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  1. #1
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    Default Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Hello y'all,

    For those who really know the code....

    M2005.2 says that water heaters shall not be installed in a room used as a storage closet. I don't have the commentaries, but are they referring to (for example) a closet with a door in a garage (say 6x6 storage closet)?

    Or are they referring to a closet inside the home?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bruce

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    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    If the water heater is in a 6x6 room in the garage, they cannot use that room for storage. Also there needs to be a source of fresh air intake with in the room to provide the needed combustion air.


  3. #3
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Hello y'all,

    For those who really know the code....

    M2005.2 says that water heaters shall not be installed in a room used as a storage closet. I don't have the commentaries, but are they referring to (for example) a closet with a door in a garage (say 6x6 storage closet)?

    Or are they referring to a closet inside the home?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bruce
    JB:

    M2005.2 Prohibited locations.
    Fuel-fired water heaters shall
    not be installed in a room used as a storage closet.Water heaters
    located in a bedroom or bathroom shall be installed in a sealed
    enclosure so that combustion air will not be taken from the living
    space. Installation of direct-vent water heaters within an enclosure
    is not required.

    The intent of this section is to prevent fuel-fired appliances
    from being installed in rooms and spaces where
    the combustion process could pose a threat to the occupants.
    Potential threats include depleted oxygen
    levels; elevated levels of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides
    and carbon monoxide, and other combustion
    gases; ignition of combustibles; and elevated levels of
    flammable gases.
    In small rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms,
    the doors are usually closed when the room is occupied,
    and combustion gases could build up to
    life-threatening levels. Occupants would not be aware
    of impending danger.




  4. #4
    Gary Anglin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Based on the above then - where do you put a water heater.... Here it is in the laundry room. No install is going to be in a room this large where that room isn't going to be used for some "storage". I believe NFPA requires 36" inch clearance to any combustible material....




  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Anglin View Post
    Based on the above then - where do you put a water heater.... Here it is in the laundry room.
    The laundry room location is okay ... sort of ... because now you also have to worry about the clothes dryer exhausting air out faster than combustion air can replace it.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JB:

    M2005.2 Prohibited locations.
    Fuel-fired water heaters shall
    not be installed in a room used as a storage closet.Water heaters
    located in a bedroom or bathroom shall be installed in a sealed
    enclosure so that combustion air will not be taken from the living
    space. Installation of direct-vent water heaters within an enclosure
    is not required.

    The intent of this section is to prevent fuel-fired appliances
    from being installed in rooms and spaces where
    the combustion process could pose a threat to the occupants.
    Potential threats include depleted oxygen
    levels; elevated levels of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides
    and carbon monoxide, and other combustion
    gases; ignition of combustibles; and elevated levels of
    flammable gases.
    In small rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms,
    the doors are usually closed when the room is occupied,
    and combustion gases could build up to
    life-threatening levels. Occupants would not be aware
    of impending danger.

    Thanks for the commentary. So it appears that a storage closet in a garage isn't the intent. Is that how you read it too?

    Thanks
    Bruce

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    To solve the problem there needs to be a properly sized fresh air vent installed. There are many town home where the only room they can install a water heater and furnace is in a second floor room that has the washer, dryer, furnace, and water heater. They have a 6 to 8" duct pipe from the outside terminating in the room 12" off the floor.

    Now one problem with this install that worked in years past is the new heaters are Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) units that draw the air into the burn chamber through some side vents and through a safety screen. Now these heaters installed in this utility room with a clothes dryer is sucking lint into the screen which eventually the water heater will start starving for air and the pilot will go out. Once this happens the only real fix is replace the heater. Its near imposable to get that safety screen clean enough again. When I do replace these heaters I put in a State which happens to have a filter around the intake ports. I also explain to the owners that they need to clean in that room weekly to prevent any lint build up, and clean the filter on the water heater monthly.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Thanks for the commentary. So it appears that a storage closet in a garage isn't the intent. Is that how you read it too?
    Bruce,

    No, that is included in the intent, what is not included in the intent is a mechanical room for the mechanical and fuel gas appliances, and then gets used for storage. That room is a "mechanical room", not a "storage closet".

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bruce,

    No, that is included in the intent, what is not included in the intent is a mechanical room for the mechanical and fuel gas appliances, and then gets used for storage. That room is a "mechanical room", not a "storage closet".
    Far be it from me to argue with AskCodeMan (the name alone is intimidating)

    Seriously, I realize the commentary is not the "code" and it definitely states that it can't be in a room used as a closet; however, the commentary appears to mainly reference issues as being "life threatening" levels of oxygen, co2, co, n2o, etc... And this final paragraph, "in small rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms, the doors are usually closed when the room is occupied, and combustion gases could build up to
    life-threatening levels. Occupants would not be aware of impending danger."

    Which, in turn, led me to think that a large storage closet (see Gary's blueprint) in a garage was acceptable because it is not where humans reside.

    However, right now, I'm not seeing the reason if items are stored in a closet that has a build up of combustible gases. If it's gonna blow, it's gonna blow. If the gases are going to leach out, the stored items won't care.

    Ultimately, I didn't write the code...just trying to wrap my brain around it.

    Thanks for all of the input

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Bruce,

    I agree with your reasoning and thinking, but, since when are codes based on reasoning and thinking? The codes are based on minimum safety requirements, not all of which make sense, and, if that were the basis for the code requirements, then a lot of 'makes sense' requirements would be code, but are not.

