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  1. #1
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    Default Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Brand new high-rise residential building in downtown Chicago. The through-wall combined packaged HVAC unit has a 36,000 btu furnace that vents directly onto a small (9' x 4') balcony. The furnace vent is at the bottom of the open grille visible in the attached photo. The edge of the awning window is less than a foot away from the open end of the furnace vent pipe. According to my reading of the IRC, there is a reduction in required clearances on gas appliances under 50,000 btu's but I don't think that applies to windows, only to intake grilles and the like. I find it really difficult to believe that this installation was allowed by the local code authority or that it complies with NFGC Z223.1 as the manufacturer requires. Any help in locating chapter and verse on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

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    Dan Cullen
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Sorry, forgot the photo....been a while since I posted.

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    Dan Cullen
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    Brand new high-rise residential building in downtown Chicago. The through-wall combined packaged HVAC unit has a 36,000 btu furnace that vents directly onto a small (9' x 4') balcony. The furnace vent is at the bottom of the open grille visible in the attached photo. The edge of the awning window is less than a foot away from the open end of the furnace vent pipe. According to my reading of the IRC, there is a reduction in required clearances on gas appliances under 50,000 btu's but I don't think that applies to windows, only to intake grilles and the like. I find it really difficult to believe that this installation was allowed by the local code authority or that it complies with NFGC Z223.1 as the manufacturer requires. Any help in locating chapter and verse on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
    Are you so sure you would be consulting the IRC for this high-rise residential building? (Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...)


  4. #4
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    G2427.8 (503.8) Venting system termination location.
    The location of venting system terminations shall comply with the following (see Appendix C):
    3. The vent terminal of a direct-vent appliance with an input of 10,000 Btu per hour (3 kW) or less shall be located at least 6 inches (152 mm) from any air opening into a building, and such an appliance with an input over 10,000 Btu per hour (3 kW) but not over 50,000 Btu per hour (14.7 kW) shall be installed with a 9-inch (230 mm) vent termination clearance, and an appliance with an input over 50,000 Btu/h (14.7 kw) shall have at least a 12-inch (305 mm) vent termination clearance. The bot-tom of the vent terminal and the air intake shall be located at least 12 inches (305 mm) above grade.

    G2427.3.3 (503.3.3) Mechanical draft systems.
    Mechanical draft systems shall comply with the following:
    6. The exit terminals of mechanical draft systems shall be not less than 7 feet (2134 mm) above grade where located adjacent to public walkways and shall be located as specified in Section G2427.8, Items 1 and 2.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    Brand new high-rise residential building in downtown Chicago.
    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Are you so sure you would be consulting the IRC for this high-rise residential building? (Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...)
    H.G.,

    Agreed.

    Dan is looking in the wrong book. And probably for more than just the obvious reason.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Jerry and H.G.....thanks for your responses. But what did you add to the discussion? Why does that make you go hmmmmm? I didn't quote it in my report; I didn't say that it proved the installation was wrong; I just referenced it. BFD!

    Thanks for nothing. Maybe someone who really likes helping inspectors will pick up the thread. Someone like Bob H.

    Jerry.....it's so obvious why so many people dislike you.

    Dan Cullen
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  7. #7
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Are you so sure you would be consulting the IRC for this high-rise residential building? (Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...)

    It's a residence regardless of them being stacked. The IRC is a cumulation of the NEC, Uniform Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, and Building Planning and Construction. There is no separate 'hi-rise' codes.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schirmer View Post
    Are you so sure you would be consulting the IRC for this high-rise residential building? (Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...)

    It's a residence regardless of them being stacked. The IRC is a cumulation of the NEC, Uniform Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, and Building Planning and Construction. There is no separate 'hi-rise' codes.
    Spoken like someone who doesn't get it! So No, not quite, you're wrong on which plumbing code so NO, partially, and not quite.

    Now...being specific original post location is in Chicago, so Definately No, so what, definately wrong, uniquely out of the ball park, and absolutely positively so wrong.

    Now getting to what the OP posits, represents and pictures; wrong, not what is pictured, not what is represented, and not so gullible to fall for the misrepresentation.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    But what did you add to the discussion? Why does that make you go hmmmmm? I didn't quote it in my report; I didn't say that it proved the installation was wrong; I just referenced it. BFD!
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schirmer View Post
    Are you so sure you would be consulting the IRC for this high-rise residential building? (Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...)

