Can a Furnace be Installed in a Bedroom Closet?

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The factual answer is you can install a furnace in a bedroom closet. In fact, you can install a furnace in any room of your choice.

The question you should be asking is, “should you.”

You shouldn’t install a furnace in your bedroom closet. Doing so may mean exposing yourself to potential damage and accidents that can cause physical damage. For example, a furnace in your bedroom closet equals toxic fumes that can cause many severe respiratory problems.

Understandably, we know how cold bedrooms can get during Vaughan’s winters. Howling winds, sharp air gusts, and snowstorms can leave you cold, even when heavily bundled. As such, we understand the temptation of whether to install a furnace in your bedroom closet.

So, we’ll take a closer look at the downsides to installing a furnace in your bedroom closet. First, we’ll start with a close inspection of the average furnace’s working procedure. Understanding a furnace’s operation will help you see why having this device in the bedroom is a bad idea.

Let’s get into it!

How Does A Furnace Work?

The average furnace works using propane or gas as an energy source. This energy source powers a heating cycle that looks roughly like this:

  • The energy source undergoes an ignition in the burner area
  • The flames from the ignition heat up the heat exchanger (usually metal)
  • The heat exchanger material transfers heat to incoming air gusts
  • Every furnace has a blower that forces heated air into your home’s ductwork.
  • The ductwork distributes hot air throughout your home
  • The furnace also draws cold air from each room, starting the heating process from scratch

Modern furnace systems come with a control board. The thermostat in each room has a direct connection to the control board. Consequently, it’s easy for you to tweak the furnace’s temperature and wind direction as needed.

The key factor to remember about how a furnace works is “ignition”. The presence of a fire influences the answers to whether or not you can install a furnace in the bedroom closet. Keep reading to see what we mean.

Can You Install a Furnace In a Bedroom Closet?

No, you can’t install a furnace in a bedroom closet — or the bedroom for that matter.

The major component of the average furnace’s operation is its burners. A furnace generates heat thanks to fire from a gas or propane energy source. Gas and propane are responsible for your furnace’s ability to heat cold air in your homes. But they’re also the most dangerous component of your furnace.

The danger comes from the fumes propane and gas emit when they burn. Inhaling these fumes while you’re sleeping can be toxic for your lungs and other parts of your respiratory system.

A furnace literally needs a controlled fire to work effectively. A malfunction in the furnace’s ignition process can lead to a fire that can cause loss of property and personal belongings. That’s another point to consider when deciding to install a furnace in your bedroom closet.

The best place to install a furnace is a storage room. The standard procedure is to install a carbon monoxide detector in the same room. This nifty little device will help prevent fires and toxic gas poisoning. You can also consider the basement if your home doesn’t have a storage room.

What Does the Law Say?

The law is also fully against installing a furnace in the bedroom closet. The International Residential Code prohibits furnace installation in a bedroom, closet, or bathroom.

The IRC does allow furnace installation in a bedroom closet under the following conditions:

  • You install the furnace in a special room that only opens into the bathroom or bedroom. This room will be set aside only for the furnace. It should also have a weather-stripped door with a self-closer that can receive air from the outdoors.
  • You can install a furnace in the bedroom closet if it’s a direct-vent model. The furnace should be a sealed system that can draw air from outdoors independently.

But I Have Seen a Furnace in the Bedroom Closet?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it’s possible to install a furnace in your bedroom closet. The only snag is the cons of doing so outweigh the pros.

Therefore, finding a fully functioning furnace in a bedroom closet or bathroom is possible. This uncommon scenario is usually because the room was originally a utility space or garage remodelled into a room. Perhaps the owner needed the living space and was reluctant to pay the hefty expenses that’ll come with relocating the furnace.

The above scenario is not ideal for furnace installation. The possibility of a fire and toxin damage is real regardless of any attempts to isolate the heating system.

Can I Install a Water Heater in the Bedroom Closet?

This question is also popular among homeowners wondering whether to install a furnace in their bedroom closets. Some water heater models use a flame to generate heat for heating water.

The heated water passes through a pipe system to the different terminals where you need hot water. It’s a complex hearing system that requires a great deal of maintenance to ensure the device offers optimum performance. And just like with a furnace, we don’t recommend housing a water heater in your bedroom closet.

It’s best to keep your sleeping space as safe as possible. A furnace or a heater in the room doesn’t encourage safety.

Related Article: Furnace Not Working: What to Do

But I Have Seen a Furnace in the Bedroom Closet?

Here’s why you can’t install a furnace in your bedroom closet:

Fire Accidents

Furnaces in the bedroom are a fire hazard. Remember, a furnace needs a fire to heat the air in your living space. And there are many scenarios where a simple mistake can lead to a full-blown inferno.

For example, leaving the furnace unattended can lead to a fire. In the same vein, mistakenly covering the furnace outlet can cause a fire. Polyester clothes in your bedroom closet can also cause a fire.

