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  1. #1
    Sabrina Roper's Avatar
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    Default Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Hello to all,
    I'm new to the board and thought I may be able to get some information on a question please.

    Just made an offer on a home and owners accepted my offer.

    The home is in great condition, but, in the hallway of the house is the Central A/C Unit in a closet, AND, in this same closet is the brand new Gas Water Heater. They are side by side maybe a few inches between the 2 of them.

    Being the home will be purchased with an FHA Loan, of course there will be a FHA Inspector coming out to the home to inspect it. We also will have an additional Home Inspector to come out and inspect the house.

    I'm not to sure if the FHA Inspector will called on the A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater being in the same closet together, but I would think that the Home Inspector would? Yes? No?

    This has to be illegal right?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Sabrina

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Sabrina Roper; 09-05-2007 at 02:48 AM. Reason: add info
    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance 2

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Sabrina,

    Congratulation's on the purchase of your new home. As to your question of legality that
    would be beyond the scope of a Home Inspector. May I suggest asking the seller for copies of the permits for insulation of the brand new Hot water heater. Without seeing
    the installation area proper installation would be impossible to determine. As you have
    indicated another Home Inspector will come out please be patience. He works for your
    interest and can answer your questions and concerns.


    Billy


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabrina Roper View Post
    a FHA Inspector
    A word of caution - a typical FHA inspector is an appraiser, not an inspector, and, if there is actually an FHA *inspector*, they are looking out more for FHA than you. Basically, the FHA will want to know if something major is on the immediate horizon which might cause you to not be able to continue to afford the home.

    Such as a roof needing to be replaced right after you move in. FHA may want to know if the roof will 'last 5 years', which is really anyones guess, even new roofs fail because of poor installation, many FHA inspectors will say 'yes' to the 5 years if they can in anyway see that the roof 'might' make 5 years if ... if it does not rain. Other FHA inspectors, and there are some here, who will tell FHA the truth about a bad roof, meaning they will say it needs replacement. In many cases, there goes the deal.

    Getting back to your question though, if either (or both) appliances are direct vent (getting all combustion air from the outdoors), then there will be no problem having both there.

    As long as that closet is not used as a plenum, the return is ducted directly to the unit. Even then, though, *I* would not 'want' them in the same closet as things do leak, and *I* would not want combustion by-products to leak out and be drawn into the return air stream where they are then distributed throughout the house.

    From your limited information, we cannot address whether or not they are 'allowed' to be there together or not.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Sabrina, there is not much information to go on here but there is no rule against having a water heater installed in the same closet as a furnace.
    There might be issues that would create problems with this installation, but not much different than if the units were in seperate closets or a basement. This is a very common installation method that can be done safely if properly done.
    Good Luck

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    There might be issues that would create problems with this installation, but not much different than if the units were in seperate closets
    Jim,

    Return air location and if the closet is used as a plenum are just two of the "there might be issues that would create problems with this installation".

    It is done frequently, and I suspect that frequently there are problems which are found, and not found.

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

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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Jerry, we are on pretty much the same page here but approaching it from the glass is half empty vs half full theory, I think.
    A closet installation of a gas furnace always has a potential of mixing return air and combustion air if not done properly, right?
    If you now add a water heater, how have you changed the equation?
    It can still be done correctly or incorrectly.
    My point and the point of Sabrina's question was the ABILITY for proper installation of both components in a common closet. We all know any thing can be done wrong if you try hard enough.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Jerry, we are on pretty much the same page here but approaching it from the glass is half empty vs half full theory, I think.
    I think so.

    A closet installation of a gas furnace always has a potential of mixing return air and combustion air if not done properly, right?
    Right.

    If you now add a water heater, how have you changed the equation?
    Yes. You've increased the chances for things to not be done correctly.

    It can still be done correctly or incorrectly.
    Which is what I was pointing out.

    Instead of implying that it is probably alright simply because it is done all the time, I was stating that it could easily be not-right, whether it is done all the time or not.

    My point and the point of Sabrina's question was the ABILITY for proper installation of both components in a common closet.
    Agreed.

    We all know any thing can be done wrong if you try hard enough.
    Which was my point.

