With the recent blast of snow from mother nature, I was reminded of two winter maintenance tips that I don’t often hear mentioned. Both of which can save you money, headache and possibly your life! I didn’t have much time to squeeze in a blog today, but given that it could save your life, I thought it was worthy of my time!
HVAC Exhaust and Intake Pipes
As snow accumulates around the outside of your home, even in moderate conditions, snowdrifts can occur, sometimes forming snowdrifts large enough to block exhaust and intake pipes for your furnace, bathroom vents and hot water tank. While the bathroom vent will only cause a bit of strain on the fan and likely result in a bathroom that remains stinky for longer than usual, the other items are essential.
If your furnace intake is vented outside, a blocked intake will cause severe strain on the furnace’s fan, potentially shortening the life or being the root cause of a problem –clear the intake of snow!
The furnace and hot water tank exhaust are even more critical. With any gas appliance, CO (carbon monoxide) is inevitable. The exhaust is there to vent it outside, which doesn’t work if it’s blocked. CO has nowhere to go but back into the house if the pipes are obstructed. Now, hopefully, you’ve read, watched, or listened to our other home maintenance tips, and you have functioning CO detectors on each level so that this won’t be more than an inconvenience, but it could be deadly if you haven’t.
The point of this is to occasionally check your exhaust and intake pipes to ensure they’re not obstructed. When snowfalls occur, make a note to go outside and look.
Basement Window Wells
If your basement windows are at all below grade, this one is for you! The build-up of snow in a window well may not seem like a big deal, but with enough of it accumulating up against the windows, you could be surprised. As the snow accumulates, it slowly melts, freezes, then melt again, then freezes again, followed by another snowstorm; the window seals can be damaged, causing water penetration. The easiest solution is to purchase a clear plastic cover that sits over the top. Some people buy them to prevent their little kids from falling down the window, but this is another excellent use. Because it’s just there to block snow, there’s no need to screw them in either. Place it firmly against the wall, and you’re done.