Keep Snow Away From Sidewall Exhaust Vents

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Side Wall Direct Vents:

Direct-venting or side wall vent chimney and flue systems are a Photo: AConcordCarpenter.commethod of venting the exhaust gases from a heating appliance directly out through the side wall of a building while eliminating the need for a vertical chimney of any sort.

Direct Venting uses a power ventilating blower or fan to cool outgoing gases passing through the building wall (sidewall direct exhaust) or roof or through an existing unused chimney through which a vent pipe is passed .

Blocked Snowfall Hazard

High efficiency furnaces, water heaters and other energy-saving appliances may have exhaust vents that exit your building through an exterior wall rather than through a chimney. These vents can become blocked in the winter months by snow and ice, which can affect the safe operation of the appliance.

In geographical areas with considerable snowfall, it is advisable to locate the vent terminal much higher than the minimum 12-inches above ground to prevent blockage by snow accumulation or drifting.

For at least some heating appliances and manufacturers, and to solve vent clearance difficulties when your installation cannot meet the specifications in the Gas Code, manufacturers’ specifications, or local building codes, roof vent termination kits are available.

Protecting A Side Wall Vent From Snow Build Up

In order to keep snow away from sidewall exhaust vents fall I made a simple A-Frame to protect  and deflect the snow from this low sidewall vent.

Click here to see how easy it is to make.

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Robert Robillard is the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter, Assistant Editor of Tool Box Buzz and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. Rob hosts the Concord Carpenter... Read more

7 comments on “Keep Snow Away From Sidewall Exhaust Vents

  1. Kurt

    Dont forget to check air inlets as well. In our area intake vents get clogged with lint from plants and trees and dust. In many instances they are completely clogged and do not allow any air through. This results in potential backdrafts and poor indoor air quality. Every year it seems that I clean one for a homeowner< when it is 20 below out, because they are not getting enough fresh air into their home.

  2. Sergey

    Robert, thank you for great advice. Although snowfall in my are is usually not posing any threats to my vents, it is always good to know how to protect them. Please keep on sharing your knowledge and expertise with others.

  3. Ruth

    what could be placed on the front of the a frame to keep drifting snow from packing in there? Some kind of mesh that would still allow air to circulate, but keep at least some of the snow out???

  4. Joyce Simpson

    The snow isn’t a problem, but the smell is. I’m not sure how healthy it is to have to breathe it when outside or in. Can I build a similar frame to force the exhaust down to the ground away from the windows?

  5. James Kelly

    Hi Robert, I’m concerned with this exact problem. My exhaust vent is much like yours. The A-frame sounds great but I’m concerned about the snow that will build up inside. What do you suggest I use to block the snow from flying in the front and building up? I don’t think louvers would create enough ventilation. I’m elderly and the vent is not easy to get to especially with high levels of snow to trudge through. I’m looking for a solution I don’t have to keep monitoring throughout a storm. Thanks, Jim

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