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Stoves in Residential Garages

Mar 25, 2013
Stoves in Residential Garages
  • Can you put a wood stove, pellet stove or coal stove in a residential garage?

    The answer is usually NO.

    The guidelines in this case are those written by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). These are accepted and considered as the "base" code for most places in the USA.

    As per the enclosed snippet, NFPA 211 states:

    Location of Appliances.

    12.2.4 Solid fuel burning appliances shall not be installed in any garage.

    Additionally, 12.2.3 forbids installation anywhere gasoline or other flammable vapors may be present.

    Note: There has been some discussion as to the meaning of the term "garage". There is little doubt that this refers to an attached garage which has large door opening, and therefore CAN be used for storing automobiles. However, some inspectors and experts have allowed "ignition source" appliances in detached garages (shop, by their definition). Still, if such "shops" are used for wood working, car repair, etc. then BOTH 12.2.3 and common sense would dictate that any source of ignition not be present, especially close to the floor, where vapors tend to build up.

    Note - These guidelines apply to other heaters besides just solid fuel! Note this question and answer from:
    http://www.warmair.com/html/OilFurnaceInGarage.shtml

    Q. Room over garage is being converted to living space. Can I install a furnace in the garage and duct up into the rooms.

    A. An oil furnace may be installed in the garage with the following cautions:

    1. The furnace must have “sealed combustion”, meaning no open flame. The modern oil furnace meets this requirement.

    2. The burner must be 18 inches above the floor.

    3. Combustible air should be piped directly to the furnace, garage air should not be used.

    4. A barrier or curb must be installed to prevent a car from striking the furnace.

    5. The furnace cannot heat the garage and the space above it, one or the other. Air from the garage cannot be shared with the space above it.

    6. Ducts must be fireproof or enclosed in fire code sheet rock.

    Moral of the story - do not install solid fuel appliances in attached residential garages in the USA. For other heaters, detached garages, shops and outbuildings, consult the owners manual for your particular choice of heating products...and/or your local fire and building officials.
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