Winter offers a lot of unique dangers, but there may be one right in your home that most people don’t know about. Your heating system’s sidewall vents — which allow air to vent to and from your furnace — can pose a significant danger if they become blocked. Furnace vents that protrude from the roof also can become covered by snow, creating the same sort of hazards.

Though heavy snow accumulations don’t hit the Wichita area very often, debris, ice or shoveled or blown snow can block the sidewall vents on the exterior of your home, as well as roof-top vents. Resulting problems may include:

  • Poor circulation to your furnace or gas-powered appliances. This can cause the appliances in question to work improperly, possibly causing a shutdown.
  • Pressure on the intake and vent piping. This can cause a dangerous gas leak.
  • Lack of proper ventilation of carbon monoxide exhaust. This can cause a backup of carbon monoxide in your home, posing a serious threat of CO poisoning.

To ensure that your gas-powered appliances and furnace operate correctly, make sure to routinely check your furnace vents during the winter months. Experts advise that you:

  • Keep your furnace vents free from debris, plants, snow and ice, whether they protrude from the side or your home or the roof. Clean the area with a broom rather than a shovel to keep from damaging the components.
  • Remove ice accumulation carefully by hand. Rough handling of the equipment can cause a break or leak.
  • Use carbon monoxide detectors in your home. This is to ensure that the gas is not accumulating at dangerous levels inside your home, which can cause severe sickness and even death.
  • Call a professional. If you can’t clear your vents of significant amounts of ice, you believe there is a problem or you smell gas, contact your HVAC technician immediately.

The professionals at Comfort Systems have a total of 120 years serving the heating and cooling needs of the Wichita area. Contact us for professional advice concerning all of your heating and cooling needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about sidewall vents and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.