If you recently installed a new high efficiency furnace or if your are thinking about making this upgrade in the near future, there are a few things you need to learn about this new system if you are going to keep it operating properly for years to come. The manufacturers of these systems had to make certain design changes in order for the unit to use the energy it consumed more efficiently. One of the changes that were made concerned how the system would be vented. Because of this change, there is one more maintenance check that owners of these systems need to make during the winter season in order to keep the system operating properly.
Old Vs New: Venting Your Furnace
The old furnace you had in the home used a chimney to vent out the harmful gases that were produced during the combustion process. The new units utilize a set of PVC pipes that exit the home next to where the furnace is located. They do not travel up through the home and out the chimney. This type of venting makes it possible for the high efficiency furnace to be more energy efficient than the old system but it does present a couple of problems.
- Snow Drifts: In Chicago, we see loads of snow every winter season. This snow could cause an obstruction of the venting system that your high efficiency furnace uses if you are not careful. Countless homeowners call out Four Seasons every year only to find that their problem was caused by blocked vents that could have been easily cleared without the help of a service technician.
- Birds and Critters: Many homeowners have had problems in the past that are caused by birds and other critters that attempt to make a home of the furnace’s venting system. As a result, they like to put caps on the ends of the venting pipes that leave the new high efficiency furnace. This could cause a similar obstruction of outflow and the furnace will shut down as a safety precaution. Even screens that allow airflow will cause problems when the temperatures drop. High efficiency combustion produces more water that will freeze on that screen during the chilly winter nights and cause an obstruction that will shut down the furnace as well.
Avoiding Venting Problems
Avoid these problems by making a habit of checking the venting system of your high efficiency furnace on a regular basis. After large snowfalls and periodically while you are out in the year, check the pipes for any obstructions and have them removed promptly if they exist. Most animals will naturally avoid these pipes, but if you find animals nesting in them during the summer months you can consider a cap. Just remember to remove the cap before you start up the system at the beginning of every season. Always remember that when you have a problem you can’t fix on your own, Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning is on your side waiting to lend you a professional hand. It is better to trust a pro than take a guess and cause damage to a unit as expensive as your heating system.