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  1. #1
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    Question Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    1st of all, I have not done this particular inspection yet. So I may not have answers to some of the questions.

    Scenario - House was built in 1986, from a picture it looks like the water heater is newer and looks to be about a 50 gallon, sitting next to the dryer. I am not able to see if it is on a stand but based on looking at other items I would say it is not.
    The room has 2 doors, the fire door going into the garage and another door going into the rest of the house. Now the room does not look to be the appropriate size of 50 CU per 1000 BTU, I will have to measure.

    My question is, being so close to the garage is it required to be on a stand (18" above) ?, or just the fact the fire door is self closing will it eliminate the need. ?

    2nd question, as I am sure the room is not big enough I would assume it would need a top and bottom vent installed (100 sq in) on the door into the living area.

    I can only assume it does not vent into the garage currently as that would be a major problem in itself.

    Any heads up before I do the inspection on 8/12/19 would be great.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    1st of all, I have not done this particular inspection yet. So I may not have answers to some of the questions.

    Scenario - House was built in 1986, from a picture it looks like the water heater is newer and looks to be about a 50 gallon, sitting next to the dryer. I am not able to see if it is on a stand but based on looking at other items I would say it is not.
    The room has 2 doors, the fire door going into the garage and another door going into the rest of the house. Now the room does not look to be the appropriate size of 50 CU per 1000 BTU, I will have to measure.

    My question is, being so close to the garage is it required to be on a stand (18" above) ?, or just the fact the fire door is self closing will it eliminate the need. ?
    Joe, that is an excellent question and I would have thought that the raised water heater requirement would only apply to the garage. However...

    2016 California Plumbing Code:
    507.13 Installation in Garages. Appliances in garages and in adjacent spaces that open to the garage and are not part of the living space of a dwelling unit shall be installed so that burners and burner-ignition devices are located not less than 18 inches (457 mm) above the floor unless listed as flammable vapor ignition resistant. [NFPA 54:9.1.10.11

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    2nd question, as I am sure the room is not big enough I would assume it would need a top and bottom vent installed (100 sq in) on the door into the living area.

    I can only assume it does not vent into the garage currently as that would be a major problem in itself.

    Any heads up before I do the inspection on 8/12/19 would be great.
    In addition, if there is no combustion air, the dryer might cause a pressure drop in the room, which could result in backdrafting of combustion exhaust gases.

    Also, I would like to add to the question, even though it is somewhat off-topic.

    According to the most recent Code Check Plumbing & Mechanical, 507.12 refers (in part) to installation of water heaters in basements. While I recognize that I could be wrong, I am having difficulty understanding how it can strictly apply since there is no way to verify if someone is going to use, handle, or dispense flammable vapors in a basement without actually seeing said materials.

    507.12 Flammable Vapors. Appliances shall not be installed in areas where the open use, handling, or dispensing of flammable liquids occurs, unless the design, operation, or installation reduces the potential of ignition of the flammable vapors. Appliances installed in accordance with Section 507.13, Section 507.14, or Section 507.15 shall be considered to be in accordance with the intent of this provision, [NFPA 54:9.1.9]

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Does the laundry room serve as a/the access from the garage to the 'living space'?

    If so, then I ask this: is that laundry room any different than any other 'hallway' in the living space, and it is therefore 'part of the living space'?

    I suspect that code section is addressing, for example, a closet off the garage which opens to the garage, could be a mechanical closet, a laundry room, etc, but does not also open to (is therfore "not part of") the living space.

    In which case (being part ot the living space), that water heater would not require a stand.

    Too many unkowns to contemplate combustion air options (there are usually more than just one option for combustion air, each based on what is, is not, there).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Does the laundry room serve as a/the access from the garage to the 'living space'?

    If so, then I ask this: is that laundry room any different than any other 'hallway' in the living space, and it is therefore 'part of the living space'?

    I suspect that code section is addressing, for example, a closet off the garage which opens to the garage, could be a mechanical closet, a laundry room, etc, but does not also open to (is therfore "not part of") the living space.

    In which case (being part ot the living space), that water heater would not require a stand.

    Too many unknowns to contemplate combustion air options (there are usually more than just one option for combustion air, each based on what is, is not, there).

    Jerry - As stated I am only working on a partial picture, I would consider the the laundry room as part of the living space the only time I do not is when it is outside or within the garage. One would think that if the fire-door does not have an auto-closure that the heater would be required to be on a stand.

    I realize many variables are still up in the air, but I wanted to get a feel for what I see so far.

    Thank you for your input.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Joe, that is an excellent question and I would have thought that the raised water heater requirement would only apply to the garage. However...

    2016 California Plumbing Code:
    507.13 Installation in Garages. Appliances in garages and in adjacent spaces that open to the garage and are not part of the living space of a dwelling unit shall be installed so that burners and burner-ignition devices are located not less than 18 inches (457 mm) above the floor unless listed as flammable vapor ignition resistant. [NFPA 54:9.1.10.11



    In addition, if there is no combustion air, the dryer might cause a pressure drop in the room, which could result in backdrafting of combustion exhaust gases.

