Today’s high-efficiency furnaces provide you with many benefits, including reduced heating costs and improved energy conservation, because many of them are able to convert 90 percent or more of the fuel that they utilize into heating for you home. However, high-efficiency furnaces also come with a different vent system than traditional furnaces, and that venting can cause you some issues if you don’t know how to take care of it.
Here are three common problems related to high-efficiency furnace venting, and the steps that you can take to troubleshoot them:
- Iced vents: Since high-efficiency furnaces vent directly to the outside of your home, rather than through a chimney, weather issues can impact how well the vent works. One of the biggest problems is that the outside vent can ice up regularly during cold weather, particularly in places like Wisconsin, where winters can be long and brutal. To prevent this issue, remove the outside exhaust vent screen on the side of the house to help prevent ice from coating it. Also, remember to clear the vent as soon as possible after you get a dumping of snow or coating of ice.
- Improper drain connections: Water vapor from a high-efficiency furnace condenses in the vent pipe, so you need to ensure that it’s installed correctly to allow successful drainage. An incorrectly installed vent pipe also is more likely to become clogged with ice because it has water sitting in it. Examine your exterior vent pipe for a proper angle of a quarter-inch per foot along the horizontal run, and make sure that your vent is at least five feet, has one elbow, and has support placed every five feet along the horizontal run. Contact a qualified HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) professional for assistance.
- Failure of the pressure switch: If the pressure switch on your high-efficiency furnace seems to fail often, one primary reason may be that your vent pipe on the exterior of the house is sagging. Additionally, other obstructions in the vent pipe, such as debris, nests, leaves or ice can restrict the pipe. Clean out your vent pipe thoroughly, and reset the furnace. Checking or fixing the pressure switch is best left to a professional HVAC technician.
For more information on high-efficiency furnace venting, contact Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co. We have been serving the greater Racine, Wisconsin area since 1918, and look forward to helping you with all of your heating, cooling and air-quality needs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about high-efficiency furnace venting and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.