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  1. #1
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    Default Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Everything I have been able to find code-wise states that heat sources are only required in habitable spaces and bathrooms do not fall within the definition of a habitable space. Is this still the standard (heat source not required in bathrooms)?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    This question comes up fairly often.
    R303.10 in IRC basically calls for heat in "habitable rooms". And specifically says that portable space heaters do not comply.

    And under definitions, bathrooms are specifically excluded from habitable space.

    In my reports, in very large baths, particularly on north side of house, I'll note a lack of heat source.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Thanks for the clarification Lon.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    In my experience as an architectural designer, undercut doors are commonly considered to help transfer air into a bathroom space. But I also agree that larger bathrooms should be flagged for a potential lack of heat.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    In my reports, in very large baths, particularly on north side of house, I'll note a lack of heat source.
    Why treat one bathroom different than any other bathroom, large or small ... unless the implication is the a large bathroom is "habitable space"?

    When in cold/cooler areas, I would think everyone would want heat in the bathroom. Heck, even down in South Florida many older homes had a built-in wall heater, and many newer homes have heat and a/c in the bathrooms.

    It never hurts to "note" things that the inspector feels are things their clients would like to know.

    But those "notes" should not be worded in a way that implies a requirement for them.

    And before anyone jumps in saying that they "note" everything which is required ... if it is "required" ... then it should be "reported"/"written up" in the report ... not "noted".

    Just to clarify what a "note" would be:
    - 'there is a torn window screen in the bedroom' ... that is not a "note"
    - 'there is no heat source in the bathroom, but it's not required' ... that is a "note"

    Added with edit: if "flagged" means "noted" versus "written up"/"reported" see above for larger/smaller aspect ... if "flagged" means "written up"/"reported" than that would be incorrect (unless a local code required heat in a bathroom).

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Why treat one bathroom different than any other bathroom, large or small ... unless the implication is the a large bathroom is "habitable space"?
    No implication of official requirement is involved. Small baths tend get enough heat or cooling through the door opening and walls to be comfortable. Large baths, particularly with a north side exterior wall, may run cool in winter. In most homes built in the last 50 years, a supply has been installed in the baths. It's usually in remodels where I see a large unconditioned bath. Without exception, when I point out that the bath does not have a heat source, my clients express appreciation for the notation and occasionally concern. Of course, I add that it is not required by code. I had one client say, "Maybe not your code, but my code says there has to be heat in my bath!" They still bought the home, but they did not get a surprise on a cold November morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It never hurts to "note" things that the inspector feels are things their clients would like to know.

    But those "notes" should not be worded in a way that implies a requirement for them.

    And before anyone jumps in saying that they "note" everything which is required ... if it is "required" ... then it should be "reported"/"written up" in the report ... not "noted".
    Yup, we agree.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    In this case, the house was older and my clients expressed concern that the 2nd floor bathroom in the house which had just been remodeled had no heat source and no supply duct for AC. It was a concern to them so I made mention of it in my report but also advised them that bathrooms are not defined as habitable space and therefore are not required to have heat.

    It can be confusing because I regularly see new construction where bathrooms, closets, powder rooms, and laundry rooms have supply ducting for heating and cooling. You get so used to seeing it that you just kind of assume bathrooms should have heat.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    The bathrooms on an exterior wall need to be conditioned, the bathrooms in the center with conditioned space all the way around do not need to be conditioned.

    Dan Hagman
    ProSite Home Inspections
    Des Moines, Iowa

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hagman View Post
    The bathrooms on an exterior wall need to be conditioned, the bathrooms in the center with conditioned space all the way around do not need to be conditioned.
    Where does that come from?
    Common sense, yes, but apart from protecting plumbing from freezing, where do you see that requirement in the code?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hagman View Post
    The bathrooms on an exterior wall need to be conditioned, the bathrooms in the center with conditioned space all the way around do not need to be conditioned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Where does that come from?
    Common sense, yes, but apart from protecting plumbing from freezing, where do you see that requirement in the code?
    It's not in the codes, at least not the ICC and ICC based codes ... might be in some unusual codes?

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    Your right it is not in the code, it is common sense practice. As a former HVAC professional we used to always install heat/cooling in bathrooms, large walk in closets that were on an outside wall and bathrooms surrounded by conditioned space did not need any. It would be a recommendation as a home inspector.

    Dan Hagman
    ProSite Home Inspections
    Des Moines, Iowa

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Are Bathrooms Still not Considered Habitable Spaces?

    We need to keep in mind that codes are minimums ... NOT good/better/best practices.

    Just like SoP for home inspectors are minimums for that 'work'.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing more than is minimally required.

    There is, however, a major difference between 'constructing a home' and 'inspecting a home' - inspecting a home also brings with it a thing called 'standard of care', and that 'standard' varies from area to area and is established at some level above SoP by the area's inspectors. I.e., what is 'good enough' in some areas might be 'below standard' in another area.

    Sorry for the thread drift - but ... it is part of where the discussion has drifted.

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

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