    Also, I would like to add to the question, even though it is somewhat off-topic.

    According to the most recent Code Check Plumbing & Mechanical, 507.12 refers (in part) to installation of water heaters in basements. While I recognize that I could be wrong, I am having difficulty understanding how it can strictly apply since there is no way to verify if someone is going to use, handle, or dispense flammable vapors in a basement without actually seeing said materials.

    507.12 Flammable Vapors. Appliances shall not be installed in areas where the open use, handling, or dispensing of flammable liquids occurs, unless the design, operation, or installation reduces the potential of ignition of the flammable vapors. Appliances installed in accordance with Section 507.13, Section 507.14, or Section 507.15 shall be considered to be in accordance with the intent of this provision, [NFPA 54:9.1.9]
    Gunner -

    The house in question was built in 1986 and unless I can prove the water heater was installed after 2016 I have a hard time quoting or even mentioning current requirements to them.

    I just looked up the actual definition to Living space, and this area would not be considered, as I replied to Jerry as I thought it would be. (Learned something new) So with that said, it should be elevated.

    Thanks for your input and code information.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    One would think that if the fire-door does not have an auto-closure that the heater would be required to be on a stand.
    First, it is not a "fire door" (except in some places, the vast majority of places it is not).

    Second, it may or may not be required to have a closer.

    That said, though, if it is part of the living space, the door (for this purpose) does not matter.

    One could put a screen door there (exaggeration) and that would not affect the water heater, it would be the "door" which is not acceptable.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    I just looked up the actual definition to Living space, and this area would not be considered, as I replied to Jerry as I thought it would be. (Learned something new).
    What is the definition you found for "living space" and where is that definition?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    First, it is not a "fire door" (except in some places, the vast majority of places it is not).

    Second, it may or may not be required to have a closer.

    That said, though, if it is part of the living space, the door (for this purpose) does not matter.

    One could put a screen door there (exaggeration) and that would not affect the water heater, it would be the "door" which is not acceptable.

    - - - Updated - - -



    What is the definition you found for "living space" and where is that definition?
    Living space definition


    Living space or habitable area is defined ?space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilets compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space and similar areas are not considered habitable space?.

    Basically, I just search for it






  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Joe, that is an excellent question and I would have thought that the raised water heater requirement would only apply to the garage. However...

    2016 California Plumbing Code:
    507.13 Installation in Garages. Appliances in garages and in adjacent spaces that open to the garage and are not part of the living space of a dwelling unit shall be installed so that burners and burner-ignition devices are located not less than 18 inches (457 mm) above the floor unless listed as flammable vapor ignition resistant. [NFPA 54:9.1.10.11


    507.12 Flammable Vapors. Appliances shall not be installed in areas where the open use, handling, or dispensing of flammable liquids occurs, unless the design, operation, or installation reduces the potential of ignition of the flammable vapors. Appliances installed in accordance with Section 507.13, Section 507.14, or Section 507.15 shall be considered to be in accordance with the intent of this provision, [NFPA 54:9.1.9]

    With that said, and the use of the word APPLIANCE versus water heater, one would think that a clothes dryer would need to be elevated as well, as the burner-ignition device is less than 18" off the ground...hmmm

    - - - Updated - - -


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    Living space definition

    Living space or habitable area is defined ?space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilets compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space and similar areas are not considered habitable space?.

    Basically, I just search for it

    Joe,

    That's what I thought you were doing, but ... and this is a very important "but" ... there is no definition for "living space" unless you actually find one which states "Living space" followed by the definition for it.

    "Habitable space" is not the same as "living space" - the entire inside of the dwelling is "living space" ... bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, etc, and they are excluded from the definition of "habitable space".

    As such, once you 'enter the dwelling' you are in the living space, but you are only in "habitable space" when in specified areas of the living space which meet the "habitable space" definition.

    I have not yet found a code definition for "living space", even few, if any. codes define bedroom (I recall having seen the term "bedroom" used in some fire codes ... I think, but I don't know if the term was even defined in it, but I do not recall ever having seen 'bedrooms' defined in building codes) ... in the building codes a 'bedroom' is a "sleeping area".

    Like the difference between "living space" and "habitable space", there is a difference between a "bedroom" and a "sleeping area" and the terms are not interchangeable in use.

    Thus, unless the term "living space" is actually defined, that laundry room you described is part of the living space, but like closets, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, etc, it is not "habitable space" ... and the code section you referenced does not state "habitable space",, it says "living space" ... and there is a big difference between the two.

    Correct on "appliance" and "water heater"/"clothes dryer", that is why one needs to not use one term's definition as the definition for an undefined term.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Laundry Room Requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post
    Gunner -

    The house in question was built in 1986 and unless I can prove the water heater was installed after 2016 I have a hard time quoting or even mentioning current requirements to them.
    Joe,

    Fair enough. When I run into stuff like this that I am not sure about interpretation, I will generally state that it is my interpretation and recommend they get clarification from the local building department. That way, they are informed and can do what they like with that information.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

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