High-efficiency furnaces are effective at conserving energy and reducing your heating costs because they convert up to 98 percent of the fuel they burn into heat for your home. Since they use a different venting system than traditional furnaces, you'll want to understand some things about high-efficiency furnace venting before you install one of these units. Plus, by understanding how to maintain your furnace, you'll extend its effective life span and prevent problems along the way.
The most common high-efficiency furnace venting problems are:
- Drain connections. Since water vapor condenses within the vent pipe, these connections are crucial to ensure proper drainage. As the temperature drops, pipes and drains can become clogged with ice. To prevent this, make sure they are properly supported, have a single elbow joint, and are installed at a 1/4 inch per foot angle along a vertical plane for a distance of at least five feet.
- Blocked vents. Intake and exhaust vents of condensing furnaces, usually routed through a wall, can become clogged by snow and ice. To prevent clogging, make sure that both of these vents are placed well above the maximum snow line for your area and check and clean your vent covers frequently for obstructions, especially after every major ice or snowstorm.
- Failed pressure switches. Often, these occur because the vent pipe is blocked or because the pipe itself has begun to sag, thus blocking airflow and causing the switch to shut off. If your pressure switch fails, clear the pipe of obstructions and then reset your furnace.
- Moisture in the home. High-efficiency furnaces draw cold air in from the outside, warm it, then circulate it into the home. Thus, they do not recirculate the already warm air within the home. This can create condensation on windows and cold surfaces. Therefore, it's a good idea to install a heat recovery ventilator to help prevent this from occurring.
To learn more about high-efficiency furnaces, contact Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating, Inc. We have proudly served clients in the Mid-Ohio region since 1965 and we would be thrilled to make you our next satisfied customer.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about high-efficiency furnaces and other HVAC topics, visit our website.