Many Indianapolis homeowners employ a high-efficiency furnace to achieve optimal home comfort, as well as peak energy savings. Homeowners with these types of systems, however, must also prioritize care for the sidewall vent of the heating system — or suffer the consequences. Issues that stem from problems with sidewall vents are largely avoidable. Learn what’s involved with proper care for the sidewall vent to keep your high-efficiency furnace operating well — all season long.
Why a sidewall vent?
Furnaces with less than a 90 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating generally do not use two heat exchangers, and can safely vent exhaust gases up the chimney. High-efficiency furnaces, those rated 90 percent AFUE or higher, employ a second heat exchanger, which generates condensation by allowing exhaust gases to completely cool. If these gases were vented via a chimney, the condensate would damage the chimney, due to the expansion that would occur when the condensate freezes. Acidic gases in the exhaust would also damage the chimney. Vents routed out the side of your home are utilized to safely exhaust the condensate and gases, without problems.
What’s involved with care for the sidewall vent?
Chimney venting allows homeowners to largely bypass concerns with snow or ice buildup except in cases of heavy snow. Sidewall venting is more susceptible to snow-related problems, however. While installation should take average snowfall into consideration, it’s possible for the vent to become blocked by strong winds, significant snowfall or ice. Blockages compromise the safety of the venting system, potentially sending carbon monoxide into the home, and eventually leading to furnace failure.
Care for the sidewall vent is easy. Here’s what to do:
- Remove the screen from the vent at the start of winter.
- Check the outdoor vent regularly.
- Clear off any snow or ice around and on the vent.
- Install one – or more – carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in the home to alert you and your loved ones when CO levels are high.
Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing has served homeowners in the greater Indianapolis area since 1970. If you’re worried about proper care for the sidewall vent, or you’d like to schedule preventive maintenance for your high-efficiency furnace, contact us today. We’re happy to help our neighbors achieve optimal home safety and system efficiency.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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