    It's a residence regardless of them being stacked. The IRC is a cumulation of the NEC, Uniform Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, and Building Planning and Construction. There is no separate 'hi-rise' codes.
    Seems both of you are cut from the same cloth - not understanding what code is applicable to what, and then applying a non-applicable code to the wrong thing.

    Dan,

    Your lack of knowledge only seems secondary to your willingness to disparage others.

    The IRC is not applicable to "It's a residence regardless of them being stacked.", the IRC is ONLY applicable to:
    - One & Two Family Dwellings
    - Townhouses (you may need to look up the definition of Townhouses?)

    (bold is mine)
    - R101.2 Scope. The provisions of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-family Dwellings shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, removal and demolition of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories above-grade in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures.

    Dan, the reason why it matters, even though you did not put it in your report, is that ... "I just referenced it."

    That would be like me saying I did not exceed the speed limit posted in Montana while I was driving in Florida, and therefore the nice policeman is not allowed to give me a ticket.

    Sorry, but the speed limit in Montana is not applicable to the discussion of driving in Florida, neither is the IRC to condos.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  10. #10
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    I'm extremely too busy with business to banter, puff out chests, and display tail feathers. If this is supposed to be a knowledge base where people in the business help each other, then perhaps one should respond on what's right rather than point out how everyone else is wrong. If everyone is looking at the wrong book, then anyone who knows should propose what the correct reference is rather than criticize. Tell me I'm looking for the wrong reference, but nobody's said what the right reference is. I'm alway up for learning something new, however don't prefer after 15 years as a licensed building inspector being told I don't have a clue.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schirmer View Post
    If this is supposed to be a knowledge base where people in the business help each other, then perhaps one should respond on what's right rather than point out how everyone else is wrong.
    Let me understand what you are saying: This is a knowledge place (it is) and we are supposed to agree with you when you are correct, but not disagree with you when you are incorrect?

    What kind of knowledge does that impart?

    If you are looking for a place to come to get yes answers to agree with you when you are right, and no comment when you are wrong, then I do believe you have come to the wrong place ... this IS a "knowledge place", and what you are expecting (it seems from your post) is a "non-knowledge place of yes men".

    Sorry, but you struck out there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Read what I wrote Jerry. I said if someone is wrong, respond with what is right. I don't think in this entire thread anyone learned how the exhaust venting should be in a Chicago hi-rise - even if it were wrong, or where to look for reference for Chicago hi-rise condos. Nobody learned anything. The only thing I learned is to not put in my 2 cents on a Chicago posting, when it's illegal to have buildings in Vermont exceeding 8 floors. And I apologize for that...

    Pretty soon no one will respond to anything.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Thanks for the back-up Michael. It is a shame that we can't display the collegiality and brotherhood under which this forum was originated.

    Jerry, you are extremely knowledgeable and a real asset WHEN you choose to engage in a nice way. Much of the time you just waste everyone's time and are corrosive to the board.

    Dan

    Dan Cullen
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    Much of the time you just waste everyone's time and are corrosive to the board.

    Only when needed to be, Dan.

    Such as when you post your comments of the same type.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Markus Keller typically has these answers for Chicago. give him a shout, ya'll.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    blah blah blah man you all reallly like to argue


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    The original post ended with; "Any help in locating chapter and verse on this issue would be greatly appreciated." I don't see anything unreasonable in that request for help. I also don't see where anyone has offered the correct chapter and verse that I thought was requested very nicely. What I am seeing is a lot of needless nit-picking and "gotcha" comments that really are not needed, that detract from the favorable impression this forum should impart on a visitor, and finally gets to be rather tiresome. Would one of you supposedly more knowledgeable people please quit the endless baiting and bickering, and just provide the chapter and verse that was requested - if you are capable of either. That would indeed be a teachable moment.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Well said Mr. Chambers, well said.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Cullen View Post
    The through-wall combined packaged HVAC unit has a 36,000 btu furnace that vents directly onto a small (9' x 4') balcony. The furnace vent is at the bottom of the open grille visible in the attached photo. The edge of the awning window is less than a foot away from the open end of the furnace vent pipe.
    No it isn't.


