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Winter Storm Coming? Keep Your Vent Pipes Clear!
You probably spend a lot of time and energy shoveling your walkways and driveways to protect your family from injury in the aftermath of a storm. It just makes sense! However, there’s one other important thing to remember: don’t forget to clear your home’s vent and air intake pipes, either!
Keeping these pipes clear is critical to your family’s safety. To understand why, let’s take a look at some heating system basics.
- Home heating systems need a way to send harmful combustion fumes outside your home; that’s what an exhaust (or vent) pipe is for.
An older home will typically house its exhaust pipe in a chimney—a location that is not likely to be significantly blocked by snow or other debris. But in a newer home, a vent pipe may feed directly through an exterior wall, leaving it much more vulnerable to blockage by piled or drifting snow. If the vent is blocked, it could cause a dangerous buildup of exhaust fumes inside your home, including deadly carbon monoxide.
- Air intake pipes are another important component for many heating systems. A furnace or boiler needs three things to do its job: fuel, a spark, and oxygen; the equipment itself provides the first two. In an older home, a boiler or furnace would often get enough oxygen from its basement surroundings to stay ignited, but in newer, more airtight homes, that oxygen is harder to come by. To keep heating equipment ignited, oxygen is drawn into the house via an air-intake pipe.
While the consequences of a blocked air intake pipe are not as severe as those for a blocked exhaust pipe, they could still cause some problems for you: without oxygen, your heating system will stall or shut down as a safety measure. In many cases you will need to call a professional to restart your system.
Clearing Your Intake And Exhaust Vents
So how exactly do you clear your exhaust and intake vents? Here’s the process:
- Find them—To find your vents, go to your boiler or furnace. If your system vents through the chimney, you will see an aluminum pipe coming off the back of your equipment; if your system vents through an exterior wall, you will see two 3-inch diameter PVC pipes (intake and exhaust) coming off the top. Simply follow those pipes to see where they leave the building.
- Mark them—Once you have found your vents it is a good idea to mark their location so they can easily be found under heavy snow.
- Clear them—Shovel around your vents, but use a broom to clear the vent itself to prevent damage to your equipment.
Stay safe this winter with reliable heating oil and propane deliveries in VT from Jack F. Corse! Contact us today to learn more, or to become a Corse customer.