Winter Safety: Keep Your Sidewall Vents And Meter Free Of Obstructions

If you have a high-efficiency furnace or water heater, it’s likely that you have one or more vents coming through the exterior wall closest to their location. If your systems are in your basement, the vents are probably fairly close to the foundation of your home. These vents take in fresh air to produce heat. They also exhaust fumes such as carbon dioxide. 

During the winter, it’s important to keep the vents — as well as your gas meter — free of snow and ice. Otherwise, the operation of your systems could be impaired. In addition, exhaust fumes such as carbon dioxide could get into your home.

Sidewall vents

Clear any snow around the vents at least 48 inches in all directions, using a broom or your hands on the vent itself. If heavy snow is forecast, do not cover the vents or the area around them with a plastic tarp or anything else that could obstruct the airflow. Also make sure no bushes are growing in the vicinity of the vents.

Gas meter

It’s also important to keep your meter free of obstructions. Ice and snow can interfere with meter operation. The regulator on the meter, for example, must be able to release gas in the event of a malfunction.  Remove large icicles and snow, using a broom. If your meter is near a driveway or sidewalk, remain mindful of the location when you’re removing snow, as you don’t want to hit it with a plow or blower. If your entire meter becomes encased in ice, call your utility provider.

For more information on keeping your home-comfort systems in good working order this winter, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve provided HVAC and plumbing services to Cincinnati-area homeowners since 1910.

Image via Shutterstock.com

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
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- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
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