Financial hardships can compel anyone to make changes to the organization of the home to accommodate everything.
If you’ve had to reorganize the home to free some space, you’ve probably thought of a water heater in your bedroom and even actualized it.
So, Is It Safe to Have a Water Heater in The Bedroom?
No, but it depends. Direct vent water heaters are good at expelling their waste gases outdoors – it is safe to share a bedroom with this kind of device. Also, if your water heater is separated from the rest of the room with a strong weather-stripped self-closing door, then it would be relatively safe to sleep nearby. Still, homeowners are always discouraged from living too close to gas-powered water heaters.
It is perfectly OK to sleep in the same room with your electric water heater. If yours is gas-powered, never place it in your bedroom unless it is a direct vent type. The combustion air (oxygen) must always be brought in from the outside of the room.
What Makes Direct Vent Water Heater Safe?
Traditional water heaters utilize the chimney to expel waste gases to the exterior of your home.
A direct vent water heater is designed to work a bit differently: a coaxial vent pipe emerges from the top of the heater, cuts through the wall, and empties to the outside of the home.
By coaxial we mean the same pipe serves 2 purposes –
- it expels the flue gases to the exterior
- and brings in fresh combustion air (oxygen) from outdoors.
This is why it’s safe to bring your direct vent type heater into the bedroom as the device doesn’t pose a carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning risk.
That’s because the device delivers flue gases directly to the outside before sucking oxygen from outside into the room through the same vent.
Four Water Heater Bedroom Considerations
1. When the water heater is orphaned or the chimney is oversize
The conventional water heater is said to be orphaned if the furnace is disconnected from the same chimney it’s supposed to use.
The furnace is integral to the proper functioning of your conventional water heater because it heats the chimney, helping reduce the chances of a backdraft.
Chimneys are designed to be heated by furnaces, especially large ones.
Things can get really bad if a brand new water heater is involved because it’s likely to be more energy-efficient, meaning it won’t warm up the large-sized chimney all by itself hence increasing the chances of a backdraft.
You don’t want the insufficient draft to occur because it will cause waste gases from your water heater to flow back into the bedroom.
There’s a quick fix for this problem though – install a stainless steel liner on your chimney.
The liner serves to reduce the size of your chimney.
2. An airtight home
Remember that atmospheric water heaters are designed to draw their combustion air from the room where they are installed.
This means problems can arise if you renovate or congest your room until it’s airtight.
Trying to use a water heater in such a room may cause the exhaust fan to create a vacuum as a result of insufficient air supply.
This situation can even get worse if the room is windowless or if you link a range hood on the chimney
. Range hoods are high capacity, so they will likely pull a lot of air through the chimney and end up creating a vacuum in the room.
3. Install a CO detector
If you must share a bedroom with a gas-powered water heater, it would be great to accompany it with a functional carbon monoxide detector.
The job of this device is what the name describes – detecting the presence of CO gas in the environment and sounding an alarm at a certain threshold.
Note that a smoke detector and a CO gas detector are two entirely different devices.
4. The noise factor
Another compelling reason why you shouldn’t share a bedroom with a water heater of any kind is noise.
Some devices, especially older heaters, produce considerable noises enough to render the room unusable.
Things can get worse if a furnace is connected to the same chimney used by your water heater.
Seven Additional Things to Do to Prevent Gas Water Heater Accidents
On top of the above pieces of advice, consider these tips to keep yourself safe in your shared bedroom:
1. Tuning-Up Your Water Heater
Consider hiring a professional plumber to tune your water heater annually to reduce the likelihood of gas leaks.
Also, always ensure that all safety mechanisms are working.
It is cheaper to pay for annual inspections than to fix damages.
2. Cleaning Your Gas Heater Often
It is considered to be good practice to wash your gas often once it has cooled down.
Regular cleaning exercises help reduce the accumulation of dust and debris on air vents and ducts, ensuring your device functions flawlessly.
3. Inspecting the T&P (Temperature and Pressure) Valve
If you are using an older water heater (those that resemble storage tanks), pay great attention to the condition of its T&P valve.
This valve is tasked with regulating excess pressure and helps prevent your heater from exploding.
Therefore, be certain to check it often and replace it immediately if a malfunction is detected.
You know the valve is in good health if it releases water when you flip it open.
4. Leaving everything to experts
Never attempt to cut expenses by trying to install or repair the water heater yourself.
It could end up costing more by creating more problems or even an accident.
5. Keeping Track of the Device
It is recommended that you switch off the water heater when retiring to bed or when no one is at home to monitor it.
Never keep the gas water heater on while you are asleep or when no one is at home.
6. Decreasing Then Operational Temperature
Never run your water heater at high temperatures. If you do, extreme burns become more likely.
The best temperatures are anything between 120° F and 130° F.
7. Installing Seismic Straps
In the event a strong storm or earthquake occurs, your water heater shouldn’t tip over on your bed.
Consider it more seriously if your home is in a seismic zone or your area is prone to storms.
Is it safe to have a water heater in the bedroom?
As evident above, it’s never a great idea to install your water heater in the bedroom unless it is electric.
However, you can compromise and install the gas-powered devices as long as you take all the safety precautions into considerations.
Still, a sizeable space should be left between the bed and the water heater – at least 3 meters.
You’d rather share a bedroom with a fridge than your water heater.