Caring for a Furnace Sidewall Vent: 3 Tips

by Greg Leisgang on March 18, 2013

Posted in: Furnaces

clearing furnace sidewall vent, West Chester, OhioNew high-efficiency furnaces can save you up to 30 percent on your winter heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, these new heating systems have somewhat different maintenance needs than a traditional furnace. Sure, you still have to change the filter monthly in the winter and have your furnace serviced once a year, but you also need to care for your furnace sidewall vent.

What Is a furnace sidewall vent?
Unlike traditional furnaces that are vented to the roof with a chimney or flue, newer, high-efficiency furnaces use a furnace sidewall vent. This is a PVC pipe that extends from your furnace to around 3 to 4 feet above the grade line at the foundation of your house.

Caring for your sidewall vent

Furnace sidewall vents require a little maintenance to make sure that your furnace keeps working efficiently and safely, especially during the winter months. Below are three tips to avoid a furnace service call.

  • Keep snow cleared around the vent. Because furnace sidewall vents sit relatively low to the ground, they can get blocked by snow drifts. Make it a habit to clear the snow from around the vent during every snowfall.
  • Remove the screen in the winter. Taking out the screen from the vent will help prevent ice from building up during the cold weather season. Remember to re-insert the screen when the weather warms up.
  • Keep ice cleared from the inside of the pipe. Ice buildup on the inside of the furnace vent can cause your furnace to shut down and potentially hazardous combustion gases like carbon monoxide to back up into your living spaces. Make sure to keep ice from closing off your vent.

If you have questions about your furnace sidewall vent or if you'd like to explore adding a new high-efficiency furnace to your Butler County, Greater Cincinnati area home, give Tri-County Heating and Cooling in West Chester a call.

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