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Old 01-15-2020, 12:13 AM
 
23 posts, read 24,535 times
Reputation: 72

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There are definitely rules regarding water heaters in closets in rentals. This article (not sure if it's just for California, but if it is, it will likely convince you to look at regulations in your state) tells you all kinds of stuff about water heaters in closets. I own a rental house, so I'm used to following codes and rules, especially since an inspector comes in once every 2 years to inspect and I have to have things done correctly (I would anyway since the rules usually make good sense.) Also, when I was a renter, I lived in a basement apartment in Washington DC and the upstairs water heater was in a tiny little closet in my bedroom. I now know that it was really illegal what they did (i.e. there were definitely not 12 inches of free space on all sides and the door was a louvered door whose louvers didn't close.) This was before the age of CO detectors. I'm glad I'm still alive!

Here's the article: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/codes-...et-101964.html

So check out the law in your area to see if it's ok. Good luck. Being a landlord has its good moments (when tenants stay for years and pay religiously every month and don't mess up your place) and its bad moments (the exact opposite.) I've had both.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,075 posts, read 2,633,581 times
Reputation: 2315
Our WH is in the crawl space. We have had 2 to rupture & flood the space. S small irritation in crawl space but would be a disaster inside.

We do have extremely hard water too, so that makes a difference. Talk to an experienced plumber in your area. Ask his opinion on whether a rupture is likely. A drip pan will contain a slow leak but not a rupture.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Morrisville, NC
8,874 posts, read 13,508,726 times
Reputation: 8551
Gas water heaters need a certain amount of combustion air, which vary by unit but will be in the manual. If a gas water heater is in a closet, it will need to have louvered doors and also be in a bedroom large enough to satisfy the requirement or air will need to be brought in from the attic or exterior. You need to find those intakes and make sure to tell the tenant to to cover them. Building something that makes that impossible would be even better.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:25 AM
 
392 posts, read 277,181 times
Reputation: 666
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmellc View Post
Our WH is in the crawl space. We have had 2 to rupture & flood the space. S small irritation in crawl space but would be a disaster inside.

We do have extremely hard water too, so that makes a difference. Talk to an experienced plumber in your area. Ask his opinion on whether a rupture is likely. A drip pan will contain a slow leak but not a rupture.
Mine's in my basement and it ruptured and the water went all over my cement floor. It' electric and wasn't that old, just a few years. They don't make them to last past 6 years these days., or so I was told. I was glad that it was in the "cellar" and not the semi-finished part.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:27 AM
 
23,086 posts, read 21,072,068 times
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What about an electric water heater for on demand hot water only for the shower? We have a problem with lime scale build up / hard water and lack of hot water when the shower runs in winter. Next to the shower is a pretty big closet with a small wall access panel for the shower pipes. If these water heaters are small like I've seen under sinks( guessing a shower one would be larger) it could fit there, right? It would be electric, not gas. Would there be a holding tank needed? That might take up some room.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:33 AM
 
3,740 posts, read 1,305,207 times
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No, no, no! You cannot have a WH in a bedroom closet that draws it's combustion air from the bedroom (living space), It must draw that air from the outside. Make sure yours does. And don't rely on a Home Inspector to catch this or know about it. As a long-time General Contractor and one-time Home Inspector, I find a majority of Home inspectors are not that knowlegable of building codes...

From the 2003 IRC:
"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. Direct-vent water heaters are not required to be installed within an enclosure."

From the 2003 IMC:
"303.3 Prohibited locations.
Fuel-fired appliances shall not be located in, or obtain combustion air from, any of the following rooms or spaces:
1. Sleeping rooms.
2. Bathrooms.
3. Toilet rooms.
4. Storage closets.
5. Surgical rooms.
Exception: This section shall not apply to the following appliances:
1. Direct-vent appliances that obtain all combustion air directly from the outdoors.
2. Solid fuel-fired appliances, provided that the room is not a confined space and the building is not of unusually tight construction.
3. Appliances installed in a dedicated enclosure in which all combustion air is taken directly from the outdoors, in accordance with Section 703. Access to such enclosure shall be through a solid door, weather-stripped in accordance with the exterior door air leakage requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code and equipped with an approved self-closing device."
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:17 AM
 
2,177 posts, read 1,052,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nidss77 View Post
its on the concrete floor.....I can look at those details or rather inspector will, but I am assuming this is all according to code as this condo was built by a well known regional builder.

My issue is mostly optics or how it would be a turnoff to the tenant....? assuming its all safe
Is it a gas water heater? Tank or tankless? If it is a tank- no.(It can blow in certain circumstances and burst)
If it is gas tank- double no. It could create CO2 in addition to blow and la leak.
If it is tankless gas- if all air comes and goes out to an outside exterior wall- maybe, not my first choice.
Electric tankless is ok, just a nuisance? There are other things you could use your closet and water pipes could develop a leak, etc
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:20 PM
 
5,747 posts, read 2,834,673 times
Reputation: 10579
As long as the heater is code compliant as installed, I would add a wags valve or other automatic water shut off valve in the event the heater fails and springs a leak, especially if it’s going to be a rental unit!

It’s really inexpensive insurance !
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
16,313 posts, read 60,490,631 times
Reputation: 21029
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody01 View Post
No, no, no! You cannot have a WH in a bedroom closet that draws it's combustion air from the bedroom (living space), It must draw that air from the outside. Make sure yours does. And don't rely on a Home Inspector to catch this or know about it. As a long-time General Contractor and one-time Home Inspector, I find a majority of Home inspectors are not that knowlegable of building codes...

From the 2003 IRC:
"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. Direct-vent water heaters are not required to be installed within an enclosure."

From the 2003 IMC:
"303.3 Prohibited locations.
Fuel-fired appliances shall not be located in, or obtain combustion air from, any of the following rooms or spaces:
1. Sleeping rooms.
2. Bathrooms.
3. Toilet rooms.
4. Storage closets.
5. Surgical rooms.
Exception: This section shall not apply to the following appliances:
1. Direct-vent appliances that obtain all combustion air directly from the outdoors.
2. Solid fuel-fired appliances, provided that the room is not a confined space and the building is not of unusually tight construction.
3. Appliances installed in a dedicated enclosure in which all combustion air is taken directly from the outdoors, in accordance with Section 703. Access to such enclosure shall be through a solid door, weather-stripped in accordance with the exterior door air leakage requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code and equipped with an approved self-closing device."




Considering this is an existing unit- most likely been lived in, has passed all current codes at the time of construction (you can never quote "current" code when you don't know when the unit/building was built), it would be rather likely that there is no problem with the existing setup.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:43 PM
 
3,740 posts, read 1,305,207 times
Reputation: 4216
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Considering this is an existing unit- most likely been lived in, has passed all current codes at the time of construction (you can never quote "current" code when you don't know when the unit/building was built), it would be rather likely that there is no problem with the existing setup.
I would normally agree with you, however this particular situation is one that can create a potentially hazardous situation......the same issue with not having a garage adjacent to a bedroom. And if any contractor touches this in any way t modify it, they'd better do it right or any future mishaps would be be their responsibility. And note that this code is 2003, 17 years ago. If I were the OP, I'd do it right.

But I do get your point.
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