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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.

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[#1] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 5:36:50 PM
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This was a first for me, so here I am for your assistance. Today while inspecting a duplex, both units had High efficiency natural gas furnaces, both approximately 8 years old. They were both installed in a bedroom closet! The only access was through the sliding mirrored doors and I even had to push the hanging clothes back from the front grill. Can someone point me in the right direction for the code on this? I am sure this install has safety issues written all over it.

Thank-you all.

Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."
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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#2] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 6:41:56 PM
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Hi,

If they are direct-vent type furnaces that have PVC intake and exhaust pipes, along with a sealed combustion chamber, they can be located in bedrooms per IRC 1701.4/UMC904.5. They'd still need to meet the minimum clearance requirements at the front back and sides, as defined by the manufacturer's instructions, but I don't see a safety issue as long as they do and all combustion air is coming from the outside and isn't being drawn from that room.

Of course, the clothes issue is dumb, although the front grill on a high efficiency furnace isn't functioning the same way that the front grill, which is an air intake grill on an ordinary furnace, functions. I'd advise the homeowner in writing to maintain proper clearance around the furnace, but, as long as everything else meets the requirements I wouldn't be concerned with it. Whether the homeowner will heed that advice and maintain the clearance is another issue altogether. You can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#3] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 6:52:43 PM
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Thank-you Mike. I was a little off base on this one, thanks for clearing it up for me.

Rob

Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."
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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#4] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 7:31:02 PM
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Your description sounds like the closets are clothes closets. I can find no code references which permit the installation of gas-fired heating appliances in bedroom clothes closets – for good reason. Clothes closets are used to store combustible materials.

Regarding the installation of central heating boilers, furnaces, and water heaters in closets that open directly off of bedrooms or bathrooms and which are specifically designed and intended only for enclosing such appliances, Section 9.3 of the “2002 National Fuel Gas Code” allows them to be installed in a closet inside a bedroom or bathroom where all combustion air is from the outdoors and the closet door has a self-closing device and is weather stripped.

Section 304.5 of the Uniform Mechanical Code states: "Fuel burning equipment shall not be installed in a closet, bathroom, or a room readily usable as a bedroom, or in a room, compartment or alcove opening directly into any of these."

While home inspectors typically aren’t hired or qualified to perform code compliance inspections, understanding codes helps inspectors understand the good and established practices which are part of the foundation of the life/safety building codes. Keep in mind that building codes also often defer to “listed” appliances, devices, and equipment as well as to manufacturer’s installation instructions with regard to installation, location, clearances, etc. However, home inspectors seldom have knowledge of or access to this information, let alone to information regarding which specific codes a given jurisdiction applies or what exceptions that jurisdictions makes to any code.

Therefore, if it’s your opinion, based on your knowledge, experience, and judgment as a professional home inspector, that the installation is not consistent with good and established practices regarding the installation/location of a gas-fired furnace, then you’re correct in stating so and recommending immediate additional evaluation by a qualified HVAC contractor.

It’s never ending; the more we know, the more we need to know.

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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#5] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 7:45:45 PM
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Quote:Originally posted by housewhisperer

Your description sounds like the closets are clothes closets. I can find no code references which permit the installation of gas-fired heating appliances in bedroom clothes closets – for good reason. Clothes closets are used to store combustible materials.

Regarding the installation of central heating boilers, furnaces, and water heaters in closets that open directly off of bedrooms or bathrooms and which are specifically designed and intended only for enclosing such appliances, Section 9.3 of the “2002 National Fuel Gas Code” allows them to be installed in a closet inside a bedroom or bathroom where all combustion air is from the outdoors and the closet door has a self-closing device and is weather stripped.

Section 304.5 of the Uniform Mechanical Code states: "Fuel burning equipment shall not be installed in a closet, bathroom, or a room readily usable as a bedroom, or in a room, compartment or alcove opening directly into any of these."
I think if you go back and read a little more, you're going to find an exception to the rule for direct-vent appliances.

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M.

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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#6] Posted: 12/28/2006 - 8:22:57 PM
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Mike,

You're correct - direct vent or electric are permitted IRC G2406.2 (303.3) and UMC 904.5. My particular jurisdiction, bing the overly cautious jurisdiction that it is, still won't permit any gas-fired appliances in clothes closet citing issues regarding maintaining working clearances. But then, they also still require FVIR water heaters to be raised 18" or more above a garage floor even though the NFGC approves them for placement directly on a garage floor. Thanks for the correction. They permit gas fireplaces in bedrooms as well. Go figure. Having experienced CO poisoning once, I wouldn't live in a home that had any gas-fired appliance, direct vent or otherwise, in a sleeping room or in any enclosure that opened directly into a sleeping room. But that's just me. I'd keep that opinion to myself if I were performing an inspection. However, I might suggest that my client consider installing a top quality CO detector such as a CO-Experts Model 2004 Low Level Carbon Monoxide "Health" Monitor alarm in the bedroom.

Kevin

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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#7] Posted: 12/20/2008 - 5:11:27 PM
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Hi new to group. I was wondering I want to rent out half of my basement and there is a furnace and water heater in it. Not sure if I have a direct vent type furnace and if is safe in bedroom. I can build enclosure around it? Next to this room is another room same size 10'x24'. I have pictures of furnace and can take more. Im just not sure if I can build something around furnace to make my new friend safe if we can move her in.


Quote: Originally posted by hausdok

Hi,

If they are direct-vent type furnaces that have PVC intake and exhaust pipes, along with a sealed combustion chamber, they can be located in bedrooms per IRC 1701.4/UMC904.5. They'd still need to meet the minimum clearance requirements at the front back and sides, as defined by the manufacturer's instructions, but I don't see a safety issue as long as they do and all combustion air is coming from the outside and isn't being drawn from that room.

Of course, the clothes issue is dumb, although the front grill on a high efficiency furnace isn't functioning the same way that the front grill, which is an air intake grill on an ordinary furnace, functions. I'd advise the homeowner in writing to maintain proper clearance around the furnace, but, as long as everything else meets the requirements I wouldn't be concerned with it. Whether the homeowner will heed that advice and maintain the clearance is another issue altogether. You can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

longbeach, ca
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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#8] Posted: 12/20/2008 - 5:21:56 PM
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I may have already posted this new to Forums: sorry if this is repost.

Notice you were talking about furnace and waterheaters in bedrooms i have a question, I was wondering I want to rent out half of my basement and there is a furnace and water heater in it. Not sure if it direct vent type furnace and if is safe in bedroom. I can build enclosure around it? Next to this room is another room same size 10'x24'. I have pictures of furnace and can take more. Im just not sure if I can build something around furnace to make my new friend safe if we can move her in. I have pics

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Kenmore, WA
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Natural gas furnace in bedroom closet.
[#9] Posted: 12/20/2008 - 11:52:23 PM
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Hi,

Even if it isn't a direct vent furnace, it's possible to convert the basement space to living quarters by building an enclosure around the equipment but you'll have to isolate it from the basement and it will need to have a source of fresh air for combustion.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

   
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