The possibility of a furnace fire increases if you have kids. Likely, your kids can easily get into a bedroom closet. They may tamper with the system and even risk injuring themselves if this happens.

Health Issues

A furnace burns oxygen to heat the air within your room. Unfortunately, the burning process reduces the humidity present in the space. It can also cause a drop in oxygen levels. You risk suffocation if you’re sleeping in the bedroom when that happens.

Reduced atmospheric humidity comes with multiple adverse reactions. These reactions include nasal blockage, dry eyes and other allergic reactions. The winter season in Vaughan comes with dry, harsh air. Using a furnace for too long will further reduce moisture content in the atmosphere, making it drier than ever before.

People with sensitive skin may have to deal with dry, rough skin. Homeowners with a furnace in their bedroom may also develop itchy, red skin.

Poor Sleeping Conditions

Furnaces aren’t quiet, not by any stretch of the imagination. In most Ontario homes, the closet is typically a step or a door away from the sleeping area in the bedroom.

Consequently, noise from the furnace’s operation will likely travel to the sleeping area. It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep when you have heavy machinery making loud noises all night long.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Be design; a furnace gives off carbon monoxide while heating indoor air. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that can cause death under toxic exposure conditions. Therefore, its presence in your room will mean poor indoor air quality.

Sleeping in a poorly ventilated room with a working furnace can mean carbon monoxide poisoning. You risk respiratory issues like asthma, difficulties breathing, organ irritation and other serious health complications.

How to Choose a Location for Your Furnace

Above, we’ve made it clear you shouldn’t install a furnace in your bedroom closet. The next logical question is where to install your furnace.

Here’s how to decide:

Venting

It’s best to install your furnace in a room with adequate venting configurations. Often, that’ll mean the existence of a pre-existing venting system or the capacity to install new vents in the ceiling.

Air Intake

While discussing a furnace’s operation, we mention that it circulates air around the room. It also draws cold air from the room before heating it up and distributing hot air. It’s best to install a furnace in a room where this circulation can happen easily.

Adequate Space

A furnace isn’t a small appliance. Modern furnaces are big and take up plenty of space. Therefore, installing a furnace in a room where space isn’t a major constraint is better.

It’s not only about the size of the furnace system. You should also make allowances for the space a technician will need to make possible repairs.

Energy Source

A furnace uses propane or natural gas as an energy source. Others work on electricity. Regardless of the type of furnace, you’ll need to install it in a room where access to the energy source is simple. Think of a room with straightforward access to a gas line or electrical connection.

So, Where Should I Install My Furnace?

Install My Furnace

The requirements we discuss in the last section mean architects often design a special room to house the furnace and similar devices. This way, even when you can’t install a furnace in the bedroom closet, there’s a ready-made room for it.

But what happens when you don’t have that ready-made room in your home. Here are other possible viable locations for your home furnace:

Garage

The garage is an excellent place for a furnace because of how secluded it is from other rooms in the home. Modern home designs add an alcove to the garage space. That way, house owners can house their furnaces in that nook without sacrificing parking space.

Basements

Basements are the perfect spot for a furnace. They are well out of the way and often see adequate air circulation. The only caveat here is the furnace’s resting position. It’s best to elevate the furnace to act as a protection in the event of basement flooding.

Huge Laundry Rooms

The presence of an existing duct system makes huge laundry rooms a viable option for furnace installation.

Utility Rooms

You can section off unused living space in your home and tag it as a utility room. Typically, these rooms should be in your home’s centre with proximity to the energy source for your furnace.

Attic

Your attic can house your furnace if space is a constraint in your home.

Not every home has a special room where you can install a furnace. And even where this designated space is available, it may be too small. Furnace systems used to be smaller than they are today. If you own an older home, you may need to remodel it to accommodate your furnace system.

What are Alternatives to a Furnace in the Bedroom Closet?

Now, you know you can’t install a furnace in your bedroom closet. With that fact in mind, how are you supposed to keep your bedroom and closet warm during the winter months?

Below are two possible answers to that question:

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are mini, portable appliances that generate heat with electricity as the heat source. Just like a furnace, an electric heater emits warm air. But unlike a furnace, it doesn’t work with gas, propane or an ignition system. Therefore, there’s less risk of a fire. You simply need to plug in the device, and you’re good to go.

Fireplace Heater

A fireplace heater is what it sounds like. It looks like a fireplace but is a heating device with electricity as its power source. They usually have a forward-facing case with embers that produce a fireplace-like effect.

The best part is it’s easy to install a fireplace heater in your room. The only complex part is attaching the legs to the fireplace heater. Other than that, fireplace heaters often come ready for optimal operation.

Final Take: 10 Common Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

Final Thoughts

You can’t install a furnace in your bedroom closet. Doing so is a bad idea that can have far-reaching consequences on your health. You also risk losing your treasured properties in a possible fire.

Our specialists at ALP Heating will assess your home and decide on the safest place to install it. Contact us to discuss your furnace installation needs today!

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