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Keep gas furnace vents and heat pumps clear of snow to keep heat running!

Clear at least 12 inches to allow sufficient air flow to the unit.
Winter weather is on its way and ACE has a few tips to keep your equipment up and running.

Homeowners with high-efficiency gas furnaces should make sure their fresh air intake pipes are free of snow. They’re usually white plastic pipes that come out of the side of a home. Blocked vents can cause furnaces and water heaters to shut down, a potential build-up of carbon monoxide or a costly service call. Use a long screwdriver to clear snow and ice from the end of the pipes. Carefully move snow and ice by hand to avoid damaging equipment.

Washington Gas recommends that you also clear snow from your gas meter. To avoid the possibility of an interruption in gas service, Washington Gas would like to remind its customers to clear any accumulated snow from their natural gas meters and regulator vents as well as any appliance exhausts using hands, a brush or broom. NEVER use a shovel or other hard object to clear the snow from the gas meter, regulator vents or appliance exhausts.

Heat pumps draw air from the areas surrounding them (all four sides and the top of the outdoor unit). It is important to clear these areas of snow and ice build up in order to allow air to freely reach the heat pump. This will allow the heat pump to operate as efficiently as possible and will alleviate strain on the heat pump. If you cannot clear the heat pump of snow and ice for any reason, switch the system to “Emergency Heat” at the thermostat. This will turn the heat pump off and engage electric resistance heaters that are located inside in order to provide heat for your home. This is a more expensive mode of operation for a heat pump system, so we do not advise continuing in this mode for more than a few days.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at 703-691-0095.


Your comment will be published within 24 hours.


  • Jeff Carbine
    February 10, 2022, 3:08 pm REPLY

    I found it interesting when you said blocked vents can cause furnaces and water heaters to shut down, resulting in carbon monoxide buildup and an expensive repair visit. I used to think differently about it not until you explained it briefly and it really got my attention. What you said about heat pumps was really interesting to me.

  • Patter Kev
    May 23, 2022, 4:48 am REPLY

    Ventilation is crucial in gas furnace. That is why most of them are installed outdoors.


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