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  1. #1
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    Question Required heating for Habitale Room

    Ok, I see under IRC 303.6 (2000), IRC 303.8 (2003), then jump to IRC 303.10 (2018) the requirements for heat in a room, which I do not disagree with.

    IRC R303.10
    2018
    R303.10 Required heating. Where the winter design temperature
    in Table R301.2(1) is below 60?F (16?C), every dwelling unit shall be provided with heating facilities capable of maintaining a room temperature of not less than 68?F (20?C) at a point 3 feet (914 mm) above the floor and 2 feet (610 mm) from exterior walls in habitable rooms at the design temperature. The installation of one or more portable space heaters shall not be used to achieve compliance with this section.

    Question - Finding in many older homes and some newer, an in-wall heat source is in the Family/ Living/TV room, a non-habitable room. On occassion they are a good 7'-10' away from the nearest habitable room (bedroom), with a few doors in between, can I still considered the habitble room as such ??, as heat can only go into the room if all doors are open.

    Hmmm, Doesn't the fire Marshall say close your doors when you go to bed, which defeats the heat entering the room ?

    I did look at past posts, code books, and really have not found an answer, so just wondering what the consensus is on this.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Applying newer codes to older buildings doesn't match up as requirements change overtime.

    One cab only inform their clients as to what is considered as minimum safety "now", but was not addressed "then".

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    That is correct Jerry, my inspections are always based on when the houe / property was built.

    In this case it was only built in 2018.


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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Joe, I saw that you referenced the 2018 IRC, but didn't see where you said it was a 2018 built house.

    With that being the case and there is no central system with ducts to each habitable room, or individual units in each room, to provide the the required heat - I would call the local building department and make an appointment to meet with the Building Official so you can better understand the code (they usually don't mind helping people understand the code, versus you asking why they didn't do something in the code).

    The code does allow alternate means and methods, and maybe, somehow, that was put to the Building Official and they approved it, maybe they can explain how it works to heat each room with the doors closed (or even with the doors open).

    Jerry Peck
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Naturally, after a couple of such questions, the Building Official will go 'That's Joe? What did he find this time that we did/didn't do?'

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Naturally, after a couple of such questions, the Building Official will go 'That's Joe? What did he find this time that we did/didn't do?'

    Lol, Thanks Jerry, needed the chuckle...


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Found something in the CA Code (2010)

    Item # 3 is interesting.

    R301. 1. 1. 1 Alternative provisions for limited-density
    owner-built rural dwellings. The purpose of this subsection
    is to permit alternatives that provide minimum protection
    of life, limb, health, property, safety and welfare
    of the general public and the owners and occupants of
    limited-density owner-built rural dwellings as defined in
    . Chapter 2 of this code. For additional information see
    Chapter 1, Subchapter 1, Article 8, of Title 25, California
    Code of Regulations, commencing with Section 74.


    To meet compliance with the requirements of this code,
    provisions of Section R301.1.1.1, Items 1 though 5 may
    be utilized for limited-density owner-built rural dwellings
    when the materials, methods of construction or
    appliances are determined appropriate or suitable for
    their intended purpose by the local enforcing agency.


    1. A limited-density owner-built rural dwelling may
    be of any type of construction which will provide
    for a sound structural condition. Structural hazards which result in an unsound condition and
    which may constitute a substandard building are
    delineated in Section 17920.3 of the Health and
    Safety Code.


    2. There shall be no requirements for room dimensions
    as required in Chapter 3, provided there is
    adequate light and ventilation and means of
    egress.


    3. There shall be no specified requirement for heating
    capacity or for temperature maintenance. The
    use of solid-fuel or solar heating devices shall be
    deemed as complying with the requirements of
    Chapter 3. If nonrenewable fuel is used in these
    dwellings, rooms so heated shall meet current
    installation standards.


    4. Pier foundations, stone masonry footings and
    foundations, pressure-treated lumber, poles or
    equivalent foundation materials or designs may be
    used provided that bearing is sufficient.


    5. Owner-produced or used materials and appliances
    may be utilized unless found not to be of sufficient
    strength or durability to perform the
    intended function. Owner-produced or used lumber,
    or shakes and shingles may be utilized unless
    found to contain dry rot, excessive splitting or
    other defects obviously rendering the material
    unfit in strength or durability for the intended purpose.


    and of course it comes with more hard-to-understand legalize when looking up the definition of Limited Density Owner-Built

    LIMITED-DENSITY OWNER-BUILT RURAL DWELLINGS. Any structure consisting of one or more habitable rooms intended or designed to be occupied by one family with facilities for living or sleeping, with use restricted to rural areas designated by local jurisdiction. Notwithstanding other sections of law, the applicable section of Health and Safety Code Section 17958.2 is repeated here for clarification purposes.


