Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    8

    Default Introduction and question about electric water heater location

    Long time reader of this forum...first time posting. I have been inspecting in the SA area for about a year. Now on to my question. I came across an electric water heater located in a closet where the electric forced air furnace was also located. The furnace on top half of closet and the water heater in the lower half...which is also the furnace's return register. The water heater occupied about 90% of the area. The dirty filter for the furnace is in close proximity (less than an inch) to the top of the water heater and the water heater is covered in the accumulated dirt being drawn into the return register. I can't specifically find a reference for neither the water heater nor the electric furnace that says it's wrong. Looks wrong...the majority of the air flow is restricted. I found a post from about 7years ago where Jerry Peck described a similar setup...but not exactly what I saw today.

    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Introduction and question about electric water heater location

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Torres Jr View Post
    electric water heater located in a closet where the electric forced air furnace was also located.

    The furnace on top half of closet and the water heater in the lower half...which is also the furnace's return register.

    The water heater occupied about 90% of the area.

    I can't specifically find a reference for neither the water heater nor the electric furnace that says it's wrong. Looks wrong...the majority of the air flow is restricted.
    Hi Joe,

    Restricted return air will lower the efficiency of the furnace but as you described no code violation unless either appliance was not installed per manufacturers instructions.

    If either appliance were gas then the combustion makeup air could be a problem.

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Introduction and question about electric water heater location

    Not everything is listed in the code. If the performance in the heater is compromised, then it is an issue but just being dirty is more of a house keeping issue. Is the air flow restricted to the point of hindering performance of the heating unit (i.e. high discharge temperatures, low air flow to vents?)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Introduction and question about electric water heater location

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Torres Jr View Post
    I came across an electric water heater located in a closet where the electric forced air furnace was also located. The furnace on top half of closet and the water heater in the lower half...which is also the furnace's return register.
    As long as that closet has a louvered door for return air or a return air louver elsewhere which allows the return air to flow into and through the closet to the return on the air handler, then the air which is flowing into and through the closet is considered 'environmental air' (the same as the air in the hallway, kitchen, living room, etc) and the water heater is allowed to be in there with the air handler ... provided there is sufficient and minimum access for service, replacement, and inspection.

    However, if there is no louvered door and/or no other return air grille which allows the 'environmental air' from outside the closet to flow into the closet to the air handler - i.e. there is a return air duct entering the closet but no environmental air from the open air in the rooms, then the space below the air handler becomes a return air plenum and not only would the water neater not be allowed in there, there are many other items which would be present but not allowed in there, and the area from the return air duct to the air handler should be enclosed and sealed off to form a plenum separate from the closet area.

    An example of that would be a closet with an enclosed bottom area and platform the air handler is setting on - inside the enclosed bottom would be the return air plenum, the air handler is should be sealed to the platform/plenum, and the air above the platform and around the air handler would be 'environmental air' even if there were no louvers in the door or other means for the air inside the house to flow into the closet as that air is restricted from becoming part of the return air because that air is outside the sealed return air plenum.

    As Billy and Jim said - as long as both were installed properly and working properly (and have proper clearances and working space) then both are allowed in that closet which has 'environmental air' in it.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Introduction and question about electric water heater location

    Thanks gents...as you can see, it was quite late as I was finishing the report. I continued to read through the forum and gathered lots of good verbiage. I did mention the housekeeping and a bit about monitoring performance. What a resource we have here. I know it isn't always what we want to hear but what we need to hear to stay in this business. Happy Thanksgiving!


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •