Why You Need To Check Your Vents In Winter

Even though most of us want to just hide inside in winter, these cold, snowy months can be hard on your home.

It’s important for homeowners to keep up with exterior maintenance for safety reasons as well as for the long-term care of their homes.

This responsibility doesn’t stop at shovelling off your front steps. One of the often-neglected jobs that homeowners have is ensuring that exterior vents are clear of snow and ice. Forgetting to do so can reduce the efficiency of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. It can also pose a serious risk to your health.


What’s the risk?

Your home’s HVAC system depends on proper ventilation in order to work optimally. That means that vents should be regularly inspected and cleared so that your system doesn’t experience unnecessary wear and tear, malfunctions, or eventual breakdowns. It’s also inconvenient to deal with a broken furnace in the winter, and can even be dangerous if the temperatures in your home fall quickly.

On top of ensuring that your furnace works well, clear vents are essential for the health of your home’s occupants. Vents that are blocked by ice or snow prevent adequate ventilation, leading to the potential buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home. This invisible gas is difficult to detect, but can quickly sicken or even kill both people and pets.

Carbon monoxide poisoning causes a variety of symptoms, like headaches, nausea, weakness, dizziness and confusion. High levels will eventually lead to loss of consciousness and death. Because it can be difficult to recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially while sleeping, homeowners should remain vigilant about prevention, and install detectors to alert inhabitants of the presence of carbon monoxide.


How do I find my vents?

Your vents are usually attached to a white plastic pipe located at the side of your house. If you’re unsure where to look, trace the aluminium pipe coming off the back of your HVAC equipment. It should be connected to a wall of your home’s exterior, which is where you’ll find the vent outside. It’s a good idea to clearly mark them so they’re easier to find in the winter.

Once you’ve located the vent, check for a buildup of frost or snow. Remove any ice or snow carefully, using something soft like a plastic putty knife. A flashlight can help you see if there’s additional buildup inside the vent, which should also be carefully removed.

You should regularly clear around your vent, especially after heavy snowfalls. This will ensure sufficient ventilation to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and your family safe. Move snow away from the vent gently using your hands or remove it with a broom. Never use your snow blower or shovel close to the vent as you may cause damage.

While you’re checking your vent, it’s also a good idea to inspect your gas and electric meters as well. Snow and frost can cause meters to malfunction or the system to operate less efficiently in general.


What happens if my furnace shuts off?

Many newer furnaces have a built-in safety mechanism that causes your furnace to turn off if vents are blocked. Even if you have this safety feature, you should continue to be attentive to vents, as even a partially blocked vent can be risky.

If your furnace shuts off, inspect vents carefully before attempting a restart. Always following the manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to call a professional to have your furnace restarted after a safety-related shutdown.


What else can I do to make sure my furnace works efficiently?

Having your HVAC system regularly inspected and maintained is a good way to ensure that it operates efficiently. You’ll be less likely to cause excessive wear and tear or to be faced with unexpected costly repairs.

Additionally, professional dryer vent cleaning in Winnipeg removes dust, debris and allergens, and can improve the efficiency of your overall system as well as reduce airborne irritants in your living space. If you’ve recently moved, have family members with allergies, notice a buildup of dust on your surfaces, or can’t remember the last time you booked a duct cleaning, it’s probably time to call a professional duct cleaning Winnipeg.

Regular maintenance and cleaning of your HVAC system and ductwork have benefits for your family’s health. It also reduces your expenses because an efficient system requires less energy to keep your home comfortably heated or cooled.

Make sure you check your exterior vents and keep them clear of snow this winter.