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  1. #1
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Should there be a opening in the ceiling of a hot water heater closet that can be seen in the picture below. Does it need to be screened as most I see? I know it is for combustion air but not sure it should be opened as such directly to the attic.

    I am still in the learning curve.

    Thanks Dudes and Dudette's.

    Mama

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    MM: The opening is required and should not be screened. Another combustion air source must also be provided, preferably in the closet ceiling with a duct that runs to down within one foot of the closet floor.

    The openings in the ceiling must terminate above the level of the insulation.

    IRC 2407 contains most of what you need.

    The Type B vent in the picture does not have sufficient clearance to the ceiling joist.

    AND, before someone else does it, I might as well say that it is, of course, not a "hot water heater", but just a "water heater". (Everybody does it.)


  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    No. any Big rat can get down in that area.

    Needs a screen over it.

    Looks like you got a roof leak

    Best

    Ron


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    No. any Big rat can get down in that area.

    Needs a screen over it.

    Looks like you got a roof leak

    Best

    Ron
    You don't put hot water in it first???????

    Secondly. I know you are not suppose to screen them but I would not have one wide open to my attic with out a screen. Even with the door sealed we are talking insects, possible rodents and such into the home. If above the insulation (not even but well enough above) I don't see the reason (other than a book) not to screen it.


  5. #5
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    No. any Big rat can get down in that area.

    Needs a screen over it.

    Looks like you got a roof leak

    Best

    Ron
    Ron: No, no screen:

    G2407.11 (304.11) Combustion air ducts.
    Combustion air
    ducts shall comply with all of the following:
    1. Ducts shall be constructed of galvanized steel complying
    with Chapter 16 or of a material having equivalent corrosion
    resistance, strength and rigidity.

    Exception:
    Within dwellings units, unobstructed
    stud and joist spaces shall not be prohibited from conveying
    combustion air, provided that not more than
    one required fireblock is removed.
    2. Ducts shall terminate in an unobstructed space allowing
    free movement of combustion air to the appliances.
    3. Ducts shall serve a single enclosure.
    4. Ducts shall not serve both upper and lower combustion
    air openings where both such openings are used. The
    separation between ducts serving upper and lower combustion
    air openings shall be maintained to the source of
    combustion air.
    5. Ducts shall not be screened where terminating in an attic
    space.
    6. Horizontal upper combustion air ducts shall not slope
    downward toward the source of combustion air.
    7. The remaining space surrounding a chimney liner, gas
    vent, special gas vent or plastic piping installed within a
    masonry, metal or factory-built chimney shall not be
    used to supply combustion air.

    Exception:
    Direct-vent gas-fired appliances
    designed for installation in a solid fuel-burning fireplace
    where installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s
    instructions.





  6. #6
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Most of the moisture stains on the ceilings above the water heaters I think actually comes from condensation collecting on the hot flue pipe in the cold attic and then drips off the flue onto the ceiling. What do you think?


  7. #7
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Aaron, is that opening in that ceiling actually considered a duct though.


  8. #8
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    I don't give a ^%*& what that book says. I known what you say and you are correct as to the book. but try and explain that to a mother when a big rat gets in that house and into her kids bedroom

    Under a pest control program to control pest that would be the first thing to do...put a screen on it.

    If it was my report I would say screen it.

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post

    The Type B vent in the picture does not have sufficient clearance to the ceiling joist.
    .
    Ditto for the ( low voltage? ) wire as it is considered a combustible as well.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Screening? What are you guys talking about? Seriously, I have no idea.
    As far as around here, open hole like that not allowed depending on flue type and occupancy. Which generally means NO. Comes under insufficient fire separation.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    Aaron, is that opening in that ceiling actually considered a duct though.
    Yes, it 'ducts' the air through the insulation and ceiling.

    That is an arguable (meaning debatable) call.

    The code calls for "M1703.2 Two openings or ducts. Outside combustion air shall be supplied through openings or ducts", then, as Aaron posted"
    From the 2006 IRC. (underlining is mine)
    - G2407.11 (304.11) Combustion air ducts.
    Combustion air ducts shall comply with all of the following:
    - - 1. Ducts shall be constructed of galvanized steel complying with Chapter 16 or of a material having equivalent corrosion resistance, strength and rigidity.

    Now, wood, has (for the purposes of that duct) equivalent corrosion resistance, strength and rigidity.

