High-Efficiency Furnaces Require Special Care For Sidewall Venting

The high-efficiency condensing-gas furnace offers Colorado homeowners optimal performance and energy conservation. Like a standard furnace, it burns natural gas to warm the air that heats your home. But the way a high-efficiency furnace exhausts harmful gases such as carbon monoxide differs from the way a standard furnace vents those gases.

A standard furnace typically exhausts gases through a chimney or vertical vent. In a high-efficiency gas-condensing furnace, standard venting cannot be used. Condensing furnaces capture additional heat via a secondary heat exchanger, which pulls heat from the exhaust gases, reclaiming and reusing the heat before the gases are vented away. As heat is extracted, the exhaust gases cool and condense, creating a slightly acidic byproduct of carbon dioxide and water. This process creates two major problems if the gases are vented through a chimney.

  1. Exhaust gases continue to condense, even as they are being vented, which can lead to ice buildup in a chimney.
  2. The acidic condensate can damage a chimney, a chimney liner and mortar.

Sidewall venting solves this problem. This type of direct venting involves installing two separate pipes horizontally through the wall of your home, one to bring in air needed for fuel combustion and the other to vent exhaust gases outside. Sidewall vents are typically PVC, which can withstand the acidic nature of the exhaust gases.

Although this type of venting is almost always trouble-free, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it during times of heavy snowfall in Colorado. If the venting becomes covered with snow, your furnace could shut down or operate improperly. Make sure the sidewall venting is always free of obstructions.

Balance Point Heating & Air Conditioning is the source knowledgeable consumers turn to for HVAC sales, maintenance and repair in Fort Collins and the surrounding area. Contact us for more information on high-efficiency furnaces and other home-comfort systems.

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