I am building out my shop in my basement. I unfortunately have to share
space with 2 gas water heaters. I would like to enclosed them/put them
behind a wall but am unsure how to go about it. My thoughts right now are
to use 5/8" fire rated drywall perhaps with a vent of some kind in the wall.
I'm also thinking of making the wall hinged like a big door so the water
heaters are accessible for service.
I suppose I could also move the water heaters - it wouldn't be that big of a
job, but an unpleasant one.
A water heater can be enclosed but the enclosure has certain
requirements. There is a manufacturer designated amount of clearance
which may be different for the front and back ("front" in this case
meaning where the controls are) and a venting of a certain size at the
top and bottom is required. If you don't have this information
available for your heaters, you could check with the manufacturer, or
check out the requirements for a similarly sized new heater.
You can enclose them, but you need to leave room for service and also you
need air vents in a wall for combustion air to a common area of the home,
such as a hallway or even a living room. You can not pull combustion air
from a bedroom. Also you can draw combustion air from outside. air vents are
sized according to the BTU ratings, more BTU=bigger vents.
I would find information for you specific heaters and what local code
requires. It may be as easy as enclosing them behind double wide doors for
service, and adding a vent at the floor and ceiling for combustion air.
You can hide these things, but there WILL come an inconvenient time when
they will need service. New ones are typically larger than the old ones,
being better insulated, etc. Trying to get the old one out is less than
half the problem, believe me.
That said, I share my California usta-be-a-garage workshop with a large gas
water heater. Making certain that the solvents are properly accounted for,
there is very little to cause me concern, really.
Of course, my shop is built for comfort, not for speed. ;-)
Easy enough to enclose. Check to see what the minimum distances are. The
manual probably spells that out. And think of how you'll have to get in
there some day to replace one or both of them.
There is some information here:
Note what they say about the use of aerosols also.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.