Buried in Snow? Make Sure Your Furnace Vent Is Not

Buried in Snow? Make Sure Your Furnace Vent Is Not

Taryn Williford
Jan 14, 2011

Have you heard the cold, wintry news? There's snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states right now (Florida escaped Snowpocalypse, somehow). So chances are, if you, dear reader, get up to look out the window right now, you will be greeted with sheets of white powder. And if that window you're peeping from happens to be attached to a newer home with a high-efficiency furnace, you might need to get out and get busy clearing up some slush. Here's why.

This is what snowy, yet well-ventilated, furnace vents look like

For once, it pays to not be an early adopter.

In many new homes, new high-efficiency furnaces vent out to the side of the building. While that's great for efficiency, ordinarily, a freak snowstorm can have that ever-important air vent clogged up in no time.

When the vent is blocked up, it's unable to supply your furnace with fresh air. Most will shut off when they begin to suffocate, but others won't—causing carbon monoxide to fill your home. If you're keeping score, CO2 leaking into your house is a tick in the "lose" column. As in, lose your life.

Instead, after you've seen snow barreling down, take some time to clear at least a 3-foot area around your outside vent. Check it periodically to make sure the vent is free and clear.

Another good thing to check? Your carbon monoxide detector. Thank us later.

(Images: Flickr member found_drama licensed for use under Creative Commons, Star Tribune)

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