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  #1  
Old 3/5/11, 9:27 AM
John E. Cubit, Jr. John E. Cubit, Jr. is offline
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Default Water heater in attic

Hi everyone! I inspected a townhouse last week that had both gas fired water heater and heating units in the attic.The water heater was set in a pan and plumbed to the outside,but the tpr extension was a short piece of pex tubing about 12 inches from the pan and not plumbed to the outside.the tpr was leaking into the pan and the water heater was only one year old.I would like to know what you all think about this.Seems pretty scary that these gas fired units are in the attic.

Thanks
John Cubit
JC Home/Mold Inspections
Manchester,Tn.
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  #2  
Old 3/5/11, 9:31 AM
ROBERT W. NEWLAND, JR.'s Avatar
ROBERT W. NEWLAND, JR. ROBERT W. NEWLAND, JR. is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

It's common here to find gas HVAC equipment in the attic. Every now and then I find a water heater in the attic too.



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  #3  
Old 3/5/11, 10:14 AM
Charley L. Bottger's Avatar
Charley L. Bottger Charley L. Bottger is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcubit View Post
Hi everyone! I inspected a townhouse last week that had both gas fired water heater and heating units in the attic.The water heater was set in a pan and plumbed to the outside,but the tpr extension was a short piece of pex tubing about 12 inches from the pan and not plumbed to the outside.the tpr was leaking into the pan and the water heater was only one year old.I would like to know what you all think about this.Seems pretty scary that these gas fired units are in the attic.

Thanks
John Cubit
JC Home/Mold Inspections
Manchester,Tn.
What is your concern is it that gas fired equipment is in the attic or that water heater is in the attic.

Both are allowed here not that I agree, someone is going to have to replace the water heater at sometime and they can be a B**** to change out in the attic.



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  #4  
Old 3/5/11, 10:33 AM
John E. Cubit, Jr. John E. Cubit, Jr. is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

My personal opinion is that if I had to have the water heater in the attic I think I would rather have the option of electric, and the heating system gas fired unit be at the outside unit.
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  #5  
Old 3/5/11, 11:45 AM
Jeffrey Moore Jeffrey Moore is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

It is very common here in AZ to have a gas fired heating unit in the attic. Rare to have a water heater there.



Jeff Moore
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  #6  
Old 3/5/11, 1:52 PM
James H. Bushart's Avatar
James H. Bushart James H. Bushart is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcubit View Post
Hi everyone! I inspected a townhouse last week that had both gas fired water heater and heating units in the attic.The water heater was set in a pan and plumbed to the outside,but the tpr extension was a short piece of pex tubing about 12 inches from the pan and not plumbed to the outside.the tpr was leaking into the pan and the water heater was only one year old.I would like to know what you all think about this.Seems pretty scary that these gas fired units are in the attic.

Thanks
John Cubit
JC Home/Mold Inspections
Manchester,Tn.
Water heaters fail and when they do...gas or electric...they release significant amounts of water. When someone is at home to shut the water off, the damage will be less than when the family is on vacation or gone for the weekend.

Advise your client of the danger that this arrangement could present to the home and the property within it and let him decide if it is worth the risk. Remember...you are not a code inspector and are not limited to only reporting "code violations".

(Perhaps you might want to remind your client that the first reference to a "cubit" in the bible had to do with the greatest flood in the history of the world and that your observations on potential water catastrophes should be heavily considered.)
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Old 3/5/11, 2:19 PM
John E. Cubit, Jr. John E. Cubit, Jr. is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Thanks James! Cool advice.
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  #8  
Old 3/5/11, 3:21 PM
Mark S. Tyson Mark S. Tyson is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcubit View Post
Hi everyone! I inspected a townhouse last week that had both gas fired water heater and heating units in the attic.The water heater was set in a pan and plumbed to the outside,but the tpr extension was a short piece of pex tubing about 12 inches from the pan and not plumbed to the outside.the tpr was leaking into the pan and the water heater was only one year old.I would like to know what you all think about this.Seems pretty scary that these gas fired units are in the attic.

Thanks
John Cubit
JC Home/Mold Inspections
Manchester,Tn.
John,

Just a heads up. The Drain Pan is required to be drained
The pan drain shall extend full size and terminate over a suitably located indirect waste receptor or floor drain or extend to the exterior of the building and terminate not less than 6 inches and not more than 24 inches above the adjacent ground surface



Mark S. Tyson

M Tyson construction LLC
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  #9  
Old 3/5/11, 3:36 PM
Nanci Hagarty Nanci Hagarty is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

if the home is 1 year old, the expansion tank may have failed.
if an expansion tank is not present, you may need one...




