The multiple feet of snow that we received across the Chicagoland area have caused several problems for furnaces for many homeowners. The biggest problems resulted from old worn out units overworking to keep up with the cold and blocked exhaust pipes on newer high efficiency model furnaces. Furnace problems are not only frustrating and inconvenient, but they also can be dangerous. Furnaces create hazardous gases during the combustion process and unless they are vented safely from the home, these gases can backup into the home.
Older furnaces are traditionally vented through a chimney to the roof, but newer high efficiency units vent directly from the unit through plastic pipes that are often only a few feet off of the ground. When the snow reaches the levels that it has in recent weeks, these pipes can become blocked. Unless the snow is removed the furnace will either shut down or emit carbon monoxide in the home. Safety mechanisms usually will protect homeowners by not allowing the furnace to come on, but problems can occur that cause these mechanisms to not function properly. As a homeowner, there are a few steps you can take to stop this from happening in your home:
- Clear Away the Snow: Locate your furnace’s venting pipes and make sure that snow is cleared from the area. Periodically check the situation to ensure that there are no other obstructions. (more…)