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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Western Montana
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    261

    Default Return vent above wood stove

    Return vent for a forced air furnace in ceiling of finished basement, I'd guess 9' ceiling without pulling out a tape measure. A wood stove just underneath the return vent. The home buyer had a heating expert in addition to me doing the home inspection. So, why didn't the licensed HVAC contractor mention this as a concern to the buyer? Am I missing something? (sorry about the quality of the picture)

    He seemed pretty sharp, though young (these days, everyone seems young to me). He was also kind enough to describe how some home inspectors don't know what they are talking about.

    I also got on a ladder and pulled the return vent cover off to make sure that the wood stove exhaust vent wasn't passing through the return air chase (it is not, there is blocking between the I-joists that separates the return air chase).

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    On the practical side the return is circulating the warmed from the stove through the house.
    Were there a High Wall Return and Low Wall Return located on the upper floors?

    So, your concerns are ____ ??


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
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    3,746

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    SECTION M1602
    RETURN AIR
    M1602.1 Return air. Return air shall be taken from inside the
    dwelling. Dilution of return air with outdoor air shall be
    permitted.
    M1602.2 Prohibited sources. Outdoor and return air for a
    forced-air heating or cooling system shall not be taken from the
    following locations:
    3. Rooms or spaces containing solid-fuel burning
    appliances, provided that return-air inlets are
    located not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from
    the firebox of such appliances.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Rick,
    OP 9ft ceiling would make vent about 10 ft from stove wouldn't it???


  5. #5
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    3. Rooms or spaces containing solid-fuel burning
    appliances, provided that return-air inlets are
    located not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from
    the firebox
    of such appliances.
    30" high fire box, 9' ceilings,
    Nope, closer than 10'

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    30" high fire box, 9' ceilings,
    Nope, closer than 10'

    Guestimated angle of the wangle...to vent

    Not knowing exactly how high the ceiling except maybe 9 ft


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    On the practical side the return is circulating the warmed from the stove through the house.
    Were there a High Wall Return and Low Wall Return located on the upper floors?

    So, your concerns are ____ ??
    My primary concern would be that the air handler could pull enough air into the return that the appliance would have a difficult time acquiring sufficient combustion air. When natural draft goes up against mechanical it will lose every time.

    Ashley Eldridge
    CSIA Director of Educationimage.jpg
    Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) | Plainfield, IN


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Morris County, New Jersey
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    If the appliance had a difficult time obtaining sufficient air to to operate, room occupants would undoubtedly experience the problem first.

    As a former fire inspector, I would interpret the 10' requirement to be horizontal, not vertical or at an angle. I believe the intention is to reduce the possibility of recirculation of any combustion products escaping the appliance.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    nj
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    Return vent for a forced air furnace in ceiling of finished basement, I'd guess 9' ceiling without pulling out a tape measure. A wood stove just underneath the return vent. The home buyer had a heating expert in addition to me doing the home inspection. So, why didn't the licensed HVAC contractor mention this as a concern to the buyer? Am I missing something? (sorry about the quality of the picture)

    He seemed pretty sharp, though young (these days, everyone seems young to me). He was also kind enough to describe how some home inspectors don't know what they are talking about.

    I also got on a ladder and pulled the return vent cover off to make sure that the wood stove exhaust vent wasn't passing through the return air chase (it is not, there is blocking between the I-joists that separates the return air chase).
    I don't see it as a concern. It is no different then having a return anywhere else in the room as far as having a draft issue with the wood stove. Also I assume the room has supply registers from the air handler also. This would offset any return that was being drawn from the room when the unit is running.

    Bill Kace
    Nationally Certified Air Balance Technician

    Last edited by BillKace; 05-17-2013 at 05:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley Eldridge View Post
    My primary concern would be that the air handler could pull enough air into the return that the appliance would have a difficult time acquiring sufficient combustion air. When natural draft goes up against mechanical it will lose every time.

    Ashley Eldridge
    CSIA Director of Educationimage.jpg
    Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) | Plainfield, IN
    Ashley,

    Wouldn't the return vent be drawing ( warmer ) air from the top of the room with combustion air ( cooler ) for the Solid Fuel Appliance being replaced and drawn into the bottom

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Is there a fresh air inlet from exterior (outside) into the firebox? If so the appliance is not drawing air for combustion from the interior.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,549

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Terry is saying the return air vent may be less than 10 feet from the firebox, and if so it does not comply with the rule. Correct.

    Apparently, the HVAC guy did not see this as a problem, and many folks here agree. Certainly when the furnace is running, it would be blowing warm air into the room, but maybe not if the floor vents are closed off.
    Where did the 10 foot rule originate? Is that measured from the interior edge of the firebox or from the combustion air vent? What if it's 9'11"?

    If it is less than 10 feet, it doesn't meet the minimum requirement. I would measure that from the nearest point of combustion air supply for the woodstove, which would likely be below the door. I can't quite reach it from here.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    If it is less than 10 feet, it doesn't meet the minimum requirement. I would measure that from the nearest point of combustion air supply for the woodstove, which would likely be below the door. I can't quite reach it from here.
    I just measured it, the distance is 8 feet 9 and 13/16 inches ...

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

  14. #14
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    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    This is a Canadian publication

    See page 23 the left diagram

    http://www.cleanairplan.ca/documents/woodguide.pdf


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,643

    Cool Re: Return vent above wood stove

    I would caution you on this practice. If you have an EPA certified woodstove, it should be able to handle up to -15Pa of depressurization. However, an old clunker leaky POS non-EPA stove can leak at equilibrium. At the very least, this would probably cause smoke odors throughout the house.

    IF you're hell bent on doing this, at the very least install low level unlisted CO monitors outside the sleeping rooms and on every floor level.

    The quoted code applies only to spaces where that room serves as the source source of return air. Still, returns near fireplaces and woodstoves can be problematic. This is why open returns near draft hood equipped waters heaters are so dangerous.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    389

    Default Re: Return vent above wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    . . . .

    IF you're hell bent on doing this, at the very least install low level unlisted CO monitors outside the sleeping rooms and on every floor level.

    . . . ..
    I love the logic in your post.

    I was not aware of a code requirement for the ten foot restriction. Interesting. Had I been asked for an opinion I would have said "looks good to me." But like I have said before I am not a home inspector.


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