Every year with out fail a snow storm rolls into town and dumps the wonderful white stuff high on the ground all around. It’s a beatiful sight. Quiet and bright. But wait a minute, did my new furnace get even quieter, and it’s getting colder in here. The power’s on, the thermostat’s working. What could be wrong?
Well, it could be that the outdoor furnace vents are plugged. That new high efficiency furnace likely has two pipes installed to the outside of the house. One is for exhausting combustion gases for the furnace, and the other brings outside air in for that same process. When the snow builds up too high, it can block the pipe that draws air in. When this happens, a safety device in the furnace senses the problem, and will shut the system down.
This happens more often when it’s a big snow, but accumulation of snow over time or even swirling snow can have the same effect. Sometimes, even steam from the exhaust pipe enters the intake pipe (although this is rare with properly installed venting), and freeze which will also shut your furnace down. This is a nuisance and usually more than a bit uncomfortable.
The solution is simple. Keep an eye on the vents. Every so often, check the snow level near the pipes. Try to keep it at least 12″ from the bottom of the pipe terminations. Make sure nothings has been pulled into the inlet vent to block the air from getting in.
Our service technicians can be kept busy in the winter just cleaning snow that’s blocking vents. The inconvenience and the cost are all avoidable by just checking and clearing every so often.
While you’re out shoveling the snow off the driveway and the walks, peek around the corner and do a quick inspection. And while you’re at it, check the water heater vent as well. Enjoy the snow and have a safe and happy winter!!