The snow building up on your rooftop and in the yard may be picturesque but it can also be a surprising source of danger for your family. Drifting along the roof or around the house is a vision that is only pretty on the outside. Blocking vent pipes for your furnace and water heater, snowdrifts are a serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible.

The Danger with Blocked Flues
langton-snow-on-houseClearing the area around the flue pipe is a major part of winter furnace safety. Furnaces vent carbon monoxide safely to the exterior of your home, but the deadly gas will have nowhere to go if snow is blocking the vent. Backing up into your home, the best-case scenario is that your furnace’s safety system kicks in and the furnace shuts down. The worst-case scenario is that your furnace will continue running and the carbon monoxide will harm your family.

Winter Furnace Safety Measures
There are steps you can take to protect your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide. A three-foot radius around the vent and air intake pipes should be free of snow, shrubs and other obstacles. If necessary, invest in a roof rake to take care of blocked vent pipes on the roof. After every storm and periods of heavy wind, the vents should be inspected to ensure they are still clean. In addition to looking around the pipe to ensure it is clear, you should also look inside the pipe. Animals may nest inside the pipes and trap the gas. Look in the vents and remove any debris. Change air filters frequently to ensure that your furnace is able to receive plenty of fresh air. The area around your furnace should be kept free of flammable items like cardboard and even linens. If your furnace has a pilot light, you should inspect it occasionally. A normal pilot light burns blue with a smooth flame. Water heater and furnace pilots that burn with a yellow-orange flame or flicker indicate that the gas is not burning cleanly and is producing more carbon monoxide.

Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector
You know how important smoke detectors are, but many people still don’t appreciate the importance of carbon monoxide detectors. They are a vital tool whether your furnace was installed a few decades ago or is a high efficiency modern marvel. A carbon monoxide detector sets off an alarm if carbon monoxide is detected in the home. With these steps, you can protect your home and family this winter. Blocked vent pipes are a serious danger and should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid carbon monoxide gas in the home or the emergency shutdown of your furnace on a cold winter night. Don’t pay for an expensive and unnecessary service call because your furnace shuts down due to drifting snow and blocked vents. Follow these tips to avoid any problems and stay warm all winter. For more information on how to keep your furnace running safely this winter, call Langton Heating and Air Conditioning in Hamilton at (905) 312-9644