  20. #20
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    Angry Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    "blah blah blah man you all reallly like to argue[/quote]" I agree - just make a statment as to what the requirements are with out all the BS.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Pike View Post
    "blah blah blah man you all reallly like to argue
    " I agree - just make a statment as to what the requirements are with out all the BS.[/quote]
    exactly thank you.... its so much harder and takes so much longer to learn what youre looking for when u have to sift through all the BS


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    No it isn't.
    What does that refer to H.G.? Are we to guess? Is it directed at my comment to Mr. Chambers?

    Again, we are back at the playground. I am a relatively young inspector who certainly has plenty to learn from most of you on this board. But if this is the type of confrontational schoolyard banter that seems to take place more often than not between several high profile members than what's the point? We have a finite amount of time of this ball of mud and rock, let's try and be productive with it and SUPPORT one another.

    Ross


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Neag View Post
    What does that refer to H.G.? Are we to guess? Is it directed at my comment to Mr. Chambers?

    Again, we are back at the playground. I am a relatively young inspector who certainly has plenty to learn from most of you on this board. But if this is the type of confrontational schoolyard banter that seems to take place more often than not between several high profile members than what's the point? We have a finite amount of time of this ball of mud and rock, let's try and be productive with it and SUPPORT one another.

    Ross
    Well said Mr. Neag, well said!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    You guys need to toughen up. Nothing is free in this world so a little ribbing or banter won't hurt ya!

    Just because they are a little tough on you you shouldn't bitch at the person who is going to supply the information you want. And if I was them I wouldn't give ya jack.

    10,000 on this board and only two where going to help ya out but I think they are just going to keep it to themselves now.

    Now quit whining and ask Mr. HG or Mr. Peck if they would elaborate on there statements without questioning there methods of giving it to you.

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    International Mechanical Code. 804.2.1 Terminal clearances.
    Appliances designed for natural draft venting and incorporating intregal venting means shall be located so that a minimum clearance of 9 inches is maintained between vent terminals and from any openings through which combustion products enter the building. Appliances using forced draft venting shall be located so that a minimum clearance of 12 inches is maintained between vent terminals and from any opening through which combustion products enter the building.

    I don't know if this helps, but it's a good starting point. If the jurisdiction where this building is located has'nt adopted the IMC then the AHJ, and the engineer signed off on it.

    That building would fall under the IBC, R-2 use and occupancy.


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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Neag View Post
    What does that refer to H.G.?
    Ross
    It refered to what I quoted that was immediately above my comment and contained within my post.

    Just as you quoted me and then made comment/asked a question about.

    You obviously know how it works, you've done the same here.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    ........................ And if I was them I wouldn't give ya jack. ............................
    Then you're part of the problem as well!

    What is this, some kind of testosterone test? Toughness, or a lack thereof has nothing to do with it, and shouldn't be a factor. And, the question has already been asked, repeatedly.

    Read back through the thread. Something that makes you go Hmmmmmmmm! is the fact that the only ones who have attempted, right or wrong, to offer an answer to the original request, are members who have less than 100 postings on this forum. Then take a good look at all of the comments on this thread from members who have several hundred postings or more.

    That by the way is not whining, it's just an observation.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    HG,

    I believe the awning window Dan is referring to is to the left of the hvac unit, not to the right. That may alone bring it within a foot provided we know where the exhaust termination is in the picture. Splitting hairs, I know. I still appreciate your help of my past Qs.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by robertarmacost View Post
    International Mechanical Code. 804.2.1 Terminal clearances.
    Appliances designed for natural draft venting and incorporating intregal venting means shall be located so that a minimum clearance of 9 inches is maintained between vent terminals and from any openings through which combustion products enter the building. Appliances using forced draft venting shall be located so that a minimum clearance of 12 inches is maintained between vent terminals and from any opening through which combustion products enter the building.

    I don't know if this helps, but it's a good starting point. If the jurisdiction where this building is located has'nt adopted the IMC then the AHJ, and the engineer signed off on it.

    That building would fall under the IBC, R-2 use and occupancy.
    I had a similar issue where a gas fireplace vent discharged at the bottom of an opening window. You could watch the steam vapor (when it first fired up) run directly in the window. I was shocked it was within the code and manufacturer's specs.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Neag View Post
    HG,

    I believe the awning window Dan is referring to is to the left of the hvac unit, not to the right. That may alone bring it within a foot provided we know where the exhaust termination is in the picture. Splitting hairs, I know. I still appreciate your help of my past Qs.
    gas vent termination? no I don't think so, not as the OP has represented.

