prepare projects for welding safely, and to use safe techniques for controlling sparks and spatter. In addition, you'll store your gas tanks safely, and have them inspected and serviced properly. That last bit may be the big problem with home insurance -- some master policies have limits and exclusions that get invoked if the premises contain pressure vessels, including pressurized gas tanks.
posted by paulsc at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2006

There may be a zoning issue. I have done some light welding at home without worrying about it, but I know a fellow who used to do a lot of welding at home and got some flack about it.

If you are going to weld in the garage with the door open, you will want to construct some screens so as not to subject passers-by to it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2006

I'd be real careful about sparks. I've set myself on fire a few times without knowing it while working in a booth (doing other processes), so I reckon that in a cluttered garage, there's lots more stuff to set on fire, and obviously, you won't notice it while you're welding. Maybe you could always weld with a buddy

I have a Millermatic 135 that I weld outside with. I don't think it would cause my home owner's insurance to have issues. I use argon (so I can't weld on windy days), but you could use flux core (on the 135) to avoid the super-high-pressure gas bottle issue.

The 135 has not done anything untoward electrically. Surely it can't suck more juice than your circuit breaker is rated to give it.
posted by popechunk at 9:15 PM on July 3, 2006

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