You’ve probably heard of the concept of mechanical rooms, but have you ever considered what is a mech room in a house? Depending on what’s in it, they are also called boiler rooms and electrical rooms. A mechanical room houses the temperature management of the building.
We will be going over the detailed definition of mechanical rooms, the various types of mech rooms, the do’s and don’ts of installing a mech room, and alternatives to mech rooms that may better suit your needs.
What is a mech room in a house?
As you’ve probably guessed, mech room is short for mechanical room. It refers to a room within a house that shelters numerous mechanical pieces of equipment used to control the building environment.
Oftentimes, this room is referred to as the boiler room or the electrical room, particularly if the room contains a boiler or electrical equipment. Mechanical rooms can vary based on the type of equipment being stored. Regardless, the purpose of the mech room is to manage one or more aspects of a building’s functionality.
What is a mechanical room?
Before their use in households, mechanical rooms solely referred to the room in a building dedicated to maintaining its mechanical and electrical systems. The larger the building, the larger the mechanical room. This is because they require more space to maintain more significant structures’ temperature, electrical, and mechanical well-being.
There are many types of equipment that you may find in a mechanical room. They include but are not limited to air conditioning systems, heat exchangers, water heaters, water pumps, and sprinkler distribution pipes and pumps (1).
You may also find backup electrical generators, electrical panels, elevator machinery, air handlers, and equipment that require storage. A stationary engineer or a technician typically manages this equipment, and control systems maintain HVAC cycles in modern buildings.
Types of mech rooms
The term mechanical room has become somewhat of an umbrella term nowadays. It can refer to a room with a combination of mechanical equipment, electrical equipment, and other related machinery. As you’d expect, an electrical room refers to mechanical rooms that are heavy in electrical circuitry and electrical panel equipment.
In contrast, a boiler room has large water heaters and pumps as its main feature. Many mechanical rooms feature a combination of electrical and mechanical equipment.
Safety considerations when installing a mech room
If you’re planning to install a mechanical room in your house, there are a few things you should adhere to and many things you should avoid. Once installed, you will also need to keep a few things in mind to ensure safety is upheld. Also, to ensure no major disasters occur in your home’s mech room.
With that being said, here is a list of the key do’s and don’ts when it comes to managing a mech room in your house:
Abide by city codes
City codes are in place to regulate workspaces in cities and urban areas. They consist of rules designed to uphold the safety of the building’s mechanical systems. They keep you, and the building’s inhabitant’s out of harm’s way.
Most local building codes require at least 3 feet of distance between electrical panels. They also require that you keep hazardous or combustible materials out of the vicinity.
Ensure proper duct system is in place
Make sure there is enough space for ductwork to run its full distance without too many bends and turns.
Ductwork should be run opposite the floor joists. You should keep window pockets at least a couple of feet off the beam to give sufficient space for the duct lining. To ensure this is the case, allow enough room for ductwork by choosing a large enough space for your mech room to be located.
Ensure the room is located near the garage
If your house has a garage, then a nearby room could be the ideal place to situate your mechanical room. This is because rooms near the garage have the longest heat runs. So, having the mechanical room close to them means they will have equal efficiency with the rest of the house regarding their HVAC access.
Keep the room clean
This is obvious, but keeping the mechanical room clean has a lot more weight than keeping a bedroom clean (though I’d recommend doing both!). This is because dust and dirt, while unlikely, could potentially cause internal damage to the machinery and electrical systems in the mech room. This can cause unexpected complications and costs.
Regularly sweeping the room and wiping down the equipment prevents major hazards. You also promote the quality and longevity of your mech room’s most vital machinery.
Keep hazardous materials out
Another obvious but important one is to keep hazardous or combustible materials out of sight of the mech room (2). Some examples of dangerous items that should be kept out of the mechanical room include gas cans or any other type of fuel.
Most codes advise that hazardous materials should be stored in a secure place as far away from machinery and electrical equipment as possible.
It can be easy to lose track of the well-being of your mechanical room, particularly when you consider it is a rather undesirable room to enter in a house. Mech rooms tend to get forgotten over time, leading to a build-up of dirt and dust if you have kids, hazardous materials, and unwanted items potentially getting in.
Alternatives to mech rooms
Several alternatives exist to storing HVAC and other mechanical equipment and machinery in a mech room. These alternatives would suit anyone who needs extra living space in their house and can’t afford to waste a room on mechanics.
For those who don’t know, crawl space is the area underneath a floor or roof that provides access to electric circuits and plumbing pipes. There is usually sufficient space to place your mechanical machinery and duct lines in these areas. However, it will require some intricate handy work and likely requires the help of a professional.
This can be an ideal solution to not having a mech room as it is typically an unused space in the house. In addition, this allows for smooth duct transitions and the placement of backup generators and water boilers.
Another alternative to mechanical rooms is to make a conditioned basement or attic, provided your house has one. You can line up your ductwork along the basement floor, wall, or ceiling. You can also easily place heavy items such as backup generators and air handler machinery here.
Unfortunately, these alternatives do not work nearly as well as a dedicated mechanical room. They are often unkept places that are more prone to collecting dirt and dust. For the best results with your mechanical equipment and machinery, a mech room is unmatched in providing a clean and stable environment that is easily monitored and cleaned.
Final thoughts on mech rooms
On a final note, mechanical rooms are a fantastic way of keeping your home’s machinery, electrical circuits, and other additional equipment in a safe environment. Here, it can maintain the functioning of your home with effectiveness and efficiency.
Of course, you’ll need to follow the safety precautions as advised. Follow the codes set in place by your local government to create a safe mech room for you and the family.
What is a mech room in a house FAQ
What is the purpose of a boiler room?
The main purpose of a boiler room is to hold the equipment and machinery related to the hot water systems of your home. They typically consist of large metal tanks with a thermostat and pipelines attached to it to supply the home’s plumbing with hot water.
What is an electro-mechanical room?
An electro-mechanical room is essentially a standard mech room comprising electrical equipment and mechanical machinery. Water boilers may also be present. Depending on the type of equipment and machines stores in the mech room, the name may vary to titles such as boiler room, mechanical room, electrical room, or even lighting room.
What is a technical room?
A technical room is another name for a mech room. This room shelters all the home’s mechanical systems and equipment. The term technical room is seldom used to refer to those used in households. Employees in the information technology industry more widely use it.
What is an electrical room?
An electrical room is another name for a mech room or a mechanical room. It refers to a room in houses or commercial buildings that store equipment related to the structure’s functionality. Such equipment typically involves electrical panels, water tanks, elevator machinery, ductwork, and backup generators.
What can be stored in a mechanical room?
Many things can be stored in a mechanical room as long as they maintain the home or building’s operations. Such items include, but are not limited to, electrical panels, elevator machinery, large boiler tanks, HVAC ductwork systems, and power generators.
What is electrical room called?
An electrical room, more commonly known as a mech room, is a room in a house or building that stores the structure’s electrical and temperature regulation equipment. Other names for an electrical room include boiler room, mechanical room, electro room, or technical room.