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  #10  
Old 3/5/11, 5:41 PM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbushart View Post
Water heaters fail and when they do...gas or electric...they release significant amounts of water. When someone is at home to shut the water off, the damage will be less than when the family is on vacation or gone for the weekend.
So as Water Heater Leaks go, what is an insignificant Leak James?

Any water heater "Leak" is significant IMO, so I just call them leaks and try not to use adjectives to describe them.
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Old 3/5/11, 6:04 PM
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Charley L. Bottger Charley L. Bottger is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkelly2 View Post
So as Water Heater Leaks go, what is an insignificant Leak James?

Any water heater "Leak" is significant IMO, so I just call them leaks and try not to use adjectives to describe them.
BK some people like to be drama queens anytime a water heater is located in a area that can creata damage from a leaking tank it is a common sense rule that the tank be located in a safety pan with an appropriate drain attached. Been that way since Mobey Dick was a minnow.



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  #12  
Old 3/5/11, 6:07 PM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbottger View Post
BK some people like to be drama queens anytime a water heater is located in a area that can creata damage from a leaking tank it is a common sense rule that the tank be located in a safety pan with an appropriate drain attached. Been that way since Mobey Dick was a minnow.
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  #13  
Old 3/5/11, 7:13 PM
James H. Bushart's Avatar
James H. Bushart James H. Bushart is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcubit View Post
Thanks James! Cool advice.
You're welcome, John.

There are some legitimate reasons for locating a water heater in the attic since it is usually warmer than a basement, crawlspace or garage (depending upon your location). The pull-down-stairs to the attic allows access...but is unlikely to hold the weight of anyone trying to remove a bad water heater. There should always be a catwalk built to the water heater for replacement and service with plenty of room for access to all sides of it for inspection and maintenance.

Being in the attic makes it easy for venting through the roof and, in most cases, it gives you much faster hot water distribution to your plumbing fixtures.

But as I said, the major drawback is water damage inside your home if the unit bursts or rusts out in the attic and the pan under the hot water heater can not handle all the water at one time. Many do not.

If it's already there, you certainly would not recommend moving it but bigger drain pans installed under the hot water heater with high banks and extra overflow outlets to handle lots of water in case one rusts out or bursts is an excellent idea and should be recommended. In case of an absence of these extra measures, your client should be warned of their absence and the consequences of a significant discharge. Advise them to periodically test the drain to be sure that it is open. The water heater should always be well supported with beams under it and should have a plywood sub-floor under it as well and be well braced.

Without these additional safety precautions....as I stated before, your client should be prepared for major damage if the water heater were to fail in that location.

Last edited by jbushart; 3/5/11 at 8:10 PM..
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  #14  
Old 3/5/11, 11:34 PM
John E. Cubit, Jr. John E. Cubit, Jr. is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Thanks to everyone for your help.
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  #15  
Old 3/7/11, 11:43 PM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Water heater in attic

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbushart View Post
You're welcome, John.

There are some legitimate reasons for locating a water heater in the attic since it is usually warmer than a basement, crawlspace or garage (depending upon your location). The pull-down-stairs to the attic allows access...but is unlikely to hold the weight of anyone trying to remove a bad water heater. There should always be a catwalk built to the water heater for replacement and service with plenty of room for access to all sides of it for inspection and maintenance.

Being in the attic makes it easy for venting through the roof and, in most cases, it gives you much faster hot water distribution to your plumbing fixtures.

But as I said, the major drawback is water damage inside your home if the unit bursts or rusts out in the attic and the pan under the hot water heater can not handle all the water at one time. Many do not.

If it's already there, you certainly would not recommend moving it but bigger drain pans installed under the hot water heater with high banks and extra overflow outlets to handle lots of water in case one rusts out or bursts is an excellent idea and should be recommended. In case of an absence of these extra measures, your client should be warned of their absence and the consequences of a significant discharge. Advise them to periodically test the drain to be sure that it is open. The water heater should always be well supported with beams under it and should have a plywood sub-floor under it as well and be well braced.

Without these additional safety precautions....as I stated before, your client should be prepared for major damage if the water heater were to fail in that location.
Would you make the same comments about Water Piping, Fire Sprinkler Piping, Waste Piping and or Condensate Drain Pining passing through the Attic as well James?
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