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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening,


The next great step of the house renovation is nearing, and brings with it a need for a laundry room. We're planning on enclosing a bit of the garage, which involves a gas hot water heater. I'm not sure of what restrictions I'm dealing with (as I get conflicting information online, or consistent information with confusing jargon that makes it seem to be conflicting).


We currently have a Lochinvar LTN050G natural gas water heater. It's not power-vented, and that's where I start to get twitchy. Our plans for the laundry room involve raising the laundry room floor to the level of the house (easy), and knocking a door between the garage and the kitchen (easy). The thing I'm trying to wrap my head around is that by enclosing a laundry room and providing easy access to the kitchen, I am now bringing the hot water heater into the living space.


Looking at the label, the gas water heater has minimum clearances for a closet installation. This suggests to me that installing it in the living space is adequate. The gap between the exhaust pipe (heading vertically out through the roof) and the hot water heater, though, makes me concerned about carbon monoxide.

Am I just overthinking it, and lifting the gas heater approximately 12 inches will be fine with the current venting? Is an actual closet necessary, or can I just leave it exposed? Should I look into a retrofit kit to convert the exhaust to a powered approach? Would I have to run that exhaust horizontally through the wall, or can I use the existing vertical exhaust run? If my long term goal is a tankless gas heater (outside of this renovation stage), what's the best move?


So...many...questions...



About all I'm confident in is that, if I do this, carbon monoxide detectors are in my future....


As always, I appreciate the clarity you guys bring to my ignorance!
 

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No problem raising the water heater above the floor other than fastening it to the stud wall (not Molly bolts in the drywall) so it can't topple over if there is an earthquake or if someone tugged at one of the pipes. Water is heavy so be sure that the platform for the water heater is stout and sturdy,

No problem if the water heater is out in the open. as opposed to being in a small room.

No need to switch to a power vent model. No need to switch to a wall opening above for the flue pipe.

The gap between the water heater and the flue pipe (out the roof) is preset by the hood (called a draft diverter) that fits just on top of the heater. Do not repipe the flue directly to the top of the heater.
 

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TIP: It's a good idea to install one of the pans they make for under a water heater and run its drain outside or to a floor drain, if availabe. A water heater can fail dramatically and the whole bottom falls out! Ours did that but fortunately it was outdoors (lived in SoCal at that time) and it didn't do the harm that it could in your situation.
 

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Presumably you live somewhere warm where there is no energy penalty for having the water heater in the garage. I’ve been wondering why you don’t relocate the heater elsewhere in the garage rather than install it in your new laundry room. It’s not really going to add anything positive to the décor, but you will add in the concerns about CO production and water leaks in living space.

Chris
 

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Natural draft water heaters intentionally suck a certain amount of room air up the flue along with the combustion gases. This is the reason for the gap in the hood.

You need to make sure that if you raise the water heater that the exhaust can still be routed the existing vertical flue while maintaining sufficient positive slope on any horizontal runs.

You also need to pay attention the combustion air requirements.
 

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Ours are set in a drain pan that is piped to a floor drain to the sanitary sewer with a trap and trap primer.
Other things to think about.

The wall between kitchen and garage is usually a bearing wall.
The area where the vent from the tank to the attic is not likely sealed well enough for living space.

The wall between the garage and the new room will need fire rated drywall on the garage side.
If you need air for the fire, it can not come from the garage. If you will have a door to the garage, the old door is often not up to standards .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree that moving the water heater to a different spot has it's benefits, but!

1) The behind-the-scenes driver is that we're converting part of the garage into a temporary (on order of years) bedroom, so the laundry room will be completely surrounded by the kitchen on one side, the exterior wall on another, and the new bedroom around the rest. See the layout attachment

2) Moving the water heater straight up takes advantage of the existing exhaust. Any bends occur after we transition into the attic, so that difficulty is minimized.


3) Fire rated drywall is readily available here, I could do all four sides of the room, or just the sides abutting the water heater?


4) As for climate, we're in KY, and the water heater is where it was originally installed when the house was built.



I would like to know more about the combustion air and ceiling sealing(!) concerns. The proposed laundry space is about 7'x11'. I've attached a layout sketch and a photo of the current vent (the water damage is old and has been fixed. I'm now pretty sure the original paneling is against code, and will be removed). Ultimately, we'd like to go to a tankless solution, which may or may not have different needs.



Thanks for all the advice!

 

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