Crawl spaces are the small, unfinished, unoccupied narrow areas underneath the floors of your home. This space is convenient for storing the guts of the house, like electrical wiring, insulation, or plumbing. Like many homeowners, you might be wondering if you could utilize your crawl space fully by putting a furnace in it. To help you with this, we have collected information to help you answer the question of whether or not you can put a furnace in a crawl space.
Depending on the size and design of your house, a furnace can be installed in a crawl space. Of course, with this being a small space, it is important to refer to regulations and local codes in order to assure the safety of the house. Assuming that all conditions and access to space are acceptable, you should be able to have a furnace installed.
However, having a furnace in your crawl space may cause some issues. It will require a little bit more maintenance and checking to ensure that your furnace is in good working condition. Keep reading to learn more about furnaces that have been installed in a crawl space.
Installing a Furnace in a Crawl Space
A lot of homeowners who do not have access to a basement choose to utilize their crawl spaces to their maximum potential. With many homes having very limited areas to put in heating mechanisms, the house's crawl space may simply be the perfect place to install this appliance.
Furnace Installation Requirements and Safety
If you are planning or considering the installation of a furnace in the crawl space of your home, it would be wise to check the International Residential Code (IRC) with regard to the regulations. It is highly recommended that the furnace you have chosen should be installed to the manufacturer's specific instructions in order to ensure your safety.
In chapter 14 of the International Residential Code, you should be able to check the approved sizes of the appliance, installation area size, location, and access. These requirements allow homeowners the security of safety by being able to regularly maintain, service, and replace any parts that are needed.
Aside from the space in which a furnace will be installed, regulations of the IRC also require that the flooring must be safe and protected. The flooring should have an approved fire-proof material and in some cases, an approved sprinkler system is also required before installation.
These regulations and exemptions should be followed to the letter to make sure that your home will be safe from any problems that may occur.
For homes that are in flood-prone areas, FEMA regulations differ for many areas and may have different restrictions and regulations. That being said, if you do live in a flood-prone area, your furnace may incur damage should a flood affect your home. It would be wise to have a professional check your place over and seek their advice if a furnace will be a good fit for your home.
What are the Pros and Cons of Installing a Furnace in a Crawl Space?
While having a furnace in your crawl space is definitely allowable, one may also wonder if there are pros and cons to having this setup. This underutilized empty space beneath your home has many uses and these are the reasons that can help you decide if having a furnace in your crawl space is ideal.
- Crawl spaces are great places to hide bulky appliances such as a furnace and keep them out of sight. It also protects your furnace from weather related issues and keeps it in better shape.
- Hiding your furnace in the crawl space of your home is also ideal for families with young children as this limits their access to the appliance.
- Because crawl spaces were intended for use for other central needs of your home, installing a furnace should be easy since venting and insulation has already been considered.
- A crawl space is easily accessible, making it easy for professionals to inspect and repair your furnace should the need arise.
- A furnace underneath your flooring may cause some fire-related hazards if not checked and maintained regularly.
- The conditions of your crawl space may cause dirty air to get inside your home. Proper ventilation is the key to prevent this issue from arising in your home.
- Humidity caused by your furnace may cause problems like mold and insects.
- Additional remodeling and ventilation may be needed to properly accomodate your furnace and it can be quite costly.
These reasons should help homeowners decide whether or not a furnace placed in your crawl space can be a good idea.
What Kind of Furnace Can Be Placed in a Crawl Space?
Due to the very limited space provided, there are specific furnaces that can only be installed in a crawl space. As it was mentioned earlier, the furnace you should choose must adhere to the regulations and requirements of your house to ensure safety.
It is best to consult a professional to inspect your home in order to choose the best one for your crawl space.
Most furnaces that are installed in crawl spaces are horizontal-flow furnaces. They are designed to lie on their side and circulate air from one end and expel warm air to another.
Because of the space limitations, horizontal-flow furnaces are best suited for crawl spaces because of their height. The only downside of this furnace is probably the lower energy efficiency compared to its counterpart, but this can be resolved through other means.
How Much Does a Crawl Space Furnace Installation Cost?
Getting a furnace installed for your crawl space may range anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 or more depending on the work that needs to be done. This cost includes the price of your chosen furnace, equipment, materials, and labor charges. On average, it costs around $5,500 for most homes that qualify for this setup.
Due to some issues of having a furnace installed in your crawl space, one of the options homeowners may want to consider is crawl space encapsulation. This can lessen mold and moisture issues, prevent insects and small animals from accessing your space, as well as provide some energy efficiency to your furnace.
If you'd like to know if "Crawl Space Encapsulation is a Good Idea," you may want to check out this article.
Crawl spaces may be a small, underutilized space in your home but they can also be the perfect place to put in a furnace. For smaller homes with limited space, a furnace installed in the crawl space ensures that the house is still supplied with warmth during the colder months of the year.
Having a furnace in the crawl space urges homeowners to check the regulations and requirements in their jurisdictions before getting one installed. If all of the needs have been met and are of acceptable standards, homeowners can get this setup installed and experience the benefits of having a furnace in their crawl space.
Check out our previous posts and see what size of dehumidifier will work best and if your crawl space vents should be opened or sealed: