The last thing you want on a colder winter day is for your furnace to breakdown or malfunction on you. Unfortunately it happens and furnaces can malfunction when they’re needed most. One reason this may happen is because their vents become blocked with snow, ice, or frost.
There’s a good reason why many furnaces shut off when their vents are blocked. For most new systems it is a built in safety mechanism. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can build up inside the house, which is incredibly dangerous as it can cause illness and potentially be fatal. As a result, many furnace manufacturers design their units so that they shut off automatically when the vent becomes blocked.
Over the course of the cold winter months, frost can build up slowly in and around the vent, reducing your furnace’s efficiency. A furnace vent can also become blocked by a buildup of snow or ice. So whether it’s for optimal efficiency or protection from carbon monoxide, it’s important to keep your furnace vents clear.
Check on your furnace vent during and after heavy snowfalls, and clear snow away from the vent’s opening if it builds up. If you do notice a mound of snow blocking your furnace vent, clear it away by hand – don’t use a shovel or a snow blower, as either could cause damage to the furnace vent pipe.