Heavy snow can be deadly on streets, sidewalks and vents


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As snowplow drivers try to catch up on clearing the roads, safety officials say it is critical that residents keep the snow from piling up around their furnace and hot water tank vents because a buildup of exhaust fumes can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning that lead to serious illness, or worse.

A clogged or blocked fresh air intake vent can choke a furnace or hot water heater, causing that appliance to shut off.

If you fail get those exhausts out of your home or business, you could get seriously ill.. or worse. You should also make sure the fresh air intake vent for your furnace is clear.. or the heat could shut off.

A heavy buildup of snow on your roof can be bad news in many ways: ice dams, leaks, and if your vents are covered, that could affect your furnace, your plumbing, and your overall health.

A clogged exhaust vent from the furnace could cause the buildup of dangerous carbon monoxide fumes but if that happens, all newer furnaces will automatically shut off. Frank DiMaria, owner of Frank’s Mr. Plumber said a blocked intake vent would have the same effect.

“The snow is piling up against the side of the house, and it is blocking the intake coming into the house. That is automatically going to shut down a furnace. They are designed to do that on a high efficiency furnace.”

DiMaria said, in extreme weather as Western New York is experiencing this week, homeowners have to keep a close eye on the vents, “You need to make sure it is clear. Be safe, make sure it is clear around that at all times.”

DiMaria also points out, many of today’s furnace vents are piped through the wall, so if the snow is blowing and drifting, you should make sure the snow drifts do not block the vents.

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