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Question DetailsAsked on 3/11/2014

Why would a home have the water heater and heating unit under the home?

Is it dangerous to have the home water heater and heating unit under the home dangerous? Would it be expensive to replace, seems too small a crawl space opening to remove the water heater tank? Why would they have done this? Cheaper? There was plenty of room in the utility area for the water tank and the garage has lots of room for for the heating unit.

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Voted Best Answer

Having been in the heating and air conditioning business since 1975, I find the "builder" always likes to "tuck" these units out of the way. Their stated reason is more space in the home or garage helps sell the home, as that is what buyers want.

Proprly installed they are not "dangerous".

Cost to move ,sevreal hunred for the water heater and likely more for the heating system. In fact the heating unit will likely need to be a "downflow unit, to be in the garage , with the ducts being in the crawl, so you may need to buy a new unit.

Biggest issue withe the current location is access for service and eventual replacement, is limited and will cost more.


Answered 5 years ago by BayAreaAC


Assuming you are in an area with negligable chance of hard freezing, this is not uncommon. This is a common installation in California ranches for instance, frequently installed on a small concrete pad surrounded by dirt crawlspace. It has major advantages in hot air units, because then a low-pressure convection based heater can lead directly into ducts suspended under the first floor, easily reaching the entire house, if a single story >

The major risks I see are not keeping screening intact in crawlspace walls, so rodents or insects build a nestor hive near the nice warm appliances which partly blocks air flow to the combustion chamber or catches fire, and the problem of out-of-sight, out-of-mind leading to them not being maintained and cleaned - particularly if you are in an area where dust accumulates in the crawlspace from wind.

I would certainly put a fire alarm down there where it can be easily heard from the house - or preferably one interlinked with another upstairs that will go off at the same time if either alarms. I would also put a water sensor where water leaks would accumulate, again with the alarm unit where it can be clearly heard in the house.

If I were you, and concerned, I would wait till water heater replacement time to modify the plumbing so the water heater is where you would like it. Like the other comment said, will cost probably $1000 minimum and possibly several times that much to move the furnace even if it does not mean getting a new one, particularly if forced air rather than baseboard hot water heating.

One thing about the furnace - some areas are now banning furnace and hot water heater installation in garages because of the risk they will ignite combustible fumes, so that may have influenced the decision of where to put them.

About the too small a space to get the tank or furnace in or out - commonly there is a section of subfloor right overhead that is designed to be removeable to lift the old one out and drop a new one in - not enough room to work in, but enough to get the big items in and out. Commonly an entire closet floor.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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