What to do about snow and ice buildup around furnace vents

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As the temperatures are dropping your furnace is working even harder – Jan 30, 2019

As the temperatures are dropping, your furnace is working even harder.

Something you may have noticed is snow and ice building up around the vents of your high-efficiency furnace.

Balcaen & Sons owner Tom Balcaen says it’s something you should keep an eye on.

“The furnace vent pipes, the exhaust and intake can get plugged up with snow,” he said.

“Mother Nature can be aggressive sometimes as today. When we have a lot of blizzarding snow, the pipes can suck up that snow.”

READ MORE: The silent killer: Protecting yourself from carbon monoxide

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service says people should keep all their vents and chimneys clear to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Balcaen said a typical new furnace will have a safety feature in place that will turn the furnace off if the vents are clogged, but it’s always something to pay attention to.

READ MORE: Blistering cold leads to new record for Manitoba CAA service calls

If you check on your furnace vents and you see that there’s a lot of ice and snow blocking the tubes, Manitoba Hydro’s spokesperson Bruce Owen says it may just be a simple solution.

“We’ve had a few reports of people seeing ice build up on the exhaust of their high efficiency furnaces,” he said.

“We recommend that they very carefully, very gingerly remove it. If the problem persists they should be calling our contractor.

“At the same time, with this extreme cold, it may only be a problem for the next couple of days.”

Experts say you should check your vents regularly, especially after a new snowfall.

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