When those vents are buried in snow they’re no longer able to supply the furnace with the fresh air it needs to operate and most will automatically shut off. But not all of them, and that can create a potentially lethal situation if the exhaust vent is locked and the furnace doesn’t shut off – carbon monoxide produced by the combustion process in the furnace can fill your house.
Here are some tips…
- Keep at least a three-foot area around those vents clear and free of snow. Check it regularly to make sure that strong winds haven’t caused drifting.
- Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas that’s colorless and odorless!
- After you’ve cleared the vents many furnaces will automatically restart, but not all of them. Aside from hearing it trying to restart and feeling warmth from the ducts, you’ll know it’s working because the warm air that’s removed through the exhaust vent will melt nearby snow and sometimes create little icicles.
Submitted by Minnesota Buyer Agent, Mary Rugani