I currently have a louvered door to get into my utility room. The gaps in the door don't allow the basement to keep heat in. Is there a needed code that doesn’t allow for a solid wood door, or am I OK in installing one?

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I’m in Denver, and the water heater and furnace is in the utility room

  • 9
    What's inside the utility room? If you have devices that burn fuel, like a water heater or a furnace that run on natural gas, the louvers in the door might be the only way of supplying the fresh air needed to enable the combustion process. Also, where in the world are you located?
    – Doug Deden
    Feb 15 at 21:54
  • 1
    Is there a suction or pressure on the door when the heat or AC is running?
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 15 at 21:55
  • 1
    Yes, are there any combustion appliances (things that burn fuel) inside said utility room? Feb 16 at 0:14
  • 2
    How much more warm air is escaping into the utility closet vs what's already being lost through the basement walls? That's a very small closet in comparison to the rest of your basement, and I find it hard to believe that you're losing that much heat through the utility room.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 16 at 14:29
  • I'm confused, does this door lead into a utility room or into a basement?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 16 at 17:23

Based on your utility room and what is in there there needs to either be a certain amount of square feet or a certain amount of vented wall space. This door would account for vented door/wall space.

If the door is needed for air intake - to meet minimum requirements - if you replaced it with a solid door you would have to add wall grills to that room. This might defeat the purpose of trying to keep utility room air out of the basement.

The bigger issue probably isn't this door, it is why is your utility room that cold? With working equipment - heater, water heater, whatever... and given your utility room is not conditioned (most aren't), it really shouldn't be much cooler than the rest of your house in the winter. I would guess that the main issue you are having isn't that door, it is probably the air gaps and lack of insulation in the utility room. You could probably fix your basement cold issue with $40 worth of insulation.

  • The venting is required for combustion air. Feb 16 at 15:45

There’s no Code requirement for any door in a house, except there must be one main door that needs to be 36” in width.

However, as @Doug Deden has explained, there could be a requirement for air intake or exhaust in order for your equipment to operate properly.

You could check to see if the door louvres are using air by thumb tacking some paper over the louvres and see if the paper moves in or out.

Edit: Ooops...I goofed. There needs to be one exit door in each unit that is 36” wide. (I said 32”.) Also if there is a door between the garage and house it needs to be a solid core door or fire rated. Also, the exit door needs to be side swinging and be able to be opened without special knowledge. (A sliding door does not comply.) There is no other width requirement, including width into the restroom. (See ICC R311.4)

  • 10
    Many localities have a code for doors leading to the garage. Feb 16 at 0:02
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    @PhilFreedenberg Oops...you’re right. A door between the garage and house must be solid core and/or 20 minute fire rated.
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 16 at 0:10
  • Doors into bathrooms also must be at least 30", at least in Wisconsin.
    – LShaver
    Feb 16 at 23:55
  • @LShaver The ICC does not require a 30” door into bathrooms. See my edit in my answer.
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 17 at 0:52
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    @LShaver I think you’re right. (You don’t know how hard that is for me to say.) I’ve never used this SPC Code and I kept looking for a clause that said “where required by ...” or for apartments or something...but I couldn’t find such a clause. It even includes repairs and remodeling projects. However, I did see a clause that said you don’t need a Permit and thus no inspection if you are the owner and you’re going to be the occupant too. I think I’d check with the jurisdiction having authority (Building Codes Department) before I went too far. This SPC thing you found is very exacting (darn).
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 17 at 3:12

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