    Section 17958.2. (a) Notwithstanding Section 17958, regulations of the department adopted for limited-density owner-built rural dwellings, which are codified in Article 8 (commencing with Section 74) of Subchapter 1 of Chapter 1 of Title 25 of the California Code of Regulations, shall not become operative within any city or county unless and until the governing body of the city or county makes an express finding that the application of those regulations within the city or county is reasonably necessary because of local conditions and the city or county files a copy of that finding with the department


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Is that an "limited-density owner-built rural dwelling"?

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Is that an "limited-density owner-built rural dwelling"?
    I have no idea, I just told them to refer to the local building department.


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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room: Clothes when you Does, homonymically

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Reilly View Post

    Hmmm, Doesn't the fire Marshall say close your doors when you go to bed, which defeats the heat entering the room ?
    While I don't know your fire marshal, here's what they taught at a door-messaging workshop sponsored by UL and I forget who, maybe NFPA, several years back--probably 2018 or 2019. (I believe it was announced at the San Antonio NFPA conference)

    "Close when you doze" works well when you have an alarm or annunciator in the bedroom or sleeping area that alerts sleepers when any alarm outside the sleeping area is triggered. They're alerted by signal, even without local smoke.


    "Close when you doze" works less well when you have an alarm or annunciator in the bedroom or sleeping area that alerts sleepers when a fire starts in the bedroom, unless they're spry enough to move faster than the smoke and flame. That escape's highly unusual when the fire's started by smoking material.


    "Close when you doze" works much less well when you have an alarm or annunciator in the bedroom or sleeping area that alerts sleepers only when smoke from a fire outside infiltrates into the bedroom. For instance, if there's just one smoke alarm per floor, period, any door between sleepers and the alarm mutes the sound considerably.


    "Close when you doze" works well wherever you locate an alarm or annunciator, when the sleepers are incapable of hustling themselves out fast enough. The door probably will delay their deaths, and may do so long enough for rescuers to arrive. This is true even if there's a pet flap.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Close bedroom doors before going to sleep, it can save your and your kids lives.

    https://youtu.be/bSP03BE74WA

    http://29firerescue.com/2021/04/11/c...ave-your-life/

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Jerry, I see no conflict with the FD's post. Closed Doors CAN save lives. Or not. A PSA can't give especially nuanced info.
    I choose not to give clicks to youtube or FB or Twitter etc until such time as they police out profit-enhancing misinformation; so I don't know what that video said.

    I might have added the detail that in a house with zero smoke alarms, the effect of "Close when you doze" is positive; more like the effect when occupants (e.g. bedridden people) are incapable of hustling out when alarms sound.

    And in houses complying with modern NFPA 72 standards, all the nuance is unnecessary.

    Unfortunately, every time I contact alarm manufacturers, I am told there hasn't been sufficient progress to begin the runup to manufacturing hardwired or battery alarms with low-frequency, square wave signals so the hearing impaired etc etc can be woken reliably. The power requirements are too high for the battery or backup battery. This means supplementary devices unless they respond to a strobe.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    I choose not to give clicks to youtube or FB or Twitter etc until such time as they police out profit-enhancing misinformation; ...
    I try to filter out the misinformation one and not post those. The profit ones ... they are basically all seeking profits, even ... especially ... NFPA, etc.

    I might have added the detail that in a house with zero smoke alarms, ..
    Needs to have smoke alarms installed. If you watch the videos, leaving the bedroom door open because there is no smoke alarm basically just hastens the occupants demise.

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    All are trying to make profit, support their operations at least; true. There are business models I respect and others that inclined me to shun, even at recognizable costs to myself.

    We are quite agreed on the value of working SDs.

    Some FDs give out SDs, enough to put one on each level used for sleeping. In this case, and similar cases where the HO chooses to just buy one SD to install outside the BRs, do you have data to show that the benefit of retarding entry of smoke and flame is greater than the cost of muffling sound?

    It's been 3-4 years since the workshop, so I'm not ruling this out. But most instructional and exhortative videos provide basic information that doesn't consider all circumstances, not even all common circumstances.


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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    In this case, and similar cases where the HO chooses to just buy one SD to install outside the BRs, do you have data to show that the benefit of retarding entry of smoke and flame is greater than the cost of muffling sound?
    The doors aren't there to muffle the sound of a smoke alarm, albeit that doors will muffle the sound to some degree.

    The doors are there to help keep the smoke and heat out of the bedroom ... as well as to help keep the fire out of the bedroom.

    Keeping the smoke out helps save the bedroom occupants, and helps first responders find the occupants to rescue the occupants. As does keeping out the heat and the fire.

