Gas hot water heater in the shop

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Forum topic by bigdave posted 06-03-2009 07:36 AM 2244 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 2707 days

06-03-2009 07:36 AM

Hi all. I’m brand new to this and am in the process of setting up a small shop in my 13’ by 21’ single car garage attached to my home. I have a gas hot water heater in the corner. It is, of course, properly vented to the outside and all. My problem is what dangers does this involve? All I currently have as far as dust removal is my Shop Vac. Is the dust in the air a problem with the flame of the heater? Can I enclose the heater with a box/closet type of setup (assuming I allow proper ventilation of course)? Any suggestions from you folks who’ve been around these type of situations would be great.

By the way, thanks so much for all the welcome emails when I signed up last week. What a group!! I’ve been a member of a lot of forums over the years but have never been so warmly welcomed anywhere else like I was here. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this crowd and getting to where I can offer more than questions!!

Have a great day and thanks in advance for any responses.

7 replies so far

View tomakazi's profile


684 posts in 2706 days

#1 posted 06-03-2009 07:49 AM

I’ve been working in the same situation for 30 years and haven’t had a problem. It could potentally cause a problem, but would be very odd. Just keep it clean around the heater. Avoid finishing around the heater. You could close it in easy enough just vent it proper.

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 2749 days

#2 posted 06-03-2009 08:07 AM

Agree with tomakazi, in my old house….I had a two car garage with a gas water heater in the shop….never had any problems. But I kept the shop well ventilated….and ended up enclosing the heater anyways. I think it cost me a whole $50 for everything to enclose it.

-- Don S.E. OK

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#3 posted 06-03-2009 04:00 PM

Remeber, in the fire dept we say if it grows, it blows. Dust is an explosive material in the air. Keep the concentrations LOW!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 06-03-2009 04:45 PM

Hey Dave
I’ve had one in my shop for years but each shop is different it depends on how close fumes will be when finishing will be and if a heavy concentrations of saw dust will be close to the open flame of the pilot.

-- Custom furniture

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2887 days

#5 posted 06-03-2009 05:16 PM

Bigdave, if you do enclose and vent, I would use a direct vent from the outside air and make it several feet away from the exhaust. Also be careful not to create the perfect nesting sight for local pests. A birds nest or a bloated asphyxiated opossum may be big trouble in the making. Sounds like others have been successful with gas and sawdust. It’s not my first choice of situations. If the heater is old and needs replacing anyway you may look at just moving it elsewhere or changing to electric. No flame, no fumes and with gas prices fluxuating, maybe same operating cont. There’s my unqualified two cents worth.
Best of luck, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#6 posted 06-03-2009 08:51 PM

I’ll throw out another couple cents worth if you think aobut changing the heat. Forced air electric furnace is the worst possible way to heat a home. Individual room heaters are much more efficient.

OOps!! It’s a water heater :-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bigdave's profile


27 posts in 2707 days

#7 posted 06-05-2009 05:39 PM

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all the replies. Since I don’t see myself making too much dust in the foreseeable future with my new hobby I think I’ll leave things as they are for now. (which I’m fast becoming very addicted to, by the way. Or, am I actually just becoming addicted to the pursuit of equipment and setting up the “shop”, since so far that’s pretty much all I’m accomplishing? LOL! Anyway . . . .)

By year’s end I plan to upgrade to a tankless unit and it’ll be up out of the way. Might even install it outside since freezing isn’t a major concern in my neck of the woods.

Again, thanks for all the timely advice. You folks rock!

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