    As Aaron posted: (underlining and bold are mine)
    - Code

    - - M2005.2 Prohibited locations.Fuel-fired water heaters shall not be installed in a room used as a storage closet. Water heaters located in a bedroom or bathroom shall be installed in a sealed enclosure so that combustion air will not be taken from the living space. Installation of direct-vent water heaters within an enclosure is not required.

    Jerry's Note: When you think about it in the terms you were, how many times would you be in a closet, with the door closed, for long periods of time? Thus, that reasoning is not the only reasoning, that reasoning is the only reason given as it relates to small rooms which people occupy and close the doors, such as bathrooms and bedrooms - not exclusively, but as examples of small rooms people occupy and close the doors. However, that commentary only covers and explains the second sentence of the code, presumably (I am guessing) they figured the first sentence was self-explanatory: "shall not be installed in a room used as a storage closet", which is quite specific.

    - Commentary
    - - The intent of this section is to prevent fuel-fired appliances from being installed in rooms and spaces where the combustion process could pose a threat to the occupants. Potential threats include depleted oxygen levels; elevated levels of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide, and other combustion gases; ignition of combustibles; and elevated levels of flammable gases. In small rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms, the doors are usually closed when the room is occupied, and combustion gases could build up to life-threatening levels. Occupants would not be aware of impending danger.

    Now, if the commentary had chosen to use the word "clothes" closets instead of "storage" closets, then one would be thinking of 'bedroom' closets, which would be reasonable considering the second sentence addressing bathroom and bedrooms ... but, alas, the code stated "storage closets", as in "shall not be installed in a room used as a storage closet".

    The room in the garage in the plan Gary provided specifically indicates that is for "storage", thus the water heater would not be allowed in there. The laundry room (which is shown as being the same width but is labeled as being 6" narrower for some reason) is not much larger, only about 6 square feet larger, yet it is not a "storage closet" and is not intended for storage, nor will the occupants be in that room with the door closed for long periods (probably have the door open when in that room, reducing the hazard to the occupants created by the small size). Now, I can see the family dog having it bed and food in that room, or the cat litter and their food, and at times the door closed with the dog or cat in there ...

    I have seen many water heaters in "rooms" sized just at minimum to provide clearance around a water heater and its drain pan and nothing else goes in there (supposedly, but you always find "storage" in there anyway), and those "rooms" need to be combined with the rest of the house for combustion air, or to the outside (which creates additional problems in cold climates, i.e., areas located above the freeze line, which is basically I-10 running across the top of Florida across into Texas, then up to California).



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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    What if I didn't actually use my washer and dryer but merely "stored" them in Gary's laundry room?

    Oh well, back to the Book. I'd like to be able to take 2 of the tests in the next month.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    The original question did not say Gas or Electric!

    An electric water heater would solve the problem.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    The original question did not say Gas or Electric!

    An electric water heater would solve the problem.
    Scott: As would installing a gas tankless unit in the exterior wall of the laundry room. Not much plumbing involved; better efficiency, and more room in the laundry (storage closet).


  14. #14
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Scott: What was that all about?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Scott: What was that all about?
    Too much coffee this morning and a pissed off builder calling me! Well, it could also be sunspots. I heard we are due for some solar flairs this month!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  16. #16
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Too much coffee this morning and a pissed off builder calling me! Well, it could also be sunspots. I heard we are due for some solar flairs this month!
    Scott: I think that's what JP suffers from the most. They have lots of that solar stuff flaring down in Flahdah.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    The original question did not say Gas or Electric!

    The original question did not, but the reference did.

    M2005.2 Prohibited locations.
    Fuel-fired water heaters shall

    not be installed in a room used as a storage closet. (blah, blah, blah as the section continues)


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

  18. #18
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The original question did not, but the reference did.


    M2005.2 Prohibited locations.
    Fuel-fired water heaters shall
    not be installed in a room used as a storage closet. (blah, blah, blah as the section continues)


    JP: I still say the should all be installed in the exterior walls (tankless) or the attics (tank or tankless). At least down here in the Land of Sun.




  19. #19
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: I still say the should all be installed in the exterior walls (tankless) or the attics (tank or tankless). At least down here in the Land of Sun.

    If you are above the freeze line (basically I-10) you do not want your water heater outside, in the attic, or in the basement as that requires piping which is outside also.

    All that piping would be required to be protected from freezing by insulation, heating tapes, or both where installed outside the thermal envelope of the structure.

    If you are "in the Land of Sun" and also in the Land of Freezing Temperatures, then no, I would no recommend what you are saying, however, if you are "in the Land of Sun" and not freezing, then go for it, but I STILL PREFER to have my water heater where I can access it without going into the attic.

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

  20. #20
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water Heater in Storage Closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you are above the freeze line (basically I-10) you do not want your water heater outside, in the attic, or in the basement as that requires piping which is outside also.

    All that piping would be required to be protected from freezing by insulation, heating tapes, or both where installed outside the thermal envelope of the structure.

    If you are "in the Land of Sun" and also in the Land of Freezing Temperatures, then no, I would no recommend what you are saying, however, if you are "in the Land of Sun" and not freezing, then go for it, but I STILL PREFER to have my water heater where I can access it without going into the attic.
    JP: I think Scott was on the money. You have a case of sunspots.


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