    And, in the case of two gas appliances in a small closest, the likelihood of having it done correctly or incorrectly is not based on that 'it "can be done wrong if you try hard enough" ', but rather that 'it can easily be done wrong', and that, to do it right, 'one must try hard enough to do it right'.

    For some things, this difference is of little consequence, however, for the two appliances under discussion, *doing it right* can mean the difference between "life" or "death" for the occupants.

    A good enough reason to address it that way. Agreed?

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    If your city inspector approved it, then it just has to be okay. Right?

    I hear laughter in the background.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    The home is in great condition, but, in the hallway of the house is the Central A/C Unit in a closet, AND, in this same closet is the brand new Gas Water Heater. They are side by side maybe a few inches between the 2 of them.

    This has to be illegal right?


    Jerry, I will agree with the need to address any installation as to safety.

    But, Sabrina's questions implied that the two appliances installed in a closet a few inches apart has to be illegal.
    The answer to her question is "No, it is not illegal"

    It is not even improper. But it does need to be inspected for proper installation (as she already indicated would be happening)


    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    But, Sabrina's questions implied that the two appliances installed in a closet a few inches apart has to be illegal.
    The answer to her question is "No, it is not illegal"
    *COULD BE* "illegal" (meaning 'not per code', "code" being 'legal').

    Thus, the answer is not "No, it is not illegal", the answer should be "Maybe.", as in 'maybe yes or maybe no, it depends on the appliances and the installation'.

    It is not even improper.
    Actually, it *might* be improper. But, again, "it depends" ... on many things.

    But it does need to be inspected for proper installation
    We are in agreement there.

    (as she already indicated would be happening)
    Maybe. It depends on the knowledge of the "home inspector" going out there.

    Certainly not on the typical FHA "inspector". I think we can all agree there.

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

  11. #11
    Sabrina Roper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Thanks to all who replied to my post.

    I drew out the set up to the best I could, I will take pictures as soon as I go back over to the house.
    http://www.members.aol.com/arkayngyl/ac.jpg




    What I figure here is, when the A/C Unit is running the air is being sucked in at the bottom of the door, in the 10 inch area as seen in drawing.

    Lets say the water heater has kicked on, the A/C Unit is running at the same time. I would think that the suction from the A/C Unit sucking in air at the bottom would disrupt the Flue Pipe Exhaust Flow...causing a backdraft and causing the fumes to be sucked up by the A/C Unit and sending the fumes out the A/C vents in the house.

    Thanks,
    Sabrina







    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    *COULD BE* "illegal" (meaning 'not per code', "code" being 'legal').

    Thus, the answer is not "No, it is not illegal", the answer should be "Maybe.", as in 'maybe yes or maybe no, it depends on the appliances and the installation'.



    Actually, it *might* be improper. But, again, "it depends" ... on many things.



    We are in agreement there.



    Maybe. It depends on the knowledge of the "home inspector" going out there.

    Certainly not on the typical FHA "inspector". I think we can all agree there.


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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Central A/C Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Your drawing shows a return air grill in the door, which opens to the closet, which is where I see the problem to be.

    The return is too close to, actually at, the combustion air areas for the two appliances, and also could cause depressurization of the area where the two appliances are, which could lead to back drafting - if the appliances are not both direct vent (getting all combustion air from outside through a direct vent/duct/pipe connection which is sealed at the inside and open to outdoor air outside, the same would go with the combustion air vent - sealed at the inside and fan powered ... not fan assisted ... venting to outdoors).

    I wish Bob H. would check this thread thread out, he can explain it better than I can.

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

  13. #13
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    Need some pictures. Can not tell from drawing where the return air is. (Is the closet being used as a plenum) If door opening is combustion air it is not adequate. Someone can post IRC combustion air requirements if this is the case. But as Jerry says it could be direct vent.
    Pics!!


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Central A/cC Unit & Gas Water Heater Same Closet?

    If I am looking at that drawing correctly the installation is a timebomb waiting to go off if those are natural draft appliances.

    The possibility for flue gas spillage is very high in that application from the drawing provided.

    That installation needs to have combustion tested and draft interference testing performed immediately!

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

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