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House Vent Pipe Tips For A Safer Winter

Posted: January 11, 2021

heating vent massachusettsIn order to keep you and your family warm and cozy all winter, your heating system needs a clear path for airflow. A big snowfall can really stand in the way of the clear airflow you need—and having a high-efficiency system won’t even help. Here’s some background:

The heating system in your home has an exhaust pipe, which is sometimes called a vent pipe. Systems in newer homes have an air intake pipe, while older homes often have their vent pipe in the chimney.

Vent pipes in chimneys are not at risk of blockages caused by the snow, however air intake pipes, which reach outside through an exterior wall, do have to contend with the snow. Once snow starts to accumulate, the system’s ability to function will be drastically reduced. More importantly, blockages like these can cause safety risks for your family.

How Vent Pipes Can Create A Safety Risk

A furnace requires fuel, a spark and oxygen in order to function properly. In newer homes, furnaces rely on their air intake pipes to provide the oxygen they need to stay lit. (Older homes are less airtight and the furnace’s surroundings provide plenty of oxygen for the furnace to stay lit.)

As the furnace produces heat, it also produces exhaust, which includes carbon monoxide (CO). If a vent pipe is blocked, the CO will not be able to get out, creating a CO poisoning risk to the people inside.

Blocked air intake pipes can also lead to system shutdowns. If this happens in your home, try these tips for troubleshooting airflow problems, or contact us to let us know immediately.

Vent Pipe Safety: 3 Steps

Your best bet for success is to have clear intake and exhaust vents. Follow these steps to make sure that happens:

  1. Locate your vents. If your system vents through a wall, you’ll see the intake and exhaust pipes coming off the top. These are PVC pipes, each about three inches around. Follow them to see from where they exit your home. If your system vents through the chimney, then you’ll see an aluminum pipe coming out of the back of your equipment.
  2. Mark these locations. Make a clear note of your vents’ locations so you can find them in any conditions, including snow.
  3. Clear the space around the vents. If it snows, be sure to shovel around the vents as soon as possible. In addition, put a broom to work to clear the vent itself. This will help you to avoid damaging your equipment.

We want you to be safe, above all. Please let us know if you have questions about your propane or oil furnace. We’re also here for you if you need to set up a propane delivery or heating oil delivery.