    Let's change this around a bit. That duct extends from the ceiling up to past the insulation, but let's just say that it was an "opening" (a hole cut through the ceiling).

    Would that 'shall not be screened still apply even though it is not a 'duct'?

    Yes. Because that says (much too much to post here) that there are various methods, including the "Two-permanent-openings method" and the One-permanent-opening method", note that the word "duct" is not used here, this is describing "the opening" inside "the duct". The code further complicates matters (interchanging the two words 'openings' and ducts') as in this example: "Where communicating with the outdoors through horizontal ducts, each opening ... " Huh? Yes, the code interchangeably mixes those two words.

    Let's go back to "why" no screen is allowed: That is for combustion air, what happens if it becomes blocked (by or for ANY reason)? Where does the combustion air come from? From inside the house where the occupants of the house are - and that's not real good.

    It is much more preferable to have *whatever* FALL THROUGH that "opening" than be allowed to stay up on any screen, blocking the opening.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Screening? What are you guys talking about? Seriously, I have no idea.
    As far as around here, open hole like that not allowed depending on flue type and occupancy. Which generally means NO. Comes under insufficient fire separation.
    Markus,

    I've been on that losing side of that argument so often that I know just what you are talking about ... did I say "on that losing side of that argument"? Thought so.

    Show me where in the code you are talking about, referencing dwelling units which fall under the purview of the IRC.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    I know we have been down this road before but my memory fails me... Why is there no mention of the single opening method in M1700 but is there with required calculations and diagrams in M2400?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    OK. so let say we install a cover that provides for all combustion air needs and in no be blocked (by or for ANY reason)? yet a Rat can not get into the room. Its not a screen and it provides for combustion air?

    Best

    Ron


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    OK. so let say we install a cover that provides for all combustion air needs and in no be blocked (by or for ANY reason)? yet a Rat can not get into the room. Its not a screen and it provides for combustion air?

    Best

    Ron
    Describe one.

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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I know we have been down this road before but my memory fails me... Why is there no mention of the single opening method in M1700 but is there with required calculations and diagrams in M2400?
    Because the mechanical code provides suitable methods for combustion air under the mechanical section for all fuels ... but if you really want to get into "combustion air" for fuel gas ... you can get more detail in the Fuel Gas code section.

    (If I followed your question correctly.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  17. #17
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    Most of the moisture stains on the ceilings above the water heaters I think actually comes from condensation collecting on the hot flue pipe in the cold attic and then drips off the flue onto the ceiling. What do you think?
    MM: These stains are usually associated with a lack of proper flashing installation where the vent penetrates the roofing surface. In the "all roofs leak" category, this is at the top of the list for vulnerable areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    Aaron, is that opening in that ceiling actually considered a duct though.
    MM: As JP has said, yes it is a duct. Think of it this way: a duct (a pipe, tube or channel that conveys a substance - Webster's) is simply an medium through which you move air in this case. Like in an air conditioning system, you are moving air from one opening in the duct at the air handler to another in the supply register. For combustion air purposes you are merely allowing the air to move through the ducts by currents induced by the burning of fuels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    I don't give a ^%*& what that book says. I known what you say and you are correct as to the book. but try and explain that to a mother when a big rat gets in that house and into her kids bedroom

    Under a pest control program to control pest that would be the first thing to do...put a screen on it.

    If it was my report I would say screen it.

    Best

    Ron
    Ron: Of course, you can write your reports any way that pleases you. But, for actual client education as well as for your own defense in litigation, I would try to stick with the actual facts as described in the law which the code comprises. The reason we have building codes is to prevent a "roll your own" atmosphere in the construction inspection profession.

    As for your clients' rodent pets, pest exclusion begins at the outside of the structure and not in the closet ceilings. If, as a PCO, you have allowed the rats in the attic, you are simply not doing your job.

    Besides, the water heater cannot legally be located in the kids' bedroom.

    Aaron


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because the mechanical code provides suitable methods for combustion air under the mechanical section for all fuels ... but if you really want to get into "combustion air" for fuel gas ... you can get more detail in the Fuel Gas code section.

    (If I followed your question correctly.)
    Thanks, It was late (for my brain at least) and I always forget about those northern things like fuel oil. We only use propane, natural gas, and electricity around here.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Opening in the hot water heater closet ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    things like fuel oil.
    And ... wood, coal, pellets, etc.

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

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