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Keep Outside Vents Free of Snow and Ice

 In Info, Tips

As you begin to clear the snow outside, don’t forget to remove the snow and ice from outside furnace and appliance vents, chimneys, and gas and electric meters to avoid possible CO poisoning. Plus, be sure to check behind the doors of your exhaust vents to make sure snow and ice haven’t packed inside.

Snow storms, drifting snow, and snow removal efforts can cause snow and ice to pile up and freeze around your vents and meters. Proper air flow is needed for the safe operation of gas furnaces and appliances and blocked vents may lead to toxic fumes and a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide inside the home.

Keep safe and warm with these tips:

  • Safely clear snow away from mobile home rooftop chimneys, preferably by using a snow rake.
  • Make sure the fresh air intake pipes (typically two white plastic that comes out of the side of the home) and all exhaust vents are free from drifting snow to prevent obstructions and improper operation. When snow and ice is allowed to build up, it can become compacted and freeze causing damage.
  • Snow around fuel tanks, meters, and vents should only be removed by hand, never with a shovel or power snow removal equipment.
  • Start your snowblower and car outside your garage. They both have exhaust and venting it into an enclosed space (even if the garage door is open) may cause CO poisoning.
  • Generators need to be operated outside at all times and make sure the exhaust is clear of snow. Exhaust fumes can build up fast.

 A note on carbon monoxide safety:

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and can be produced when appliances aren’t operating or venting properly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu and include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and stinging or burning of the eyes.

It is recommended to have a working CO detector in your house to alert you to any danger. Make sure your detectors have battery back-up so they are operational if the power should go out. Place them on each floor of your home, outside sleeping areas, and near any fuel-burning appliance.