    Cost benefit ratio? Okay, I need this base number to start from: what is the $$$ value of 1 human life?

    Need that before cranking in other numbers.

    Jerry Peck
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Jerry, the extent to which we seem to be talking across each other amazes me. I respect you highly, I believe you respect my specialized knowledge, and yet we're having this strange wrangle.

    You and I have no control over whether people install detectors in accordance with NFPA 72. All we can do is advise, urge, nudge, report. You and I have no control over the doctrine that fire departments adopt regarding donating smoke detectors, either.

    How many people have died who would have been saved by smoke alarms, but tore them down when they alarmed and no smoke was noticed; or they alarmed and it was smoke from cooking without a fire having been started other than that under the pot or in the oven? Too many. How many people have died who would have been saved by smoke alarms, but tore them down rather than replacing them or their batteries when they started EOL chirping? Ditto. That's why I have to acknowledge that end users often make decisions that you and I would not.

    Doors are not closed at night in order to muffle the sound of alarms, but the doors don't know this. Consequently, as you acknowledge, they do reduce alarm audibility. Whether, in homes with only hall alarms more lives are lost when closed doors delay or prevent their waking sleepers, or more lives are lost when open doors let smoke and fire kill sleepers despite the greater audibility is an empirical question. I was asking whether you have data addressing that question. If all you have is general received doctrine, that's okay. What I learned at the workshop was the outcomes of the latest research available at that time, presented by the people who performed the studies. It may not be current, and regardless, then and now, for the simplest message, "Close While You Doze" works. this is true even if, in some cases, following the doctrine results in increased deaths. It's a little like "Plug this into a grounded receptacle." In most cases, excellent instructions. But with bootleg grounds, not good; and the occupant may very well not know any better.

    If you are able to influence the people with whom we interact well enough that they all comply with the fire alarm and signalling standard, great! Then Close While You Doze will be best for them. I know for many audiences I'm not that powerful an influencer.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    David, I agree, mostly, that we are saying the same basic thing in different ways, and from a different perspective ... with those "different ways, and from a different perspective" being key to "saying the same basic thing".

    The main difference, it appears to me, is the end result of what we are each saying.

    But first ... I agree that neither you nor I can "require" something (based on what we both do, we both opine 'this is what you should do' without enforcement power to change "should do" to "shall do". At various capacities in my past, I indeed could, and did, do the "shall do" aspect. Now that I am retired and do "consulting", I just opine what "should" be done, I no longer have the authority to say 'you "shall" do this'.

    Where we differ is that I am not saying that 'doing this half-of-nothing' is 'better-than-nothing' thing. I am saying that, if there are no smoke alarms present inside or outside the bedroom, or if there is only a smoke alarm outside the bedroom and no smoke alarm inside the bedroom ... 'leave the door open' is an okay thing to do when you go to sleep (and, in fact, many people do leave their bedroom doors open when they go to sleep. I am saying 'close that bedroom door when you go to sleep' ... period ... THEN install smoke alarms.

    What if they cannot afford to install smoke alarms? As you said, many fire departments have programs where they give away smoke alarms, typically immediately after a fatal fire, and in the immediate area of the fatal fire, but ... closing the door has no monetary cost, but could save their lives.

    To me, it is an "either/or" choice. It is a 'at least close the door' choice, then install smoke alarms as soon as possible (again, recognizing that I no longer have the "shall do this" option).

    It becomes really, really, difficult when one does "code enforcement" (property maintenance and zoning ordinance enforcement) versus "code compliance" (new construction or additions, repairs or alterations to existing property under the building codes). I had both of those hats at one jurisdiction I worked for.

    I really, really, hated wearing the "code enforcement" hat. Grass higher than 12"? Who gives a rats ... okay, the neighbors do and the city/county does. Undrivable cars in you driveway? Same thing. Those lists can seem endless, and some of the items on those lists seem to be overreaching to me.

    Unpermitted work? THAT is a different animal as that is "new" work, and that "new work" needs to be in compliance with the building codes. We should not be willy-nilly letting people kill themselves (best case) or their family, friends, and invited guests (worst case).

    It may sound like I have a cold heart in "best case" letting them kill themselves, but that is not the case - I am just putting more importance on them not killing others who had nothing to do with the pre-planning (or lack thereof) of the suicide or murderous actions.

