Furnace sucking in dust from garage?

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I get a lot of dust in my house. I noticed the front panel on my furnace is not even close to air tight. I can see through gaps and holes directly into where the blower is (which is directly over the air filter). So the blower is sucking in some air from the return line and through the air filter, but a lot is coming through the gaps in the panel. Should I somehow seal this panel better and force all air to come from my air return vent which is located in the center hallway of the house? I don't understand this design of a furnace which takes no care in keeping dirty air from the garage out.
Thanks, DaveL
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"dave" <nospam> wrote in message

The message was a little confused, so I might be off base here. There are two air supplies in your furnace. One supplies air to the house and the other supplies air to the burner. You don't want your burner to be sucking air from the vents and a lot of times the intake vent draws directly from the outside.
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Why is it sucking air from the garage. This is dangerous. If there is a gas leakage the gasoline fumes can be drawn into the furnace and could cause a fire. The walls and ceiling between the house and the garage are supposed to be protected by a 1 hour rated firewall to slow any garage fire from spreading into the house.
"dave" <nospam> wrote in message

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On Mar 3, 9:57 pm, "dave" <nospam> wrote:

If you have gas or oil, you are "sucking" air into the furnace room to support combustion and carry the fumes up the chimney. When running, a combustion furnace attempts to pull a vacuum on the whole house.
The fact that your furnace panel doesn't seal well doesn't affect that whole house vacuum. It merely allows the furnace to draw air from the furnace room and distribute it through the registers.
Building codes demand that garages be constructed to prevent garage air from entering the house (when any connecting door is closed of course). If you somehow know that "dirty garage air" is entering your house, then you have a problem with the doors and walls, not the furnace.
In any case, around here, outside air is "dirtier" than garage air.
You can seal the gaps in the panel if you wish. That will improve the ability of your system to heat the upstairs rooms.
Jason
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On Sun, 04 Mar 2007 04:58:31 -0800, jazon48 wrote:

This is interesting. My garage is attached. My furnace is in my basement which sort of borders the garage but not under it of course. I have a CO detector in the basement which is mounted on the wall that sort of borders the garage. If I run a car in the garage with the exhaust facing in, within 2 minutes that CO detector will start sounding off. The basement does not smell of fumes, but I am trusting the detector on this one.
So this would be a sign of poor construction? My house is only a few years old. The return inside the house has a vent that exits the house on the rear so I assume this is to equalize house pressure. So if any small holes in my garage, then I assume air will suck in from there as well?
Thanks for any info.
dnoyeB
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Sorry, no more info. I reached the limit of my experience with the Building Code comment. I got some bids on a remodel some years ago and the code requirements for isolating the attached garage from the house were a PITA.
One of my later houses had the same arrangement that you describe, i.e. door between an attached garage and the furnace room. I had a hefty door with good weather stripping and a well-sealed common wall.
Jason
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Actually my furnace and CO detector is in the basement. There is no door in that area. But there are some wires that run from the garage into the basement since house is about 2 feet higher than the garage, those 2 feet are in the basement ceiling area. So the sprinkler controls in the garage have the wiring going into the basement. Maybe I need to seal that hole tighter or something.
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"dave" <nospam> wrote in message

So far as safety is concerned (avoiding risks of either suffocation or fire) you should consult the building code for furnaces, available wherever building permits are issued for your locality. (Upgrading to meet current fire code norms is required by insurance firms in some places.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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dave wrote:

I don't like the idea of a furnace in a garage or sucking any air from the garage. Combustible gases like gasoline and a furnace don't get along. A garage often gets CO gas. You don't what the furnace getting any of that so most if not all codes are not going to allow the furnace to be in the garage. Also very important is the garage is a source of CO gas. CO is poisonous and you don't want that sucked up into your home.
Dust is the last thing I would be worried about.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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Hello and thanks to everyone who responded. Yes, the furnace is in the garage. Where would I be getting CO from? The furnace and water heater are both vented through stove pipes going through the roof. Here are some pictures I uploaded to illustrate better. Notice that the panel which encloses the negative pressure area does not seal well around it. There are no seals!
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dl1027/files/Furnace1.JPG
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dl1027/files/Furnace2.JPG
Thanks, DaveL

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The lack of a 100% seal is unimportant. The capacity to harm is what's important. All furnaces as far as I know are similar to yours in that the access door seals good enough.
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Where are you? In most areas of North America, furnaces that heat houses are illegal in garages because of the possibility of carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes from the cars, and the inability to provide a one hour firebreak between the garage and the house.
"dave" <nospam> wrote in message

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California.
DaveL

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wrote:

Admittedly our ranch house was built about 57 years ago, but it had a gas furnace in the garage.
I'd like to know who runs a car in the garage. You don't have to have a furnace there. What about the people who are actually in the garage for one reason or another.
I turn the car off as soon as I'm in the garage, 4 or 5 seconds, and the big door is open longer than that.
Warming up the car isn't really necessary (unless maybe it's a new car?) but I certainly wouldn't do that in the garage either, since I'd be sitting right there in the car in the garage.
As to the OP, I never figured out where we were talking about until I saw the pictures you list below. I'm sure there is dust there, but why do you think it is entering your house. That is not where the house air comes from. It comes from a heating duct that comes from someplace in your house. It recirculates the same air, minus and plus whatever is lost and regained through doors, windows, and cracks around the window glass, the door frames, etc.
The cover is just there to make it look nice. The springy part so it doesn't rattle. Heck, I haven't had the cover on for years.
The air for the fire does come in through there, but the fire is separated from the air that circulates though your house by the heat exchanger.

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The reason the laws are there is not for people who don't run a car in the garage but for safety in case someone does leave one running, it has happened and can happen. The laws require a vapor proof seal between the house and the garage. Also gasoline can leak or at least evaporate and being heavier than air, it can pool on the floor. Most areas require any flames, furnaces to heat the garage, and even electrical outlets to be no lower than 48 inches above the floor. Also if there is a garage has a fire, and cars have had electrical problems that caused fires when nobody is around, there should be a one hour firewall between the occupied area of the house and the garage. A furnace blowing air from the garage to the house would quickly facilitate the spread of the fire or carbon monoxide through the ducts to the house.
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wrote:

That makes perfect sense. Didn't think of that. Although the guy from Atlanta didn't seem to think that was the law everywhere.
And there must be 10's of thousands of furnaces in garages in Indiana alone, built prior to any law.

Why would air or CO in the garage, that is mixed with oil or gas and burnt in the furnace, get into the house? Is't the heat exchanger meant to separate combustion air from house air?
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On Sun, 04 Mar 2007 18:37:16 -0500, EXT wrote:

I have a relative that lives in Atlanta. Her home is no more than 10 years old in my estimation. The furnace is also in the garage. So is the hot water heater. The kitchen and other areas are over the garage as well.
I don't think his furnace should be sucking dust from the garage though. If his furnace filter is covered with dust from the garage, that is an indication that the air to the house is coming from the wrong place.
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On Sat, 3 Mar 2007 18:57:49 -0800, "dave" <nospam> wrote:

I think you left out that your furnace is in your garage. Is this correct?
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On Mar 3, 8:57 pm, "dave" <nospam> wrote:

Are you sure that the dust is not something else, like clothes dryer lint?
A customer of mine thought he had a giant dust problem, but when I looked at the "dust" and saw that it was thicker than regular dust, I matched it to clothes dryer lint. His dryer vent was clogged and the furnace was sucking up the lint that could not be exhausted out of the house and depositing it everywhere. Check your clothes dryer vent.
Alisa LeSueur Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician http://CleanYourOwnDryerVent.com
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TomC
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