Make Sure Your Gas Appliances Can Breathe
With the current cold spell and recent snowfall, we are getting a rash of calls right now concerning furnaces, water heaters and boilers conking out. A large number of these failures result from snow and frost obstructing the vents and/or fresh air intakes of gas appliances. This is an absolutely critical situation that can be remedied with a simple fix by the home owner.
Look for the fresh air intakes in your foundation in the vicinity of your gas appliances; some intakes have snorkels on them to keep the intake above snow level. Take care that these have a couple of feet free of any obstruction, whether snow, plants, debris, or stored items leaning against the house. Also be sure to check the exhaust venting. When in doubt, just take care that anything going through your foundation is kept clear.
If these vents are obstructed by snow, sensors in your gas appliances should shut the entire unit down, provided they’re in proper working order. If they fail to shut down in this circumstance, you’re risking far worse in the form of carbon monoxide poisoning. We’ll have more on that topic in our next blog entry.