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Rear venting into screened porch


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As long as the vertical distance to the ceiling/roof of the porch is in compliance with the manufacturer's clearance requirements for the outlet, and the distances from windows and doors is in compliance with applicable codes - absolutely nothing.

One would think that common sense should prevail but what's common sense to one fellow is idiotic to another. That's why there are published rules.

One can argue that someone is more liable to be burned by the outlet or someone is more liable to place a flammable object next to it, thereby increasing risk of fire, when it's inside a screened porch. But, since these things are usually within reach of anyone, including kids, and since people will store property next to them regardless of whether they are inside or outside, that's not a very strong argument.

You'll lose the argument on the basis of possible CO poisoning if it's a screened porch. After all, when it's cold enough for the fireplace to be used, there's nobody out there on the porch anyway and the amount of air dilution eliminates the threat anyway. The only time that argument will hold is if it's turned into a 3-season porch and the owner closes it off in wintertime with window panels.

Naturally you're concerned about safety - that's one of the things we do - but some issues, like this one, can be over-thought and will make it look like you're grasping at straws to make a case about something in order to inflate your own importance.

You want to be perceived as a building systems expert - not as a kook or a Chicken Little who makes calls based on folklore, poor information or illogical thinking.

Be careful how you pick your battles.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

You want to be perceived as a building systems expert - not as a kook or a Chicken Little who makes calls based on folklore, poor information or illogical thinking.

Be careful how you pick your battles.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Worth repeating... excellent advice.

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Originally posted by hausdok

As long as the vertical distance to the ceiling/roof of the porch is in compliance with the manufacturer's clearance requirements for the outlet, and the distances from windows and doors is in compliance with applicable codes - absolutely nothing.

Well, I wouldn't say "absolutely nothing." Maybe more like, "it meets the legal minimum standard but is, frankly, pretty damn stupid." The code and the installation instructions can't address *every* stupid thing someone might do.

One would think that common sense should prevail but what's common sense to one fellow is idiotic to another. That's why there are published rules.

On the other hand, one could argue that a homebuyer hires a home inspector to provide insights above and beyond the playbook.

One can argue that someone is more liable to be burned by the outlet or someone is more liable to place a flammable object next to it, thereby increasing risk of fire, when it's inside a screened porch. But, since these things are usually within reach of anyone, including kids, and since people will store property next to them regardless of whether they are inside or outside, that's not a very strong argument.

Oh, I'm not so sure. People treat their screened porches very differently than they treat their side yards. There's a very real risk that people will be more likely to abuse the vent termination if it's inside a porch.

You'll lose the argument on the basis of possible CO poisoning if it's a screened porch. After all, when it's cold enough for the fireplace to be used, there's nobody out there on the porch anyway and the amount of air dilution eliminates the threat anyway. The only time that argument will hold is if it's turned into a 3-season porch and the owner closes it off in wintertime with window panels.

How about when smokers go out there for a fix in the winter. I've seen lots of houses where the screened porch was the designated "smoker's porch." Seeing as smokers are already at a heightened risk of CO poisoning, that could be a very unhealthy arrangement.

Naturally you're concerned about safety - that's one of the things we do - but some issues, like this one, can be over-thought and will make it look like you're grasping at straws to make a case about something in order to inflate your own importance.

Oh, cheap shot.

You want to be perceived as a building systems expert - not as a kook or a Chicken Little who makes calls based on folklore, poor information or illogical thinking.

Frankly, I'd say this one's more important than an improper double tap or a missing anti-tip bracket. It might not be as cut & dry as Benchmark thought it was, but it's certainly not kooky.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Jim,

Always like to hear your sage advice. I agree, it's a bone-headed thing to do and I agree that there is an expectation that home inspectors should go above and beyond the playbook. I agree with that expectation and I go beyond it every single day. However, boneheaded or not, this isn't something that I'd personally go to battle over. I'd simply tell the client that I thought it was a dumb installation, make him/her understand that with that vent there he/she can never close the porch in for wintertime use and then I'd move on.

Here's the bottom line with me as regards these things. Screens pass air and screened porches are, well, porches. They're outside. Unless they're putting up windows and closing the porch in, the vent is still "outside" and is being diluted more than the family gas range that's boiling the water in mom's kitchen. Whether it's under a roof or not, smoker or not, I think you could stand next to one of these all day long outside or on a screened porch or deck and still not accumulate enough CO in your system to do you any harm.

Lastly, I'm not taking cheap shots at Mark or saying that he's a kook. I'm just imagining how writing something like this could be perceived and whether one would be doing his/her client any good by writing it or would end up making the client look like he/she's being unreasonable and "out there" by demanding correction.

I'm perfectly happy to write up stuff which seems stupid and knit picky, and be perceived as a kook or be accused of trying to justify my existence, when I have some solid argument against the thing that I've branded as being a deficiency, but I'm not willing to get pulled into an imbroglio over stuff where I don't have that solid argument and my only justification is to say that it's a dumb thing to do.

Then again, maybe that's just me being me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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