    FYI Ross, the manufacturer's reference standard the OP mentioned is NFPA 54. Chicago codes/ordinances oft reference a late 90s edition.


  31. #31
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    Cool thread could have gone better

    Dan, sorry I'm just chiming in but I've been really swamped and I wanted to reflect on this one before posting.

    The answer to your original question lies in:
    -the product's listed instructions
    -applicable gas and mechanical codes, both State and local

    In hindsight, it probably would have helped to state up front which codes and stds. apply in this jurisdiction and what year versions. I have the 2009 IRC but Pa. has only adopted the 2006 version so far, for ex.

    As for which code applies: IRC vs. IBC, it is as Jerry quoted that since this is a high rise, the IBC would apply. That means you would also refer to the full IMC and IFGC or whatever separate mechanical and gas codes apply. For instance, Pa has adopted the entire 2006 ICC code suite with a few minor modifications. When dealing with SFD dwellings, twins and townhomes less than 4 stories, I refer to Ch. 24 of the IRC for gas issues----Not the full IFCG. Only those portions of the IFGC the ICC felt necessary for residential applications were included into the IRC so any requirements found in the fulll IFGC but not in Ch. 24 of the IRC would not apply to SFD homes, twins and townhomes.

    My 2006 versions of the IMC and IFGC are electronic and locked up after I replaced my hard drive. I haven't gotten around to calling them to unlock them so I cannot quote chapter and verse.

    Don't forget even if such an installation is found to meet all the requirements of the appliance listing, codes and stds. there are still other ways to call it out. If the building is under a lot of negative pressure such as lower floors of a high rise (stack effect) and it is recirculating gases and odors, call it out. The glazing mfr. may have a problem with the proximity of that flue gas discharge. In winter, it may frost everything up. Then again, if you REALLY wanted to bust their chops you could refer to that ASHRAE std. we discussed awhile back that calls for something like a 20 ft. clearance btw flue gas discharge and openings to the building. Bottom line is, codes or not, if it is a problem, it is a problem. You fail to warn of the ice issue, the homeowner walks out onto an ice rink and you get served with a failure to warn lawsuit. Perhaps the flue gases are deleterious to coatings on the glass or the glazing seals or aluminum extrusions. Perhaps a local adverse wind effect could cause the heat to focus on the wall rather than dissipating.

    To the rest of the forum, let's all remember why we're here. Everybody knows something about something and nobody knows everything about everything. If you feel someone is barking up the wrong tree, please don't speak cryptically but come right out with your point and above all, let's be nice. Everyone on this forum has had their own moments of humility, esp. me so let's show how to be magnanimous and courteous. I am not pointing fingers so chill.

    I have gotten in more trouble from written words than I can possibly tell you. There is something in the human psyche that tends to make normally sane people read things into peoples written words. Your mind plays tricks on you telling you someone is actually fishing with a hidden agenda or sending you a secret "up yours" type message, when really they weren't. We've all been victims of it and been the perpetrators, too. I find myself all the time biting my lip not lashing out and good thing. Re-reading text can feel like an out of body experience sometimes. You may feel like you're in a parallel uniiverse where it was in the OTHER universe moments ago when they wrote something entirely differently. Then again, sometimes its true because I prove almost daily I have a size 12-D mouth as my foot fits just fine. :-)

    Peace brothers. Dan, sorry I didn't have a more direct definitive answer.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    Now there's the kind of good information and approach that this forum is so very capable of. The last three postings have made my last posting incorrect, and I'm happy to be proven incorrect in my observations.


  33. #33
    Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Furnace Vent to Window Clearance

    As a new member of this blog, I am very surprised to find people practicing as inspectors who are unaware and untrained as displayed here. Jerry was correct. My view is that if you don't know when the IRC is applied, you should not be referencing it. If you don't know what the requirement is about venting thru-the-wall furnace air conditioning units. you shouldn't be inspecting them. If you don't know what code applies to a high rise, you shouldn't be there. Untrained people who don't know are why our E&O rates are so high. I really hope that everyone goes and gets trained and certified by the ICC, not by an internet inspector association who adds the word to your member title as long as you pay the annual fee. You really need to be at least a Residential Combination Inspector (R5). Not being properly trained is a dis-service to us all, customers and inspectors alike.


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