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Shower In Utility Room

 
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:16 PM   #1
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Shower In Utility Room


I have a potential client who wants to add a shower in the utility room with the gas furnace and hot water heater in their basement. They want to rent it out as an Airbnb, but the existing half bath is too small to add a shower. I don't believe this is code compliant. Advice, please? The duct work unenclosed has a clearance of 6'7".

Thank you.
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:56 PM   #2
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


1208.2 Minimum Ceiling Heights. Occupiable spaces, habitable spaces and corridors shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches (2286 mm). Bathrooms, toilet rooms, kitchens, storage rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).

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Old 07-02-2019, 06:04 PM   #3
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Here we can have a duct going through a room I believe as low as 80” not exactly sure of measurements. We would not be able to finish many basements otherwise
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #4
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


I think the issue here is that a gas water heater and furnace must be in a separate room from a bathroom.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


A room with just a shower is not a bathroom.

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Old 07-02-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
A room with just a shower is not a bathroom.

Tom
So you're saying he should put a bath in instead? Would that make it a bathroom?
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:43 PM   #7
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Also, if by legal definition it becomes a "bathroom" and there is an electrical service panel in that room, that will fail inspection.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:01 PM   #8
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Quote:
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So you're saying he should put a bath in instead? Would that make it a bathroom?
No it will not.

Tom
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Well - this has become a lively debate. So it appears according to the ICC definition below, that it is not a bathroom if it only has one fixture. So Tom, how would you suggest I determine if this is code or not? What could make it fail?


From the NEC: (underlining and bold are mine)
- Bathroom. An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower.

I.e., the NEC does not recognize it as a "bathroom" unless there is a sink AND (one or more of the following: toilet, tub, shower).

Keep in mind that both require A SINK as THE ESSENTIAL fixture.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:14 PM   #10
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Does there ductwork cover most of the foot print of the proposed space? If the duct covers most of the area, you'll fail on the 7' ceiling requirement.

I know a service panel is not allowed by code in a bathroom, I know of no code that excludes the furnace/water heater from a bathroom.

Tom
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:34 PM   #11
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
Does there ductwork cover most of the foot print of the proposed space? If the duct covers most of the area, you'll fail on the 7' ceiling requirement.

I know a service panel is not allowed by code in a bathroom, I know of no code that excludes the furnace/water heater from a bathroom.

Tom
As long as there are make up air vents
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Quote:
Originally Posted by rrk View Post
As long as there are make up air vents
No window, will need an exhaust fan, make up air for that also.

Tom
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:18 PM   #13
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


So many of the codes we try to follow are open to gray areas and personal interpretation. Why not call the AHJ and get their opinion?

That might clear you to do what the client wants...or not. Then you have something to tell them.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:02 AM   #14
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Most condensing Natural Gas/L.P. furnaces aren't guaranteed to survive decades of high humidity and the various chemicals used by American Homeowners in common cleaning solutions for laundry and stored in "utility" rooms.

Build a NEC code compliant "closet-sized room" that has NO shelving and never to used for storage, for the Power entrance Panel. Don't forget the battery powered light that comes on when the power trips off...

enclose all gas fueled appliances in mechanical rooms that are vented to the Out of Doors, preferably with ERV devices.

Install motion detector venting in the shower room/bathroom, A shower without a toilet is silly IMHO.

A bathroom with a washer and clothes dryer is much better than lacking enough toilets .....Consider a hospital style privacy curtain between the Washer and Dryer area and the "bathroom"
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Last edited by Fouthgeneration; 07-03-2019 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:28 AM   #15
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


You cant take combustion air for the furnace equipment from a bathroom. Chemicals, hairspray etc....

You can block off the utility area and get make up air from another room. The access door to the equipment should be gasketed and have self closing capability
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:37 AM   #16
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Thanks everyone. There is not enough space to closet off the hot water heater and gas furnace - not enough clearance around them. There is a window in the room. Currently there is a washer/ dryer which they want to move to the second floor. This setup seems to falls into the "gray area". This project is in Washington, DC which is overwhelmed with a building boom now - the likelihood of getting anyone at Permitting Services to talk to me is highly unlikely but I will persevere. Because DC is so overwhelmed with building permits they now have contracted with a third party inspection firm that you can pay to inspect for a premium - also a system with great potential for corruption - pay to get the inspection approval you want.
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:52 AM   #17
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


I haves submitted this question to a private third-party code consultation and inspection firm. I'll let you know when I get a response. Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:13 AM   #18
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


Have your clients check with their homeowner's insurance before they begin this project please. You can't just rent out rooms without paying higher premiums. My sister found the insurance problem made room renting cost effectively impossible.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:34 AM   #19
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


According to my sources, this installation would not be code compliant and would not pass inspection. The shower may not be in the same room as the water heater and furnace.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:33 PM   #20
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Re: Shower In Utility Room


There is nothing about this idea that sounds good to me, but starting with a gas furnace in or close to a sleeping compartment.

I would just pass on the idea and feel good about it, there is a lot easier money to be made.

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