Can a Gas Furnace Be Installed in a Closet? Is It Safe?

We all want our bedrooms to be cozy and comfortable. In winter, the only way to make your bedroom comfy is to keep it hot throughout the night. Nowadays, many people install a gas furnace in their bedroom closets to get warmth more cheaply. But the question is- can a gas furnace be installed in a closet safely?

Technically, you can install a gas furnace in a closet. But it’s unsafe and illegal to set up a gas furnace in bedroom closets since they release harmful fumes. You have to make your bedroom air as healthy as possible because you take continuous deep breaths while you sleep. So, you cannot have a gas furnace in a closet even close to the bedroom.

In this article, I have discussed the risks of installing a gas furnace in closets. Besides, I have also stated what different laws, rules, and regulations say about keeping a gas furnace in a bedroom closet. 

How Does a Gas Furnace Work?

Generally, gas furnaces use liquified natural gas to burn energy and create heat. A forced-air gas furnace can keep a house warm with its heating cycle. You must understand how a gas furnace works to know why you should not keep it in a bedroom closet. 

First, the furnace ignites the gas that resides in the burner. As a result, it creates some flames inside the burner. Eventually, these flames heat a metal piece that can transmit heat. The hot metal then transfers the heat to a controlled flow of winds. The gas furnace has a blower that forces the hot air into a network of tubes. 

All the rooms that need warmth get a supply of hot air through the network of tubes. At the same time, the air tubes suck out the cold air of the rooms. As a result of this continuous process, all the rooms remain hot and warm. The furnace has software that controls the flow of hot air to a particular room according to the exact temperature of the room.

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Why Shouldn’t You Install a Gas Furnace in a Closet?

Let me make things clear. You can connect your bedroom with a gas furnace system and keep your room hot on winter nights without any risk for your health. However, you cannot install the burner of the gas furnace into the closet of your bedroom. 

Toxic Fumes

The burner of the gas furnace emits harmful fumes while it generates heat and transmits them to different rooms. So, you are putting the health of yourself and your family members at risk if you are installing the gas furnace in a bedroom closet.

Moreover, we take deep breaths in our sleep for some hours. So, you must ensure good air quality in the bedroom at any cost. If you continuously inhale the toxic fumes of a gas furnace, you will get sick eventually.

Disturbing Noise

While doing its job, the gas furnace cannot keep it silent. The noise is audible even if you keep the closet door shut. Naturally, you will not like any monotonous and continuous sound in your bedroom closet.

In the daytime, your ears may miss any noise. But in the silence of the nights, even a low-decibel sound is heard very loudly. So, you should avoid installing your gas furnace in the bedroom closet for the sake of the peace of your ears.

Risks of Accidents

The gas furnace has liquid gas that burns with ignition to generate heat. Liquid gas and ignition are enough to pose a threat of fire accidents. No matter how carefully the gas furnace is installed and maintained, it will always be risky. The risk intensifies more if you keep it in your bedroom.

Think of all the valuables you keep in your bedroom. Think how helpless you will become if you awake from deep sleep to see fire all around you. The time of response and evacuation decreases if the fire is right inside the bedroom.

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According to section 304.5 of the Uniform Mechanical Code, you cannot install the burner of your gas furnace in your bedroom closet. The code says, “Fuel-burning equipment shall not be installed in a closet, bathroom, or a room readily usable as a bedroom, or a room, compartment or alcove opening directly into any of these.”

Legal Obligations

Building codes of some city corporations like New York City also forbids installing gas furnace burners in the bedroom closet. Some states also have regulations to install a CO detector close to a gas furnace if you install it in a closet. 

Building Code Regulations For a Gas Furnace

Gas furnaces are very effective in keeping a house warm at a minimum cost. But you should install them far from your bedroom. It is wise to install the burner of the gas furnace in a storage room. You can also install it in your basement. But there are some building code regulations regarding gas furnace installation that you must follow.

Room Clearance Requirements

If there is not enough space around a gas furnace burner, it can get overheated. Moreover, the whole room can become too hot to enter with a running gas furnace if it does not have enough space. So, it is wise to install a gas furnace burner in a room with ample space.

Different municipalities and states have specific requirements for room clearance for a gas furnace room. You should check for the particular room clearance requirements of your local authority. You have to do the same when you buy or rent a house that has a gas furnace installation.

Room Ventilation Requirements

There are also some specific requirements for installing ventilation in the gas furnace room. The ventilation system should be effective enough to get the hot air out of the room and fill the furnace room with fresh air from outside. The ventilation system should include combustion and exhaust vents to disperse the carbon monoxide your furnace will discharge.

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Most of the regulations require you to install one 12-square inch vent at the bottom and another vent of the same size in the ceiling. However, bigger and more powerful furnaces will need larger vents. The thumb rule is to set one square inch ventilation per 1,000 British thermal units/hour. You have to ask an HVAC professional for the details in this regard.

Energy Requirements

You can only install a gas furnace if it meets the requirement of energy efficiency. The regulation is set by the federal government by enacting the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Law. The minimum requirement for energy efficiency for a gas furnace varies depending on different geographical locations, input types, and the type of the furnace.

The minimum required energy efficiency for an average gas furnace and warm air furnace is 80 percent. The requirement is even more for a bigger furnace of the same type. In Northern states, you have to ensure 95 percent energy efficiency for your large furnace. On the other hand, the requirement is 90 percent in the Southern States. 

Now you know the answer to the question – can a gas furnace be installed in a closet? However, you must not forget to follow all local regulations for gas furnaces meticulously. Sometimes, it is hard to understand all the terms of the regulations. 

That is why I never suggest DIY approaches for installing furnaces. It is always wise to hire a professional for the job.