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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    14

    Florida Building Codes-Air Handler in Utility Room

    This would be geared towards other Florida Contractor’s.
    I'm a new Florida Contractor and I have a job I'm bidding on. This is in a small 2 bedroom condo and in the middle of this condo is a utility room. In there is a Water Heater, wash machine, and Dryer. Above the hot water heater is this ugly wood stand and the air handler sits on top of it. The air handler has a slab coil with a hole cut in the side of it with fiberglass duct running up the side of it.

    I am trying to propose a way to install this with a cleaner look. Plus the new air handlers I have available all have "A" coils and you can't run the return in the side of the unit. With the water heater under it there is limited space for a return duct. The other problem is filters. The customer has to climb up 10ft to change the filter in the side of the wall with vaulted ceilings. She is in her 70's.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to alleviate all these issues and get rid of the 2x4's going from the wall to the floor and the ugly duct running down in front of the wash machine. I was thinking about putting a small apartment/condo style air handler with the return in the front. It can mount on the wall without the stand under it. Then the return I would put a grille in the ceiling and remove the filter at the other end. Turning this into a by-pass when the door is closed it will pull through that duct. She leaves the door open most of the time.

    My question is "Does anyone know of anything in the Florida Codes that would prevent me from doing this?" I don't know if the air handler in the utility room and the air pulling from that room causes issues or not permitted by the codes. There are no gas appliances in the room or the house. Electric dryer and water heater. I pull permits on all my work and haven’t run into any issues as of yet, but this is something new with me. I haven't been able to think of any other better way. I wish I had some pictures. I could go back and take some. It is the most ridiculous thing I have seen.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,871
    I'm not a FL contractor but, why not call the inspector that would normally inspect this job, and ask him, exactly what he wants to see? Here at least, they're more than happy to take the time to tell you.
    Takes all the guess out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    Is there not any room else where in the home like a closet off a hallway or even a closet in a bedroom where you could possibly relocate the air handler to where it is more accessible for any one who might have to work on it instead of being up in the air off the floor ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Fort Pierce, FL
    Posts
    15
    If this was new construction there would have to be ducted returns or transfer grills from each room. However, being a replacement for an existing central return, you should be able to do what you proposed. As long as the transfer grill to the room is adequately sized, it should meet code. Is it possible to install a louvered door to the room, or a louver grill in the door, for an additional return path?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    416
    It sounds like you will be depressurizing the closet when the door is closed and this closet also contains a water heater. If water heater or dryer or furnace is NatGas (you didn't say) I would be extremely worried.....

    Lovered grills on utility closet doors.etc are usually for makeup air. In this case you would be using them as your return air path.

    You will be pulling moisture from washer and any from dryer that isn't vented outdoors.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Plant City, Florida
    Posts
    2,198
    Quote Originally Posted by claymoore73 View Post
    This would be geared towards other Florida Contractor’s.
    I'm a new Florida Contractor and I have a job I'm bidding on. This is in a small 2 bedroom condo and in the middle of this condo is a utility room. In there is a Water Heater, wash machine, and Dryer. Above the hot water heater is this ugly wood stand and the air handler sits on top of it. The air handler has a slab coil with a hole cut in the side of it with fiberglass duct running up the side of it.

    I am trying to propose a way to install this with a cleaner look. Plus the new air handlers I have available all have "A" coils and you can't run the return in the side of the unit. With the water heater under it there is limited space for a return duct. The other problem is filters. The customer has to climb up 10ft to change the filter in the side of the wall with vaulted ceilings. She is in her 70's.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to alleviate all these issues and get rid of the 2x4's going from the wall to the floor and the ugly duct running down in front of the wash machine. I was thinking about putting a small apartment/condo style air handler with the return in the front. It can mount on the wall without the stand under it. Then the return I would put a grille in the ceiling and remove the filter at the other end. Turning this into a by-pass when the door is closed it will pull through that duct. She leaves the door open most of the time.

    My question is "Does anyone know of anything in the Florida Codes that would prevent me from doing this?" I don't know if the air handler in the utility room and the air pulling from that room causes issues or not permitted by the codes. There are no gas appliances in the room or the house. Electric dryer and water heater. I pull permits on all my work and haven’t run into any issues as of yet, but this is something new with me. I haven't been able to think of any other better way. I wish I had some pictures. I could go back and take some. It is the most ridiculous thing I have seen.
    I will look up the code on clearances that you will need, if you can meet the clearances, it should be fine.

    Below are the clearances required by FBC Mechanical 2007

    306.2 Appliances in rooms. Rooms containing appliances requiring access shall be provided with a door and an unobstructed passageway measuring not less than 36 inches (914 mm) wide and 80 inches (2032 mm) high.

    Exception: Within a dwelling unit, appliances installed in a compartment, alcove, basement or similar space shall be accessed by an opening or door and an unobstructed passageway measuring not less than 24 inches (610 mm) wide and large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance in the space, provided that a level service space of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) deep and the height of the appliance, but not less than 30 inches (762 mm), is present at the front or service side of the appliance with the door open.
    Last edited by bwalley; 08-13-2009 at 04:49 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    NAPLES,FL
    Posts
    38

    Cool

    Try with an FF AHU from carrier and return stamp grills at the door, post pics,if you can.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    14
    I finally did speak with two different inspectors. One said he wasn' sure and the dryer may be a problem. The other said it is exempt since it is residential and a existing structure. There is no place to relocate the unit. I just not fully comfortable having it draw air from that room. So far I havent come up with a way to run a ducted return. The current return is in the side of the air handler. They cut out a large whole in the side and taped it on. The new air handlers I sell have A-Coils in them and you can't pull the air from the side. Has to come from underneath. The water heater runs under this thing and limits your space. I may have to play around with it some more. The lady isn't in any hurry and I don't just want to slap anything in there and leave. I want it to be right.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Plant City, Florida
    Posts
    2,198
    Quote Originally Posted by claymoore73 View Post
    I finally did speak with two different inspectors. One said he wasn' sure and the dryer may be a problem. The other said it is exempt since it is residential and a existing structure. There is no place to relocate the unit. I just not fully comfortable having it draw air from that room. So far I havent come up with a way to run a ducted return. The current return is in the side of the air handler. They cut out a large whole in the side and taped it on. The new air handlers I sell have A-Coils in them and you can't pull the air from the side. Has to come from underneath. The water heater runs under this thing and limits your space. I may have to play around with it some more. The lady isn't in any hurry and I don't just want to slap anything in there and leave. I want it to be right.
    I gave you the applicable code, maybe you can relocate the Water heater and then put the A/H where you want to.

    The water heater would not be a probelm being in the closet as long as you meet the clearances I posted.

  10. #10

    Lightbulb Replace the water heater

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum, and only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC may post advise, commentary, or ask questions of the OP here.

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    Last edited by beenthere; 04-04-2013 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Non Pro * Member

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,033
    SpecialEdVTEC, this is the Ask Our Pro's forum, and only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC may post advise, commentary or ask questions of the OP here.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.

    Your post has been deleted.
    Further infractions may result in loss of posting privileges.
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