Saturday, January 23, 2016

Clear Snow From Your Vents

co vent pipe
Vent pipe on side of home. Intake
& exhaust
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has seen an increase in the number of carbon monoxide incidents and detector activations due to snow accumulation and build-up. As you head outside to dig out of your driveway and clear your sidewalks, there are some other places around your home you may have to clear.

A common problem is high snow drifts that block furnace vents and air intakes in some homes, predominantly those that have newer high-efficiency furnaces. New, high efficiency furnaces vent out the side of a home rather than up through the roof. These vents and air intakes must be kept clear of snow. If they are blocked, the carbon monoxide will go back into the home. Some newer high efficiency furnaces have automatic shut-off’s that shutdown the furnace when the vents are blocked, but not all of them. As a general rule you should keep a three-foot area clear around the vent and intake tubes. After any snowfall it is important to inspect the area around the furnace and hot water heater vents to ensure that snow and ice are not blocking the safe operation of these fuel burning devices. Homeowners should keep a three- foot area around the vents clear of snow, shrubs, or other potential obstructions. Heating and dryer vents should also be cleared of snow to prevent possible carbon monoxide poisoning. NEVER run generators in the home, garage or other enclosed spaces as carbon monoxide can rise to dangerous, if not fatal levels. If your CO alarm sounds, immediately evacuate to a safe location and call 9-1-1. 

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