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    We do see things very much alike, Jerry.
    This extends even to prioritizing protection of would-be victims of the scofflaws.
    I have not always seen code enforcement and code compliance functions differentiated under those names, so i had to read carefully to get what you're saying. Of course there is some overlap; I remember being asked--by someone who, it turned out, didn't actually have property rights, though she had the key--to evaluate an electric service for safety . . . and being warned about snakes lurking in the grass growing around the service entrance.
    Since being appointed to NFPA 73, I've given a lot of thought to whether items that are not required in the NEC should be addressed when reinspection is required. Smoke and CO alarms are two examples. Maintenance of exhaust fans and ducts for potentially flammable items such as kitchen grease and clothes lint is another. Whether i can convince the other CMP members to sign on will be another matter.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    Since being appointed to NFPA 73, I've given a lot of thought to whether items that are not required in the NEC should be addressed when reinspection is required. Smoke and CO alarms are two examples. Maintenance of exhaust fans and ducts for potentially flammable items such as kitchen grease and clothes lint is another. Whether i can convince the other CMP members to sign on will be another matter.
    Those are, to me, outside the realm of the NEC as those are property maintenance items.

    I don't recall that NFPA has Property Maintenance Code (PMC), however, ICC does have a PMC in the form of the IPMC.

    That is where I think those things go.

    However ... with PMCs, many places had adopted their own ordinances addressing property maintenance decades and decades ago, without ever having adopted the IPMC (that 'no body is going to tell us what we need to do' thing kicks into the 'more personal PMC control).

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    For the most part, Jerry, NFPA 70 focuses on new work, so of course property maintenance is only touched on here and there. The revised NFPA 70B is the place to go. I see NFPA 73 as to some degree equivalent to 70B, though frankly I don't know just who adopts 73 and where/when they expect it to be applied. If I had to guess, conversion of a private residence to a rental would be such a occasion. "My home is my castle (and serves equally greasy burgers)" is diluted there.

    NFPA 70 has no reason to be concerned about whether a fire will start because flammable lint has accumulated all over the area around a clothes dryer, or plugged up its exhaust duct. Or crud accumulation mean a range hood is about to ignite. The installation is new! Unless the dryer is hard-wired, the dryer outlet can be finaled without any duct in place. Now if it is hard-wired, Section 110.3(B) says that listing instructions requiring suitable exhaust duct must be obeyed.

    Now come back five or ten years later, in the UK model, to check on the condition of the electrical system. Or come back, in some U.S. models, because the owner is converting it to a rental. Now these are clear potential hazards that could ignite the place when said equipment is turned on. Is this an electrical hazard we should check for in a dwelling electrical reinspection? That's my thinking. How it aligns with the realities . . .


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    ... frankly I don't know just who adopts 73 and where/when they expect it to be applied.
    The key is 'where would they be adopted?

    Most (but still not all?) places adopt NFPA 70 ... far fewer places likely adopt any of the other electrical code related things (70A, 70B, 70E)/ If not adopted, the Standard/Code does not become enforceable, and there is no "thou shalt do this" component to applying it.

    And many times when an NFPA, ICC, UBC, UPC, UMC, ACI, etc standard is adopted, it is adopted with amendments. And ordinance created property maintenance 'codes' are piece-meal created and are seldom updated to any semblance of current safety practices. I was called in by a major insurance company in one case where someone fell off a deck with no railing - upon going through the local ordinances, no railing was required unless the deck was greater than five feet above adjacent ground, and no opening protection required (no in-fill panels, only a top rail) - with the deck only being 31 inches above the ground, I recommended that the insurance company write the check as quickly as possible for the least amount possible (fighting it in court would only increases the payout) ... and I still got paid for that, albeit not as much as not I didn't put as much time into it as I would have if it had gone to court, but it was still around $3k as I recall.

    Jerry Peck
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Agreed. I was told that it is indeed adopted; but how much, where, with what amendments is material I hope to learn.

    At the same time, and this falls smack in your area of expertise, if no ordinance has been adopted in a certain area, it seems that any generally recognized code covering the subject can be used as a basis for the argument that an installation or an action departed from the available standard of practice. True, or true only for the party with the larger legal guns? Workplaces are subject to the OSH act, but for electrical workplace hazards 70E is the standard of practice.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Required heating for Habitale Room

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    At the same time, and this falls smack in your area of expertise, if no ordinance has been adopted in a certain area, it seems that any generally recognized code covering the subject can be used as a basis for the argument that an installation or an action departed from the available standard of practice. True, or true only for the party with the larger legal guns?
    Depends on two basic things: a) who has the most to lose when it goes before a jury (juries like to award insurance monies to the 'injured' lesser monied party; b) how much money each party is willing to risk for a potential jury finding for the other party.

    I've only been an expert witness testifying in court maybe 5 times. I like to drown the other attorney in so many facts that settling out-of-court is to their favor, preferably for very little pittance from the party hiring me.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 11-13-2022 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Clarification "expert witness in court" added "testifying"
    Jerry Peck
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