You Need To VENT !!! Are You Venting Properly ?

With the installation of energy efficient furnaces, these little PVC pipes poking out of the sides of homes, have become quite common.  No longer do we need expensive or enormous chimneys in order to heat our homes. Of course if you love a wood burning fire, then yes, you will need a fire retardant chimney with a triple wall metal insert.  Now back to venting.

courtesy of consumer union

Because furnaces are so efficient, there is a minimal amount of heat released allowing the installation of short pvc pipes.  These are normally found at the base of the home either coming from the first floor or basement, depending on the location of the furnace.

With the record snowfalls we have incurred this year, numerous homeowners have forgotten about the pipes and have allowed them to become snow covered.  Calls are being reported for furnaces not operating.  When snow packs around the opening of the vents, it causes the pilot lights to go out. Heavy snow pack can also cause carbon-monoxide to back up since it does not have an exit.

For your safety make sure these vents are clear of any snow pack.

Another vent you may have issues with in this severe cold, is your sewer vent or vents depending on how many bathrooms or sinks in the home.  These are required to operate your water pressure in your toilets and sinks.  One sign that they may be blocked, is a gurgling sound in another room when flushing the toilet or draining a sink.  This means there is not a proper air exchange. Hence a back up of methane gas.

courtesy of Structure Tech Home Inspections

You can now find kits in your hardware store to attach to the tops of your vent pipes to prevent the buildup of ice and or snow. Or you can try to insulate the vent pipes inside the attic area of your home.  If you have sudden gurgling in your traps or you begin to smell sewer gas, you will need to address the issue because methane gas besides smelling bad will give you headaches and make you feel sick.

If you have any questions about your vents and do not feel qualified to address the issues, contact a local contractor with good references to take car of the issues.

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Mary St. George