I have a house up for sale, and a recent inspector called this out (to which the buyer is requesting to be serviced). When I purchased the house, my inspector did not say anything about these, so I'm a bit confused.

Fire Wall/Ceiling Review. Compromised due to holes at make up air vents. These vents cannot violate the firewall. Recommend drywall install as these vents are not needed for make up air in laundry

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The pictures are taken from inside the garage looking toward the laundry room. The door on the left leads in to the laundry room. We have a gas dryer, so I figured some sort of air flow is needed, but the inspector claims these vents don't provide that?

Anyone have experience with this? I don't want to replace the vents with drywall if there's going to be a safety / code violation.

2 Answers 2


The inspector is likely correct, depending on what codes you follow.

If make up air is required for the water heater, it should come from outside, not a habitable space. If make up air is required for the dryer, that too should come from outside.

If the vents compromise the firewall between the garage and habitable space, they must be sealed in an approved manner. It's also not a good idea (and likely a code violation), to have open airflow between the garage and habitable space.

  • If I find time later, I'll look up specific code sections (if that would be useful).
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 1:49

5th ed. Code Check p.12 "Separation & Protection from Garage"

  • min. 1/2" (5/8") gypboard on garage side of walls common to house (309.2 "06 IRC"; 302.4 "97 UBC")

  • No duct openings into garage (309.1.1 "06 IRC"; 302.4X "97 UBC")

p.20 Ducts General: No duct openings into garage (see above)

Return Air: - Not from bathroom, kitchen, mechanical room, closet, garage,... 1602.2, 2442.5 "06 IRC; n/a "06 UMC")

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