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Insulation touching furnace exhaust vent


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I am relatively new to home inspections but I am pretty sure this is a problem and wondering how others would write this up?

There is insulation paper in contact with the HVAC combustion ventilation from the furnace, I know this paper is designed to be very ignition and combustion resistant but I am pretty sure there is a required clearance from the vent that applies to anything, however it looks as though it has been there for very long (50 year old home) and hasn't caught fire yet.

I wrote it up as potential Asbestos paper (that couldn't be confirmed without laboratory testing) that is breaking clearance requirements from the HVAC combustion vent and is a potential fire hazard.

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tn_201429202311_combustionVent.jpg

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So much as I respect Robert's judgement, I will say no that is not acceptable.

As usual, opinions will vary.

I would want to know why is it there?

Has it really been up against the vent pipe for 50 years, or is it there because somebody was too ignorant to give the pipe proper clearance? How about they install a metal shield with a 2" air gap?

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I see stuff like that in old dumps all the time. Asbestos paper used as a "fireshield" on ceilings, walls, or wherever.

Personally, I don't think it's a significant problem, but what I think personally isn't what matters. I'd still write it as "asbestos paper, get a guy, remove/encapsulate, inadequate clearance to combustibles once removed, etc., etc.".

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

As I was told many years ago, it's been there for quite some time and nothing has happened. Leave it be.

I can go along with that for many situations but not in this case. A combustible's ignition point can be lowered given time and exposure to high heat. Just because a lack of proper clearance has "worked" for 30 years doesn't mean it'll work for 31.

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  • 3 weeks later...

On a CAT I vent connector using single walled pipe, the clearance to combustibles is 6". This is a fire hazard. The fact it has not burned the house down yet just means they have been lucky. The combustibles will pyrolyze over time thus lowering their ignition temp.

That tee is hacked together and improperly supported. You also do not appear to have the listed firestop.

As an inspector, the Std. of Care would expect you to call out common hazards such as clearances to combustibles on HVAC venting. It is not an inspector's place to pass judgement on the veracity of a std. but simply whether the present conditions are suitable for habitation or do they present a hazard. Using the codes and stds, absolutely, this is a hazard and I'll bet a LOT more on an install like this. Any more pics?

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