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Enclosing water heater/furnace in workshop?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 08-13-2020 06:01 PM 461 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

802 posts in 2956 days


08-13-2020 06:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question workshop furnace water heater

Hi LJ, it’s been YEARS since I’ve been on the board and this is my first post in a long time. I’m going to be moving to a new house in about two weeks, and I’ll be able to upgrade my shop to a much larger utility room. Unfortunately, the water heater and two furnaces are in one corner of the room, so I’ll need to enclose them to keep away sawdust.

So, my question is – what’s the best way to do this? I assume I’ll want to build a closet around them, but they’ll also need airflow, right? And if the air is coming from my shop, it will be carrying sawdust. (I’d initially considered industrial curtains, but I don’t think they’ll do a good enough job keeping dust away – will they?)

The fixtures are in an interior-facing corner (i.e., the other side of the walls are a hallway and family room), so I could just cut out some drywall and install vents allowing airflow in/out of the adjacent room/hallway – would that work? Or should I plan to install vents with filters in the closet walls (i.e., allowing and filtering air from the shop into the closet)? Or is there something else I’m missing?

I’m excited about my new shop, and I want to make sure I get this right the first time.

Edit: given that this corner is adjacent to a hallway and the family room, I could also build solid, airtight walls around the appliances in my shop and cut the access doors/panels into hallway/family room, although then I might have to make a bigger closet to allow access to the front of the appliances (they aren’t installed facing the walls, obviously).

Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


11 replies so far

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Andybb

2831 posts in 1451 days


#1 posted 08-13-2020 10:29 PM

I’d build the enclosure and cut a hole that a standard heater/ac filter would fit in and be done with it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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NashvilleEd

1 post in 38 days


#2 posted 08-14-2020 01:10 AM

I’m in the HVAC trade and if they are gas appliances you have to make sure that there is ample combustion air getting into the closet you make. If they are all electric than that is not an issue. If they are gas appliances hire a HVAC contractor to look at your design. Gas appliances that don’t have enough combustion air can back draft down the vent pipe and bring carbon dioxide into a structure. Creating a deadly problem.

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John Smith

2655 posts in 1011 days


#3 posted 08-14-2020 02:17 PM

Dan – back in the ‘70s, I was renting a home that had gas appliances.
I have never lived in a home with a gas water heater in the garage.
on a cold winter day, I was pumping some lacquer through an airbrush.
what started out as a 2 minute project turned into about 20 minutes.
the air was filled with lacquer fumes when I heard this WHOOOSSSHHHHHH
when the gas HWH kicked on !!!
fearing instant combustion of the fumes, I flung the garage door open and
got the family out of the home – called the fire dept, they evacuated the homes
close to mine for over an hour until they deemed it safe to re-enter the homes.
I will never forget that for as long as I live. it was a real inconvenience to my neighbors.
and took away valuable time from the fire department to attend to my stupid errors.
so it is not just the dust that is a danger to an enclosed space, it is also the finishes you use.

just put a lot of thought into the ” WHAT IF ” scenarios – and be safe about it.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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AndyJ1s

414 posts in 603 days


#4 posted 08-14-2020 05:30 PM

This is one reason building codes today require gas HWHs in garages to be in separate enclosures, with combustion air supplied from outside the garage (the attic above the garage is acceptable). The door to the enclosure also has to be gasketed, and the HWH must be some minimum distance above the floor of the garage. In my area, replacement HWHs in existing garages must be installed per the new codes.

I also store gasoline for the lawn equipment in the garage, in a Justrite Type II safety can. Mine was made in the USA, but it looks like newer Justrite Type II safety cans are made in China. Mine keeps the gasoline longer before deteriorating too.

-- Andy - Arlington TX

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ibewjon

1937 posts in 3641 days


#5 posted 08-14-2020 07:16 PM

One difference MIGHT BE, is if the appliances have combustion air piped in from outside. My boiler has an exhaust pipe, AND an intake pipe for combustion air. It is very efficient, and would be safe in your situation. Most water heaters and furnaces draw air from the room they are in. And that would be carbon MONOXIDE, not dioxide that would come down the chimney. CO is deadly.

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ocean

212 posts in 1681 days


#6 posted 08-14-2020 07:25 PM

Just my two cents but I would call in a A/C heating contractor for some advise. Pass a few ideas by them and be safe.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

802 posts in 2956 days


#7 posted 08-14-2020 07:34 PM

Thanks for the advice, everyone. We don’t move until August 26, so I’ll have to wait until then to look more closely at what type of furnaces and water heater I’m working with. And it sounds like no matter what I’ll want to call in a HVAC contractor to consult.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1535 posts in 2800 days


#8 posted 08-14-2020 09:27 PM



Thanks for the advice, everyone. We don t move until August 26, so I ll have to wait until then to look more closely at what type of furnaces and water heater I m working with. And it sounds like no matter what I ll want to call in a HVAC contractor to consult.

- ADHDan

I agree that having someone with expertise come in is a good idea. I think you would want to have the space vented to the outside if at all possible. That said, many of us ( myself included) have basement shops where the gas furnace and water heater are not isolated. I rely on the best dust collection I can muster and I do not use finishes with volatile organic vapors or other organic solvents. The ignition sources are well away from my work area. 40+ years and counting.

The fact that you have purchased a new house and do not know what type of furnace and water heater it has astounds me.

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Aj2

3325 posts in 2646 days


#9 posted 08-14-2020 11:20 PM


Thanks for the advice, everyone. We don t move until August 26, so I ll have to wait until then to look more closely at what type of furnaces and water heater I m working with. And it sounds like no matter what I ll want to call in a HVAC contractor to consult.

- ADHDan

The fact that you have purchased a new house and do not know what type of furnace and water heater it has astounds me.

- Kazooman

I was thinking the same thing. In all fairness to the op his nickname is ADHDan. Attention deficit disorder? :)
I would not like to have a water heater/furnace in my shop.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1937 posts in 3641 days


#10 posted 08-15-2020 01:33 PM

In reality, I think there are very few people who have any clue about their heating / cooling system. Those who understand are mostly building trades, or experienced home owners. If the home is warm or cool, and there is hot water in the shower, that is enough knowledge for most.

View Carol's profile

Carol

93 posts in 1361 days


#11 posted 08-15-2020 01:53 PM

have to agree with ibewjon, with so many other things on the mind of the homeowner, it’s no surprise that you might not know what kind of furnace or water heater you have. also have to 2nd getting an expert involved; an hvac pro at the very least.

-- Carol

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