Troubleshooting Tips When a Furnace is Not Venting Outside

Losing Heat in the Middle of a Manhattan Winter

When your furnace stops working in the middle of winter, it’s vital to get it fixed right away. Unfortunately, a lot of different issues could cause this problem to happen. However, some issues – like a clogged exhaust vent – is something most homeowners can check and possibly fix themselves! Keep reading to learn about this common furnace problem and how to possibly clear things up yourself.

Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides professional furnace repair and replacement for the entire Manhattan, KS area. It can be a complicated job, as a home’s heating system is more than just a furnace in your basement. It is an entire system that works its way through ductwork, vents and other components throughout your home.

There are potentially a lot of different possible causes to a furnace breaking down. One problem that can easily be missed by homeowners is a blocked furnace exhaust vent.

manhattan home winter snow

What is a Furnace Exhaust Vent

Your furnace isn’t only piping warm air throughout your home. Just like when we breathe out carbon dioxide, a furnace also emits something called exhaust. This exhaust is like the furnace’s breath that it doesn’t need anymore.

A furnace makes hot air for your home, but it also makes some not-so-nice stuff along with it. Your heating system is designed so that this exhaust goes outside, away from your house, so that you and your family can breathe fresh air.

The furnace exhaust vent is like a tunnel for that exhaust to be find its way outside. Modern high efficiency heating systems have two pipes sticking out of your house. These pipes are the combustion air intake and the combustion air exhaust pipe.

furnace exhaust vents

Signs of a Blocked Exhaust Vent

Look out for any of these signs that indicated your furnace exhaust vent is blocked or clogged.

  1. blocked furnace exhaust ventStrange odors could mean you have a blocked vent. This can release dangerous gases like carbon monoxide into your home. If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, take it seriously. A blocked exhaust vent can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home, which is a potentially lethal threat. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, turn off your furnace right away, make sure your family is safe, and call for an emergency repair.
  2. Your furnace is frequently shutting down and restarting. That might be due to your system’s safety mechanisms kicking in to prevent the buildup of harmful gases.
  3. Your furnace is not heating well. A clogged exhaust vent can decrease how well your furnace operates, causing uneven heating or reduced airflow in your home.


What Can Clog a Furnace Exhaust Pipe?

  • Rodents or birds getting inside the vent
  • Snow blocking vent
  • Leaves gathering around or in the vent
  • Soot buildup in the vent
  • The vent could have blockage from being damaged or rusted out


Lost Heat After a Snowstorm?

If you lose heat shortly after our Manhattan area was hit with a large snowstorm, you may want to checkout the furnace exhaust pipe outside your home to see if it’s blocked by snow. If your vent pipes are relatively low to the ground, it may not take a lot of snowfall to block it. Wind could have pushed a pile of snow, clogging the vents.

See if snow has gathered up around those exterior furnace pipes. Shovel the snow away to make sure the area around the pipes are clear.

If you clear the snow and that doesn’t get your heat to turn back on, contact Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for a quick repair on your heating system. We provide 24/7 emergency repair service to Manhattan, Junction City, Wamego and surrounding towns.

Standard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning has 24/7 emergency AC repair service in Manhattan, KS


Safety Precautions and DIY Solutions

Because a clogged furnace exhaust vent is a safety concern, you may want to call on a professional HVAC technician that services the Manhattan area like our team at Standard. However, here are some good steps homeowners can take:

  1. If you think your exhaust vent is blocked or clogged, turn off your furnace and do not use it until the problem is resolved.
  2. Remove any visible debris around the exterior pipes, such as snow, leaves or twigs.
  3. Clear snow around the exhaust vent to prevent it from getting blocked during the winter.
  4. Install a vent cap or screen to keep debris and small animals from getting into the exhaust vent. Note: Installing something not designed specifically for covering a furnace exhaust pipe can cause blockage and furnace problems.


Professional Manhattan, KS Furnace Exhaust Pipe Service

For a thorough inspection of a furnace exhaust vent, get help from the heating experts at Standard Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Our experienced technicians are trained and experienced in handling all components of your home’s HVAC system. We will ensure that your furnace is operating safely.

If you have any problems with your furnace, just contact Standard! Give us a call at (785) 776-5012 for immediate service or you can contact us online to schedule service.