Oil furnace in closet

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by griffy335, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. griffy335

    griffy335 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I never had oil heat before, so I'm looking for some info please. The furnace was installed 2 years ago in a closet space in the hallway of a mobile home. When I bought the place, there was a piece of sheetrock that had been removed from above the furnace. I don't know whether they just didn't feel like putting it back, or if the furnace really needs to have open space above it. Anyway, my brother found it and just screwed it back in place. Now I'm worried that it was taken off for a reason. Any help? Thanks.....
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Someone probably took it off to either see what was back there or to get at the flue or firomatic switch and couldn't be bothered to put it back. Either way it does not have to be there but the hallway sure looks better if it is.
  3. griffy335

    griffy335 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    thank you so much for settling my mind........think I'll leave it up
  4. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Is it not possible the air flows down and somebody left the top open as the return?
  5. griffy335

    griffy335 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Now I'm worried again. On the door of the unit there are louvered vents backed by a filter. When the furnace is running, cool air comes out through the vents. I thought this was the return. I guess my question is when installing a furnace unit, does there need to be a certain amount of space above it left open?
    ............I don't want to die in my sleep from carbon monoxide. I at least want to know ahead of time so I can load up on beer, pizza and cigarettes, which I haven't had in a very long time but still long for. Maybe I should do that anyway, just in case! :D
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    A picture or two would be very helpful here. The filtered lovers you are describing do sound like the room-air intake for the heat exchanger, but there should not be any air coming out of them, and there should be no cool air coming out anywhere for as long as the heat exchanger is warm.

    There are clearance requirements related to fire prevention, but not all furnaces are ducted in the same way. I lived in an older mobile home many years ago, and the hallway was the cold air return for the furnace closet with its louvers flush on the wall. After you figure out the flow of room air through your furnace, you need to be sure the blower can pull unrestricted air in ... and that might be why the top of your furnace closet was open even though the bottom would be better if your intake louvers are low. Another possibility here is that your blower is running backwards. I made that discovery once after a landlord had installed a new blower motor a year or two before my wife and I had rented the place. The previous tenants had complained about high gas bills, and ours dropped dramatically after I got the blower running in the proper direction.

    From wherever your furnace gets room air even before that air gets to the intake louvers, some of that air goes through the firebox and out the chimney. Therefore, a non-ducted furnace (no return ducting) in a sealed closet is being choked, and that would definitely not be good.

    It would be worth a hundred dollars or so for you to have an oil furnace pro come take a look and let you know whether everything is fine if you cannot figure that out for yourself for sure.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,249
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    furnace

    We have no where near enough information on your installation to even make an educated guess as to whether it is a safe installation or not. But you should have a competent local service person check it out.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    Keep in mind any combustion device needs adequate fresh air intake to suport the combustion. Can you post a picture of the ducts? This sounds really strange. The hot air circulating must be separate from the combustion air...the return should be filtered to prevent crud from accumulating on the heat exchanger.

    When it's running, is the air pushed out through the filter cold or warm?
  9. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Ok. My company services hundreds of mobile homes so here's what you are looking at. The furnace has the blower in the top. It is what is called a counter flow furnace. The air blowes down past the heat exchanger into the ductwork that is installed in the floor. The front of the cabinet has louvers that are the cold air intake. You are not feeling air blowing out, you are feeling air getting sucked in. The space above the furnace is where the flue is located. The mobile home manufacturer usually closes this area in with a piece of paneling or wall board so that you dont have to look at the ugly flue pipe and also to keep the furnace from sucking in any stray flue gasses that might come out there though if it's properly installed and the pipe is in good condition there won't be any. Put the cover back on and forget about it. You arn't going to get carbon monoxide poisioning.
  10. griffy335

    griffy335 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks for all of your responses; I appreciate your help. I should have started out by telling you my story. I spent most of my life paying rent (making my landlords rich). I finally scraped enough $$$ to buy this older but very decent mobile home. I do have a brother that can help me with a lot of things, and has been an enormous help to me so far. He is more than willing to do anything for me, but since he wasn't thrilled about me buying this place to begin with, I really want to do as much as I can by myself., I spent two hours at the book store yesterday looking for info on various things. I think I'll call someone to do a check on the heating system, if only to make myself content. The thermostat needs to be replaced anyway, and I really don't have any idea how to do that. I'm not totally helpless, though. When I bought this place, I ripped out all of the carpeting, replaced a wall in a closet, spackled walls, caulked and repaired holes, and I'm a pro at painting. I bought a used lawn mower and have been cutting a big lawn. Hey, I even got underneath this place and turned on the heating tape for the pipes. It was pretty gross under there, but I did it. I'm sure things will come up, and that why I appreciate all the help you guys are giving me.
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