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High Efficiency Furnaces & Snow

Keep your vent pipes clear!

clearing house exhaust massachusettsWinter is a season full of chores. Every time it snows, you’ve got to shovel and clear off your car(s). As someone who owns a furnace, there’s one more thing snowfall should bring to mind—the vents for your furnace. Always clear your vents when it snows.

As a resident of Boston’s South Shore, you’re not afraid of the snow. But you also know how important it is for the safety of your household and anyone visiting that you clear your walkway and driveway so they’re free from snow and ice. It’s also extremely important for the safety of your New England family that you monitor your furnace’s exhaust vents and intake pipes whenever it snows and keep them unobstructed.

Why clear your home’s exhaust pipes?

It’s important to keep your intake pipes and exhaust vents clear for two primary reasons:

  1. They are both critical components of your furnace that allow it to operate properly.
  2. If they get blocked, that can cause serious problems—everything from a system shutdown to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can cause serious medical emergencies and even death.

Furnace Basics

To understand why it’s so important to keep your furnace’s exhaust vents and intake pipes clear, you first need to know some heating system basics:

  • To operate properly, a furnace needs three things: fuel, a spark, and oxygen. Scott Williams delivers the heating oil your furnace uses. And the furnace itself generates the spark.
  • Especially if it’s a newer home, your heating system may need to get the oxygen it requires to keep the furnace ignited from outside the house. That’s the job of the air-intake pipe. If this pipe gets blocked by snow, your system will probably stall or shut down completely.
  • When your furnace is sufficiently oxygenated, it ignites and produces heat and gases as a product of the combustion. The heat is your furnace’s purpose. It keeps you and your family comfortably warm. The combustion gases are an unavoidable and potentially hazardous byproduct. It’s dangerous if they accumulate. Carbon monoxide is one such gas. And not only is it extremely toxic, it’s also colorless and odorless. That’s why carbon monoxide detectors are an important safety fixture in every home.
  • When your heating system is working as it should, all those combustion gases are sent outside of your home before they can pose a danger to you and your family. That’s the job of the exhaust pipe. And that is why it’s so important that you keep it clear. If that pipe gets blocked (and snow does create a barrier to gases like carbon monoxide), then those gases won’t vent. Instead, they’ll remain in your home and put the health and lives of everyone in the home in danger.

How to clear furnace exhaust pipes

We here at Scott Williams, we want you to be safe and comfortable in your home this winter. And we know more snow is on the way. So, make sure that whenever the next storm hits, you keep your exhaust vents clear. Here’s how to do that in three easy steps:

  1. Find your exhaust pipes: Go to your furnace. If your system vents through the chimney, you’ll notice an aluminum pipe coming out of the back. If your system vents through an exterior wall, you’ll find two PVC pipes coming off the top. Follow those pipes to see where they go, i.e., where the vents end up outside your home.
  2. Mark your vents: When you find your vents, mark their location so that you’ll still be able to find them in a lot of snow.
  3. Clear a space around your exhaust vents: After every snowfall (or whenever wind may have blown snow that has already fallen) use a shovel to clear any snow around your vents. Then use a broom when cleaning off the vent itself. Don’t use a shovel for this part or you’ll risk damaging your equipment.

Scott Williams is a trusted heating oil provider serving Boston’s South Shore. Whether you’re in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can count on us to keep you safe and comfortable in your home. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries, service plans, and flexible payment options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable and save you money.