About Damien

Damien McCusker, Manager of Arpi's residential service division, has been working in the HVAC industry for 16 years and has hands-on experience in new home installations, furnace and air conditioner replacements, sales and residential service. He spends most of his spare time being an UBER driver, driving his kids to soccer practice and games.

Maintenance For High-Efficiency Furnaces: Why Sidewall Vents Are Your Responsibility

Phil Laprairie

If you think maintenance for high-efficiency furnaces is solely for the professionals, you’re right. Sort of. While the majority of service tasks like cleaning the burners and adjusting airflow should only be performed by an HVAC expert, caring for the sidewall vents is the homeowner’s responsibility. Learn why the sidewall vents require special attention, and what steps are included in this DIY task.

Maintenance for high-efficiency furnaces

You’ve likely heard it over and over: Maintenance for high-efficiency furnaces requires the expertise and training that only HVAC professionals have. By and large, that’s true. Only a skilled, qualified professional should access your heating system to clean and replace components, and diagnose wear and tear issues.

When it comes to the sidewall vents, however, keeping them operational largely involves keeping them clear. You see, if snow or ice blocks the venting system, several problems result:

  • One of the vents provides fresh air for the furnace, which moves directly into the sealed combustion chamber. If it’s blocked by snow or ice, the system will become starved for air.
  • The other vent provides a means to exhaust combustion gases. A blockage in this vent seriously compromises the safety of the furnace, and the safety of home occupants, as combustion gases will be blocked. The furnace's safety mechanism will trip and shut down the furnace.

Caring for sidewall vents

Caring for the vents doesn't require any technical expertise or specialized tools. Here's what you should do:

  • Remove the screen on the vent, which will only serve to help snow and ice accumulate on the vent. Remember to put the screen back in the spring.
  • Regularly check the vents, particularly after heavy snowfalls or windy conditions.
  • Remove any accumulation of snow or ice, taking care not to damage the venting material.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you and your loved ones to high levels of carbon monoxide.

When it comes time to schedule professional maintenance for high-efficiency furnaces, homeowners turn to Arpi's Industries, again and again. We've served greater Calgary homeowners since 1963. Give us a call or visit our website for more information to learn why we’re the area’s leading provider of heating and cooling services.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Maintenance For High-Efficiency Furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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