What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

How Close Is Too Close For A Direct-Vent Furnace Intake Tube?

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • January 28 2015 03:39AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich so where was the building inspector when this system was installed....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 3 years ago

Barbara - the buyer was told (and confirmed) that the permits for this remodel were inspected and closed.  What does that tell you?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Whoever was the inspector for this construction apparently missed some of the issues.  (nice way of saying they did not do their job)....

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 3 years ago

Most of those intakes and exhausts are speced at a minimum of 12" from grade. I find more than a few that are not installed according to manufacture's installation instructions. 

I have a high efficiency gas boiler. I caught my youngest stuffing big snowballs into the exhaust once. She was "trying to melt it."  I say they should be 6 feet high so they're kid proof.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 3 years ago

James - they often don't take the time to walk around to see everything.

Jim - that's a good height!  I can't find anything here that demands a particular height, depending, I guess, on climate.  But to me 9 1/2" is too low.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

 Good morning Jay. No, we do not want any blockages. I hate irritable bowel syndrome. – LOL

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 3 years ago

Me too Michael, except this tube breathes in...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

What's all this snow talk about? Does the vent exit the wall up high enough to raise it up some? Seems to me 9 1/2" is too close to the ground even if it wasn't sn... sn... snowing!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

It comes out of the wall about 13" high Fred. 

Maybe they can build a little dog house around it with pipes sticking straight up through the roof so the dog house is never without air!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay, so glad I live in Fl. We don't have to deal with furnaces or other Northerly things. Like snow.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 3 years ago

I've been there Mark!  Have relatives in Cocoa!  And you're right, they have little need for a furnace!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments