Effective Use of the International Residential Code


Chapter 1 Scope and Administration

Chapter 2 Definitions

Chapter 3 Building Planning

Chapter 4 Foundations

Chapter 5 Floors

Chapter 6 Wall Construction

Chapter 7 Wall Covering

Chapter 8 Roof-Ceiling Construction

Chapter 9 Roof Assemblies

Chapter 10 Chimneys and Fireplaces

Chapter 11 [Re] Energy Efficiency

Chapter 12 Mechanical Administration

Chapter 13 General Mechanical System Requirements

Chapter 14 Heating and Cooling Equipment and Appliances

Chapter 15 Exhaust Systems

Chapter 16 Duct Systems

Chapter 17 Combustion Air

Chapter 18 Chimneys and Vents

Chapter 19 Special Appliances, Equipment and Systems

Chapter 20 Boilers and Water Heaters

Chapter 21 Hydronic Piping

Chapter 22 Special Piping and Storage Systems

Chapter 23 Solar Thermal Energy Systems

Chapter 24 Fuel Gas

Chapter 25 Plumbing Administration

Chapter 26 General Plumbing Requirements

Chapter 27 Plumbing Fixtures

Chapter 28 Water Heaters

Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution

Chapter 30 Sanitary Drainage

Chapter 31 Vents

Chapter 32 Traps

Chapter 33 Storm Drainage

Chapter 34 General Requirements

Chapter 35 Electrical Definitions

Chapter 36 Services

Chapter 37 Branch Circuit and Feeder Requirements

Chapter 38 Wiring Methods

Chapter 39 Power and Lighting Distribution

Chapter 40 Devices and Luminaires

Chapter 41 Appliance Installation

Chapter 42 Swimming Pools

Chapter 43 Class 2 Remote-Control, Signaling and Power-Limited Circuits

Chapter 44 Referenced Standards

Appendix A Sizing and Capacities of Gas Piping

Appendix B Sizing of Venting Systems Serving Appliances Equipped With Draft Hoods, Category I Appliances, and Appliances Listed for Use With Type B Vents

Appendix C Exit Terminals of Mechanical Draft and Direct-Vent Venting Systems

Appendix D Recommended Procedure for Safety Inspection of an Existing Appliance Installation

Appendix E Manufactured Housing Used as Dwellings

Appendix F Passive Radon Gas Controls

Appendix G Piping Standards for Various Applications

Appendix H Patio Covers

Appendix I Private Sewage Disposal

Appendix J Existing Buildings and Structures

Appendix K Sound Transmission

Appendix L Permit Fees


Appendix N Venting Methods

Appendix O Automatic Vehicular Gates

Appendix P Sizing of Water Piping System

Appendix Q Reserved

Appendix R Light Straw-Clay Construction

Appendix S Strawbale Construction

Appendix T Recommended Procedure for Worst-Case Testing of Atmospheric Venting Systems Under N1102.4 or N1105 Conditions


User note: Code change proposals to this chapter will be considered by the IRC – Plumbing and Mechanical Code Development Committee during the 2015 (Group A) Code Development Cycle.
The air removed by every mechanical exhaust system shall be discharged to the outdoors in accordance with Section M1506.3. Air shall not be exhausted into an attic, soffit, ridge vent or crawl space.

Exception: Whole-house ventilation-type attic fans that discharge into the attic space of dwelling units having private attics shall be permitted.
Clothes dryers shall be exhausted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall convey the moisture to the outdoors.

Exception: This section shall not apply to listed and labeled condensing (ductless) clothes dryers.
Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the outside of the building. Exhaust duct terminations shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. If the manufacturer’s instructions do not specify a termination location, the exhaust duct shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) in any direction from openings into buildings. Exhaust duct terminations shall be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct termination.
Dryer exhaust ducts shall conform to the requirements of Sections M1502.4.1 through M1502.4.7.
Exhaust ducts shall have a smooth interior finish and be constructed of metal having a minimum thickness of 0.0157 inches (0.3950 mm) (No. 28 gage). The duct shall be 4 inches (102 mm) nominal in diameter.
Exhaust ducts shall be supported at intervals not to exceed 12 feet (3658 mm) and shall be secured in place. The insert end of the duct shall extend into the adjoining duct or fitting in the direction of airflow. Exhaust duct joints shall be sealed in accordance with Section M1601.4.1 and shall be mechanically fastened. Ducts shall not be joined with screws or similar fasteners that protrude more than 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) into the inside of the duct.
Transition ducts used to connect the dryer to the exhaust duct system shall be a single length that is listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2158A. Transition ducts shall be not greater than 8 feet (2438 mm) in length. Transition ducts shall not be concealed within construction.
Domestic dryer exhaust duct power ventilators shall conform to UL 705 for use in dryer exhaust duct systems. The dryer exhaust duct power ventilator shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The maximum allowable exhaust duct length shall be determined by one of the methods specified in Sections M1502.4.5.1 through M1502.4.5.3.
The maximum length of the exhaust duct shall be 35 feet (10 668 mm) from the connection to the transition duct from the dryer to the outlet terminal. Where fittings are used, the maximum length of the exhaust duct shall be reduced in accordance with Table M1502.4.5.1. The maximum length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.


4 inch radius mitered 45 degree elbow 2 feet 6 inches
4 inch radius mitered 90 degree elbow 5 feet
6 inch radius smooth 45 degree elbow 1 foot
6 inch radius smooth 90 degree elbow 1 foot 9 inches
8 inch radius smooth 45 degree elbow 1 foot
8 inch radius smooth 90 degree elbow 1 foot 7 inches
10 inch radius smooth 45 degree elbow 9 inches
10 inch radius smooth 90 degree elbow 1 foot 6 inches

For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 foot = 304.8 mm, 1 degree = 0.0175 rad.
The size and maximum length of the exhaust duct shall be determined by the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. The code official shall be provided with a copy of the installation instructions for the make and model of the dryer at the concealment inspection. In the absence of fitting equivalent length calculations from the clothes dryer manufacturer, Table M1502.4.5.1 shall be used.
The maximum length of the exhaust duct shall be determined in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for the dryer exhaust duct power ventilator.
Where the exhaust duct equivalent length exceeds 35 feet (10 668 mm), the equivalent length of the exhaust duct shall be identified on a permanent label or tag. The label or tag shall be located within 6 feet (1829 mm) of the exhaust duct connection.
Where space for a clothes dryer is provided, an exhaust duct system shall be installed. Where the clothes dryer is not installed at the time of occupancy the exhaust duct shall be capped or plugged in the space in which it originates and identified and marked "future use."

Exception: Where a listed condensing clothes dryer is installed prior to occupancy of the structure.
Protective shield plates shall be placed where nails or screws from finish or other work are likely to penetrate the clothes dryer exhaust duct. Shield plates shall be placed on the finished face of framing members where there is less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) between the duct and the finished face of the framing member. Protective shield plates shall be constructed of steel, shall have a minimum thickness of 0.062-inch (1.6 mm) and shall extend not less than 2 inches (51 mm) above sole plates and below top plates.
Range hoods shall discharge to the outdoors through a duct. The duct serving the hood shall have a smooth interior surface, shall be air tight, shall be equipped with a back-draft damper and shall be independent of all other exhaust systems. Ducts serving range hoods shall not terminate in an attic or crawl space or areas inside the building.

Exception: Where installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and where mechanical or natural ventilation is otherwise provided, listed and labeled ductless range hoods shall not be required to discharge to the outdoors.
Ducts serving range hoods shall be constructed of galvanized steel, stainless steel or copper.

Exception: Ducts for domestic kitchen cooking appliances equipped with down-draft exhaust systems shall be permitted to be constructed of schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings provided that the installation complies with all of the following:

1. The duct is installed under a concrete slab poured on grade.

2. The underfloor trench in which the duct is installed is completely backfilled with sand or gravel.

3. The PVC duct extends not more than 1 inch (25 mm) above the indoor concrete floor surface.

4. The PVC duct extends not more than 1 inch (25 mm) above grade outside of the building.

5. The PVC ducts are solvent cemented.
Where domestic kitchen cooking appliances are equipped with ducted range hoods or down-draft exhaust systems, the fans shall be sized in accordance with Section M1507.4.
Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting in excess of 400 cubic feet per minute (0.19 m3/s) shall be mechanically or naturally provided with makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust air rate. Such makeup air systems shall be equipped with not less than one damper. Each damper shall be a gravity damper or an electrically operated damper that automatically opens when the exhaust system operates. Dampers shall be accessible for inspection, service, repair and replacement without removing permanent construction or any other ducts not connected to the damper being inspected, serviced, repaired or replaced.
Kitchen exhaust makeup air shall be discharged into the same room in which the exhaust system is located or into rooms or duct systems that communicate through one or more permanent openings with the room in which such exhaust system is located. Such permanent openings shall have a net cross-sectional area not less than the required area of the makeup air supply openings.
The installation of a listed and labeled cooking appliance or microwave oven over a listed and labeled cooking appliance shall conform to the terms of the upper appliance’s listing and label and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The microwave oven shall conform to UL 923.
Domestic open-top broiler units shall have a metal exhaust hood, having a minimum thickness of 0.0157-inch (0.3950 mm) (No. 28 gage) with 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) clearance between the hood and the underside of combustible material or cabinets. A clearance of not less than 24 inches (610 mm) shall be maintained between the cooking surface and the combustible material or cabinet. The hood shall be not less than the width of the broiler unit, extend over the entire unit, discharge to the outdoors and be equipped with a backdraft damper or other means to control infiltration/exfiltration when not in operation. Broiler units incorporating an integral exhaust system, and listed and labeled for use without an exhaust hood, need not have an exhaust hood.
Where exhaust duct construction is not specified in this chapter, construction shall comply with Chapter 16.
The length of exhaust and supply ducts used with ventilating equipment shall not exceed the lengths determined in accordance with Table M1506.2.

Exception: Duct length shall not be limited where the duct system complies with the manufacturer’s design criteria or where the flow rate of the installed ventilating equipment is verified by the installer or approved third party using a flow hood, flow grid or other airflow measuring device.


Fan airflow rating
(CFM @ 0.25 inch wca)
50 80 100 125 150 200 250 300 50 80 100 125 150 200 250 300
Maximum lengthc, d, e
3 X X X X X X X X 5 X X X X X X X
4 56 4 X X X X X X 114 31 10 X X X X X
5 NL 81 42 16 2 X X X NL 152 91 51 28 4 X X
6 NL NL 158 91 55 18 1 X NL NL NL 168 112 53 25 9
7 NL NL NL NL 161 78 40 19 NL NL NL NL NL 148 88 54
8 and above NL NL NL NL NL 189 111 69 NL NL NL NL NL NL 198 133

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.
a. Fan airflow rating shall be in acordance with ANSI/AMCA 210-ANSI/ASHRAE 51.
b. For noncircular ducts, calculate the diameter as four times the cross-sectional area divided by the perimeter.
c. This table assumes that elbows are not used. Fifteen feet of allowable duct length shall be deducted for each elbow installed in the duct run.
d. NL = no limit on duct length of this size.
e. X = not allowed. Any length of duct of this size with assumed turns and fittings will exceed the rated pressure drop.
Air exhaust openings shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) from property lines; 3 feet (914 mm) from operable and nonoperable openings into the building and 10 feet (3048 mm) from mechanical air intakes except where the opening is located 3 feet (914 mm) above the air intake. Openings shall comply with Sections R303.5.2 and R303.6.
Where local exhaust or whole-house mechanical ventilation is provided, the equipment shall be designed in accordance with this section.
Exhaust air from bathrooms and toilet rooms shall not be recirculated within a residence or to another dwelling unit and shall be exhausted directly to the outdoors. Exhaust air from bathrooms and toilet rooms shall not discharge into an attic, crawl space or other areas inside the building.
Whole-house mechanical ventilation systems shall be designed in accordance with Sections M1507.3.1 through M1507.3.3.
The whole-house ventilation system shall consist of one or more supply or exhaust fans, or a combination of such, and associated ducts and controls. Local exhaust or supply fans are permitted to serve as such a system. Outdoor air ducts connected to the return side of an air handler shall be considered as providing supply ventilation.
The whole-house mechanical ventilation system shall be provided with controls that enable manual override.
The whole-house mechanical ventilation system shall provide outdoor air at a continuous rate of not less than that determined in accordance with Table M1507.3.3(1).

Exception: The whole-house mechanical ventilation system is permitted to operate intermittently where the system has controls that enable operation for not less than 25-percent of each 4-hour segment and the ventilation rate prescribed in Table M1507.3.3(1) is multiplied by the factor determined in accordance with Table M1507.3.3(2).


(square feet)
0 – 1 2 – 3 4 – 5 6 – 7 > 7
Airflow in CFM
< 1,500 30 45 60 75 90
1,501 – 3,000 45 60 75 90 105
3,001 – 4,500 60 75 90 105 120
4,501 – 6,000 75 90 105 120 135
6,001 – 7,500 90 105 120 135 150
> 7,500 105 120 135 150 165

For SI: 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2, 1 cubic foot per minute = 0.0004719 m3/s.


25% 33% 50% 66% 75% 100%
Factora 4 3 2 1.5 1.3 1.0

a. For ventilation system run time values between those given, the factors are permitted to be determined by interpolation.
b. Extrapolation beyond the table is prohibited.

Local exhaust
systems shall be designed to have the capacity to exhaust the minimum air flow rate determined in accordance with Table M1507.4.


Kitchens 100 cfm intermittent or 25 cfm continuous
Mechanical exhaust capacity of 50 cfm
intermittent or 20 cfm continuous

For SI: 1 cubic foot per minute = 0.0004719 m3/s.