I get asked this all the time when I talk about a vent being too close to the ground -
How close is too close for a direct-vent furnace intake tube?
Well, where do you live?
At this newly-remodeled house, with a newly-installed furnace, I thought this might be too close.
It's only 9 1/2".
This is the Washington DC area, in this case Alexandria VA.
We don't often get snows 10" deep or deeper. But we do. But further north this installation might be a frequent problem.
Also, the intake and exhaust tubes at this house are located in an interior corner, which can make this installation vulnerable to drifting snow.
What to do?
I told my client that he has to be aware. All I can do is give him a head's up because the way things are inside moving this higher isn't quite so easy at this point. He might have to come outside during blowing snow or deep snow falls and clean out a clear discharge area.
In my opinion, if the intake was 24" or higher there would be little worry.
You don't want it to clog! This furnace is a high-efficiency, condensing gas furnace. It is a closed system, with air coming and going. Blockage is NOT recommended!
While this might seem to be a minor point to some, to me, and given my feelings for my clients and craft, it is not minor. Safety is the "prime directive" for home inspections! Along with not interfering with the cultures of the planets we home inspectors visit as we trek about...
My recommendation: remodeling can be great! And it demands close inspection. Not everyone thinks ahead. And we don't know what we don't know. Always get a home inspection. The one minor point an inspector brings up might just be the one that saves your life.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560