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  1. #1
    RobertSmith's Avatar
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    Default what does manufacturers say?

    Last edited by RobertSmith; 12-20-2007 at 12:50 PM.
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Several things come to mind, but the first is: What is the minimum required clearance to combustible material for that furnace?

    If the minimum required clearance is -0- inches, AND, it is allowed to set on a combustible floor, then that part is okay (but I doubt it is, in which case other aspects do not matter).

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Jerry, wouldn't the clearance be from the burner to the combustible material or am I wrong? The burner on that unit is in the upper half. At approximatley 16 inches.
    Not that I think much of the foam but as I live in a flood plain I have a certain amount of respect for floating systems. 555


  4. #4
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    When clearance to combustible material is stated, it is clearance from the cabinet, not from the burner.

    If that says 6" clearance sides and back, 12" top, and not on combustible floor, it means "from the cabinet sides, back, and top, and *do not set on combustible material*".

    Their tests were done with given clearances based on the heat produced and how hot the cabinet gets, irrespective of where the burner is located within the cabinet.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Robert,

    We inspect in the same area and I see this on dang near every new house built in the Austin Metro area that I inspect, and I inspect many new and 1 year old homes. Obviously the city building officials here do not care about the issue, otherwise not a single new house would get issued a C.O. I used to call it out on every inspection and got many calls from builders P.O.ed that I had called it out.

    I still note it if the install guide references certain clearances as Jerry said. I usually mention that even though it is common practice in the area, the manu. install guide says blah, blah, blah.

    Here is link to a previous thread about the issue.

    furnace on styrofoam blocks - Home Inspection & Home Inspector Services For Inspections and Inspectors

    Eric Shuman


  6. #6
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    Obviously the city building officials here do not care about the issue, otherwise not a single new house would get issued a C.O.
    Eric,

    "Obviously the city building officials here do not care", maybe they are not aware of it.

    I recommend you go to the building department, with whatever clearances the manufacturer states as being required, and do a 'show and ask' (that's like a 'show and tell', except that you are "asking" them about it - yeah right, you are really "telling them about it").

    You can say something like 'This is from the manufacturer, and here is the code which states that these must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers installation instructions ... I am asking for clarification from you on this ... should I see any combustible material within the clearance to combustible space shown here in the installation instructions?'

    When they answer 'No. There should not be any combustible material within that clearance to combustible material.', you ask another question "I also understand that any material not considered as "non-combustible" is considered to be "combustible", which would make foam packaging combustible, right?"

    When they answer 'Yes. Styrofoam and the like is a combustible material.", you ask another question "Is it allowed to place that combustible foam under the units?"

    You should be talking with the Building Official or the Chiefs for Building and Mechanical.

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

  7. #7
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Sure... we should all have so much time to run down there to 'ask BO', whats-up?

    Don't know bout you Eric, but I don't. I might make a phone call but that's as far as I'll take it. You might want to make note of it on the report (as you've been doing) and note that these kind of installs have been o.k.'d by the city building officials.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    Sure... we should all have so much time to run down there to 'ask BO', whats-up?
    We all SHOULD make that time. Get to know them, invite them to your local meetings as a speaker on their subject (electrical, building, plumbing, mechanical, roofing, etc.). YOU *and* THEM will both benefit from getting to know each other.

    and note that these kind of installs have been o.k.'d by the city building officials.
    I think you've missed the point - the city MAY NOT HAVE approved it, MAY NOT HAVE even looked at it.

    Remember, isn't it us, HIs, who are always saying 'Just because the house has a C.O. does not mean that EVERYTHING was inspected and approved, look at all these blatant code violations I've listed.', so, what's to make you think "it was" approved any more than those other blatant code violations?

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    " Remember, isn't it us, HIs, who are always saying 'Just because the house has a C.O. does not mean that EVERYTHING was inspected and approved, look at all these blatant code violations I've listed.', so, what's to make you think "it was" approved any more than those other blatant code violations?" - JP

    I do find blatant code inspections on quite a few new home inspections. Sometimes it's hard to understand how some things were missed and sometimes they are not as obvious.

    As far as the foam blocks go, the reason I believe the code inspectors don't take issue with them is that they are so prevalent. It's not just on one or two houses but on a very large majority (I'd say about 80%) of the new houses I inspect. If they are overlooking this issue then they must not be inspecting the mechanical equipment at all because they are right there in plain sight on nearly every new house.

    That being said, I am planning on calling the permit office and speaking with a B.O. about the issue. I will post what I find. I have called them on other issues that I was curious about and they have typically been helpful and friendly in answering questions.

    Eric


  10. #10
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    That being said, I am planning on calling the permit office and speaking with a B.O. about the issue. I will post what I find. I have called them on other issues that I was curious about and they have typically been helpful and friendly in answering questions.
    Precisely what I used to do (except that I would go to their offices and meet them and make personal contact, I found that worked better in the long run, then, a phone call and they could put a person and face to the name and inquiry), and what *I* think all HIs should be willing to do.

    To me, this was not just a way to make money, but a way to learn more, and what better way to learn more than to be able to take time and discuss things with the local building officials. I guess I treated my home inspections more as a hobby than a business, but it was a business.

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: what does manufacturers say?

    I would write that up as a problem just based on the fact the foam is not structural.
    "Guess they put that yellow flex line in for when the furnace tilts over".


  12. #12
    Don Matthews's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Let me first preface my remarks by saying, I DO NOT disagree with what has been posted about the probable inappropriate use of the styrofoam to support the units - particularly if it is in direct contravention of the manufacturer's installation instructions.

    However, that being said - I can see WHY the installers elevated the units on the styrofoam. Ever hear a unit come on when it is sitting directly on the subflooring? Sounds like a jet taking off!! I believe they probably put the blocks under the units as a sound dampener to prevent irate homeowners calling the office complaining about the noise when they were trying to get twenty winks the night before.

    Is this best practice? Probably not. Is it prevalent practice? Definitely! Are there better ways? Probably so, but not nearly as "cheap."


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    Thumbs down Re: what does manufacturers say?

    Then may be the code inspectors are not doing their jobs. Malfeasance?

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

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