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Keep Your Furnace Vent Pipe Clear!

What goes in must come out: Snow in the pipe is dangerous

furnace exhaust massachusettsWhether you adore snow, or are counting the days until your next beach vacation, there’s something about snowfall that a lot of Massachusetts homeowners overlook: checking the vent pipes on the side of your home. Read on to learn about why this is an important task to remember when the weather gets snowy, and how you can protect your high-efficiency heating equipment, home and family after a snowstorm.

Why do you need to check the pipes, again?

Air intake and exhaust pipes from your furnace should be checked periodically throughout the year to make sure there is nothing in the pipe that shouldn’t be there. Obstructed pipes can be dangerous, especially if they become fully obstructed, causing carbon monoxide exhaust to build up, and waft back inside your home – potentially causing deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Snow is a shoo-in for those furnace pipes

Of course, the furnace pipes could become blocked at any time of year. In the fall, for instance, leaves and tumbleweeds could blow into the flue. A creative squirrel, a child’s ball, or an errant mini drone could theoretically find its way into one of your furnace pipes as well! But winter snow brings the biggest risk, and here’s why:

  • Snow and ice easily become compacted, creating an obstruction that doesn’t let little pockets of air through, as a few leaves could.
  • Snow doesn’t require the “perfect storm” (see what we did there?!) to fall into your pipes. If the snow accumulates enough, it’s already reached that destination – unlike leaves, which have to blow in there at just the right angle.

Hazards abound, when it comes to obstructed furnace pipes

So, what happens if your furnace intake or exhaust pipes become clogged and you do exactly nothing to remedy the situation? It isn’t pretty. Furnace pipes obstructed with snow and other debris can easily overheat or backup, resulting in:

  • Fires
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Damage to or complete failure of your heating system
  • Bloated energy bills from the strain on your furnace
  • Damage to other related equipment, such as your water heater, depending on how your heating system is configured.

What to do if snow is blocking your flue

Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent these disasters by simply checking your pipes and using a broom or small brush to sweep the pipes clear of any blockages. If something is stuck inside your pipes that cannot be removed with a brush, you can use a shop vac to dislodge the debris. If your pipes are located closer to your roof, you may need a ladder to access them.

Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling can give you COMPLETE peace of mind

If checking your pipes feels overwhelming, just give us a call and one of our Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling expert technicians can inspect and clear them for you. For added peace of mind, it’s a good idea to have your entire heating system, including your external furnace flues, inspected each year. These regular tune-ups – included in all of our service plans – reduce the risk of breakdowns and extend the life of your equipment.

Become a customer today, and be assured that your friends at Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling will be available whenever you need us in Middlesex County and Norfolk County, MA.