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Being in construction - often my white collar neighbors call me when they have troubles with house stuff.

Amazes me sometimes how little mechanical skills they have.

The last big snow storm brought three panic calls - their furnace had stopped running. I went through quick trouble shooting on first home - thermostat was working , power to unit , gas to unit , reset OK - Hmmmmmmmmmm.

This was a new furnace - uses PVC pipe for air intake and exhaust since it burns almost all the gas.

Went outside with flashlight and could see the vent was under the snow on the roof. Guess it stuck up about 20 inches or so. If blocked - fail safe will shut off the unit. Look on guy's face was priceless when I pointed out trouble and said , all you got to do is climb up and clear it :hysterical:.

Needless to say - went back to my shed and got my ladder and long piece of 3/4 conduit pipe to clear snow from the vent. It sits lower then intake - has a U bend. The intake has a T fitting.

Once snow was cleared - heard unit kick on and saw exhaust come from vent pipe. The other two houses were exact same thing and only took few minutes to fix.

Just thought I'd share - losing heat is no fun and might save $$$$ on a service call. This storm is predicted to dump enough snow that vents might get buried. Take a minute to see where they are on your house - just in case.
 

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Good info skip. But also bear in mind that many of these types of furnaces are vented directly though a outside wall reletivly low to the ground. Snow will build up very quick around these. If you don't see the vent on roof, and please don't mistake sewer vent for furnace vent on roof, look around the perimeter of you home for the vent and clear it. On easy way to tell is if pvc line(s) go straight up and out is sure a furnace it's on the roof, if horizontal follow it til if penetrated the wall and that will tell you where to look outside. Also as skip had mentioned there is a safety device that "should" shut furnace off in the event flu gets blocked but in my 35 + years in the HVAC business I have seen plenty of fly by nite technicians bypass the device to get a furnace going and never return to replace it. This is bad news as you will fill house with CO and not wake up. And remember if you lose power and run generator please make sure it is not near any combustibles and in a well ventilated area. Also do not run generator near doors or windows as fumes may find their way in. Be safe and good luck during storm.
 

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I just replaced a gas dryer. They now have a sensor that will tell you if your vent needs to be cleaned...
 

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Yep 90% units won't fire if their exhaust if constricted. Same with any other unit that has a power vent (fan assisted) exhaust. A water heater or broiler with a power vent. The constriction could be as simple as a wasp's nest. Also if it vent's with like 3-4 in pvc the installers will cut out a round piece of like 1/4" rat wire and put it in the end of the fitting they exited with to keep the bee's out and building a nest. And it works really great. However the rat wire can become clogged w/ dust, lint, pet hair and other airborne particles over the course of a few years. It's really one of the first things to check on those trouble calls. Also if the structure is a 3 stories and the vent's are exiting at the soffit or on the roof use a pair of binoculars to inspect from the ground. Don't inspect and write it off with the naked eye.
 

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If you have a heat pump, keep the snow cleared around it. If it is iced up, running the air conditioner for a few minutes will warm the coils and melt the ice.
 
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