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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Condominium furnace in common area

    It's common in here Chicago to encounter furnaces serving a condominium but installed in a dedicated utility closet "outside" the unit, typically accessed from a hallway and separated from the hallway by a door.

    Saw one today however where the furnace serving a ground floor unit is located in a basement common area that's also home to the the meter cabinets and gas meters.

    I'm not aware of any specific prohibition against doing this, but I was wondering since the furnace will inevitably be recirculating some air from the common area (for example through gaps between the filter and the filter housing at the return plenum), and I know that you can't cross-connect two furnaces serving two different condominium units in the same manner, if this location violates any code requirements.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,250

    Default Re: Condominium furnace in common area

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    It's common in here Chicago to encounter furnaces serving a condominium but installed in a dedicated utility closet "outside" the unit, typically accessed from a hallway and separated from the hallway by a door.
    That's common in Florida too.

    Return air must be taken from "inside the dwelling". Dilution air is permitted to be taken from "outdoors".

    I see the same problems you see with that, in addition I see potential combustion air problems, service problems, and other problems.

    That needs to have closet walls built around it with a similar sealed (weather stripped) door as you see at the hallways. The closet also needs to be fire-rated and enclosed to completely encase the ductwork.

    There is a large fire-hole going from that basement to the first floor unit with that duct work down there.

    The more I think about it and look at it, the more problems I think of with that installation ...

    From the 2006 IRC.
    M1602.1 Return air.
    Return air shall be taken from inside the
    dwelling. Dilution of return air with outdoor air shall be

    permitted.

    That duct work also goes above that electrical panel at the right edge of the photo ...

    I see a hole cut in the ceiling, creating another fire hole ...

    I told you, it just gets worse and worse ...


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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Condominium furnace in common area

    Construction class looks like 3B so a 90+ generally will only require 1/2 hour depending on occupancy class. The holes should be drywalled. Whether or not a closet needs to be built around the unit would be based on building unit #'s and whether or not that area of the basement is used for egress.
    As long as combustion air is from the outside and duct joints are taped, the City is unlikely to care about anything else.
    The primary issue to watch for on these is where the vent pipe exits. It can ESSENTIALLY no longer exit into the typical 3' gangway we have between buildings. It is possible to vent into the gangway BUT with our typical construction and distance requirements from doors and windows, it is ESSENTIALLY NOT possible to vent into the gangway anymore. Unless the gangway is wider or the vent is far enough from windows it should go to the front, back or up.
    Trap on the condensate, un-secured stat line, vinyl hose on the General, no pipe on tpr?

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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