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Changes to the City of Vancouver Building bylaw that came into effect January 1, 2015 put severe restrictions on sidewall venting of furnaces and boilers. The current bylaw requires that the exhaust for space heating appliances be directed up through the roof, or horizontally through an exterior wall which faces a street. Unfortunately, this is not a feasible and practical option for retrofit applications where the existing space heating appliance is already vented through an exterior side wall.

HRAI staff has participated in a consultation process with industry stakeholders in 2018 to evaluate the current restriction for retrofit applications and to explore alternative approaches such as redirecting the plume. The City of Vancouver contracted with a third party consultant to complete a literature review of condensing gas combustion appliances,  which included analyzing relevant search material, industry guidelines and manufacturer recommendations.  The review looked at ways to minimize the likelihood of condensation from exhaust plumes on building surfaces and to reduce the potential building enclosure durability risks, while still permitting sidewall venting as an overall strategy to facilitate installation of high efficiency condensing appliances.

In consideration of the report’s recommendations and the current bylaw, last month the City of Vancouver issued a revised draft bylaw that details the suggested requirements for side yard venting of condensing appliances. 

HRAI manufacturer members have been asked to provide comments on the draft bylaw this month.  For more information contact Caroline Czajko at HRAI, e-mail: cczajko@hrai.ca.