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Code says no wood burner in garage

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by BillsWS, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. WireNut

    WireNut New Member

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    Definitely, I'm just going to put it in the basement in place of my old woodstove. Only problem for me is the clearance above the boiler in the basement will only be 12", and the manual says 24". I'm installing the same boiler you have, the 140.

    Of course, I could always build a building around it outside....talk about scope creep. :)

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  2. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    My boiler is in my old garage, reclassified as a wood storage facility.

    These rules/laws/ ins requirements are for a good reason. If you spill, or a car/lawn mower leaks gas and the fumes hit the open flame burning device, it won't go well.

    The ins co has no prblem with you putting a wood boiler in your basement, with no fire rated sheet rock, etc. But initaully they had a problem with in my unattched garage. Didn't make sense at first.
  3. quietindependent

    quietindependent New Member

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    I'm glad I stumbled across this thread. Very interesting. A few q's if I may: Why is inspector/insurance company fine with a separate building for boiler if that building may also be used to store compact tractor, log splitter, etc? Is it just because it is detached? What if my attached garage is sprinklered? Can I put a boiler in it then?
  4. WireNut

    WireNut New Member

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    For your first question...I would guess it's because they have to draw a line somewhere...I can store gasoline in my basement or even in my living space....I would guess its because a garage's intent is yo store power equipment and vehicles.

    For the second...I would ask your building inspector. I asked mine and its just a no for anything that has an open flame in a space that traditionally stores gas or gas powered equipment (like a shed).
  5. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I'm guessing that sprinklers would have very little impact on whether or not this type of thing would fly for an inspector/insurance co. Sprinklers are only going to activate after something bad has already happened. There will still be property loss inside the structure since the fire has already "started" at that point, particularly if it's an explosion of some sort.

    'Round these parts residential sprinkler systems are still very rare. Some insurance companies still falsely believe they present more of a liability than protection (leaks, weater damage, etc and so on).
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Falsely? I had always heard that was the case, and it makes sense. I've known a few snowbirds who've had these things leak or burst while they're out of state, and I've yet to meet anyone who's had their house saved by one. Not saying they don't work, but that there's just so few opportunities for them to do their thing, and infinite opportunity for them to leak.

    I've seen many of these systems plumbed in PVC, which really gives me the heebie jeebies, particularly when you note the poor workmanship in aligning and cementing the fittings.
  7. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Eventually these systems will become building code in all states...eventually. Properly installed with the proper CPVC and associated fittings they should be no more likely to fail than any other residential plumbing appliance. NFPA hasn't really started their full court press on these systems yet, but they will. It's pretty astonishing the difference sprinklers can make in a fire. It's also astonishing how fast something like a couch can go up in flames. There are some pretty eye opening videos on youtube showing such things.

    These systems are intended to protect life first, not property. That being said, repairing water damage from a single sprinkler head activating is vastly less costly than rebuilding an entire home. Eventually insurance companies will come around and begin requiring them on new construction. It's so cheap to do in new houses I'm actually shocked it's not already code everywhere...
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Your statement is very carefully worded, but I've not been in a new house in which all systems were properly installed. If you've seen one, please send photos. As to "more likely to fail than any other residential plumbing appliance," the eventuality is that they will all fail. The possible difference between a sprinkler system hidden in an attic space and your bathroom sink, is whether you notice the problem before damage occurs.

    I'm actually not against residential sprinkler systems, and have debated myself whether to install one. I'm just playing devil's advocate, as there are definitely two sides to this proverbial coin.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  9. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Ohh I agree 100%. I've seen some very, very nicely done systems that surely appear as though they'll outlive a stickbuilt house. But I'm sure there are some really nasty installs out there too. And then you have the likelhood of the DIYer giving it a go. So yes, I can agree, I'm sure there are systems out there that will cause problems eventually.

    And to your point the fact that the systems are, by their nature, running in the ceiling/attic they surely could do more damage should they fail when compared to the main floor mounted sink/toilet. If and when these systems become code they will have to be installed by specially permitted plumbers trained in fire protection. This...I would hope....should help control the quality on the install.

    If I lived in a warm climate I would have cobbled together my own system by now. The components are readily available and really quite affordable. Unfortunately, in cold climates the attic/freeze issue is a big one. I'd have to do a lot of work up there to be comfortable that the fire protection lines would never freeze....
  10. quietindependent

    quietindependent New Member

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    Thanks all for the replies. Great food for thought. Appreciate it. My build is still a couple of years away, so doing my research during the plan/design phase. I'd rather not have the wood in the home because of the dirt and/or bugs that tend to come with, but I don't want to have to go outside when its 30 below zero either. Decisions...decisions...
  11. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Are you set on a boiler, or are you considering wood stoves, as well? By, "I'd rather not have the wood in the home," do you mean storage or usage?

    I don't know much about OWB's (actually, I know nothing beyond the translation of the acronym), but we've had many OWB burners come thru this forum, and the amount of wood they consume to heat relatively small spaces is simply astounding. I'm talking about numbers on the order of 20 cords, to heat a space which might take an EPA wood stover 3 - 4 cords. I remember figuring the net heating efficiency achieved by one OWB in particular, and it was close to 30%. So, if you're on the fence between woodstove and boiler (whether outdoor or indoor), fuel requirements may be a big consideration.

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