Jay Markanich brings up an important point in this post. A lot of people have their windows open when the furnace is running (say a window cracked open during winter nights). If you want to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide entering your home and have a chance to alter building plans, I would ask that these exhausts be as far as possible from any window, not just the code minimum.
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All home inspectors probably have their pet peeves. My biggest involve carbon monoxide. PVC vents that I think are too close to windows or doors and furnace/water heater vents through the roof that are very short and vulnerable to back drafting are two that come to mind.
I was reminded of this the other day on a one-year inspection.
All of the houses had the high-efficiency furnaces with PVC exhaust venting. And all of the houses looked like the photo on the left.
Manufacturer recommendations say, depending on the size of the unit, that the double configuration as shown on the left should be 12" or more from windows and doors. And that the configuration on the right should be 4' or more.
The discharge of the vent in the left photo, as you can see, is about 2' from that window. In this house, that window is a room that will probably be used as the living room. But I don't care if it's a living room, powder room, bedroom or whatever. I think it's too close.
Personally I don't care what the manufacturer says. Or the code for that matter, which probably mimics manufacturer recs nationwide. Right under and two feet from a window is too close for my liking. This is a huge pet peeve.
When I discuss this with builders I always get the same answer. "The window isn't open when the furnace is running. People close their windows during the winter."
Really? Would you stake your career on that? I FOR ONE WOULD NOT.
That is about a stupid a comment as could be made.
My recommendation: if, and that's a BIG if, you have the opportunity to review the building plans of new construction BEFORE the construction is begun, have a professional look to see where things are to be vented. If the vents look close to windows and doors, try to have them moved. Any time carbon monoxide is dealt with, distance is relevant!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage