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ice hot water tank

Preventing Snow and Ice From Blocking Your Furnace and Hot Water Tank Vents

Mother Nature, in all her glory, often brings unwelcome surprises around the home. The recent cold snap in Alberta was a reminder that no matter how long you’ve lived here, the temperature can still be quite disruptive.

Recently, we’ve had a number of customers ask about large inverted icicles forming under the exhaust vents of their furnace and hot water tank. Others have inquired about their furnace shutting down following heavy snowfall events. So, we thought we’d offer some insight on why this happens and some helpful tips on what to do.

Ice Blockages

Condensation is the main culprit behind ice formations under exhaust vents. When warm, moist air exits the exhaust port, it freezes in cold temperatures. Ice can begin to form under the exhaust, starting from the ground up. This is generally harmless and can be fixed by knocking the ice over before it connects with the exhaust port.

Other Blockages

In this part of the world, it’s not unusual to get heavy snowfall within a short period. If the snow accumulates and gets deep enough, it can block the exhaust and intake vent terminations. Nests or other blockages can also occur as animals seek shelter from the cold temperatures. In rare instances, regular freezing can occur from improperly installed exhaust pipes.

Luckily, you can resolve many of these problems yourself. Here are some tips for handling minor blockages.

Tips on Clearing Vent Blockages

A blocked exhaust or air intake vent can usually be cleared by rolling up your sleeves. Most obstructions will be close to the opening. Knock down any ice cones under the vent and shovel away snow accumulation. In the unusual event of an ice blockage in the vent itself, you can try using a hairdryer to melt the ice. Whatever you do, avoid using physical force, as you don’t want to damage the pipe.

Other Cold Weather Advice

Speaking of cold snaps, it is also important to ensure that if you go away on a winter vacation you have someone who can go inside and check in on your home. If the furnace shuts down there is a risk that the pipes will freeze and potentially burst, which can cause water damage and flooding.

Keep An Eye Out For Issues

As a homeowner, it’s always a good idea to take regular walks around the outside of your house to look for problems…especially following extreme weather events. Minor issues happen: it’s all part of the joys of owning a home. By keeping on top of things, you can ensure your home stays cozy and warm all winter long.

Offer Terms: Free Duct Cleaning with Install Financing

Offer

Finance your furnace or air conditioner installation with no interest or payments for 6 months, and get a free duct cleaning.

How to get the offer:

  1. Get a free online or in-home quote for A/C installation or Furnace installation from Advanpro.
  2. Apply for financing through Financeit via the Advanpro link: https://www.financeit.ca/s/y2HQMw
  3. Confirm and book your installation with Advanpro, including approved financing.
  4. Ask us to claim and book your free duct cleaning.


Terms

Free duct cleaning offer applies to new furnace or air conditioning installations that meet all of the following terms:

  • installation of Lennox furnaces or air conditioners
  • supply and installation fully-financed through a Financeit payment plan with no payments and no interest for 6 months (“6 month deferral”).
  • financing approved and installation booked between March 7, 2022 and June 10, 2022

Duct Work Sanitizing

If you or your loved ones suffer from respiratory issues or allergies, or you’re concerned about the quality of the air that you are breathing, ductwork sanitizing treatments give you the reassurance that your ductwork is sterile and free of contaminants that negatively impact your respiratory and overall health.

Microban is a hospital-grade sanitizing solution, which kills 99.99% of germs, viruses, funguses, molds, and other pathogens.

We also offer Benefect, an all-natural sanitizer made from plant extracts, which also kills 99.99% of germs, viruses, funguses, and molds. ​

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer fires are a top-five cause of house fires. Cleaning your dryer vent regularly greatly reduces the chance of a dryer fire, plus the following benefits:

  • Reduces clothes drying times
  • Lowers utility bills through greater efficiency
  • Extends the life span of your dryer
  • Lessens the amount of allergens in your house

Brush Cleaning Method

Our high-speed rotary brushing equipment sweeps the entire interior surface of your duct work, ensuring that all dust, debris, and pet hair are vacuumed away.

Physically cleaning the entire length of your duct work ensures that no contaminants are left behind, increasing your indoor air quality and peace of mind.

Reverse Octopus Whip Tool

The reverse octopus whip has eight 16” flexible tentacles, which whip around blasting high-pressure air in all directions as it moves through your duct work.

The tool agitates and dislodges the most hard-to-reach dust, debris, and contaminants, moving them toward our duct vacuum for collection and disposal.

Furnace Tune Up

Regular furnace tune ups are essential to maximizing the lifespan and efficiency of your furnace, so you can rely on it to keep you warm all Winter long.​

During our 30+ point inspection, we check all furnace systems to identify components that are worn out and need replacement. Replacing parts before they break — preventative maintenance — maximizes heating efficiency, avoids no-heat emergencies, and saves on costly service calls. 

Home furnaces can last for 20 years or more if well-maintained. A professional furnace tune up every two years helps to preserve your investment for decades.

A/C + High-efficiency Bypass

The secondary heat exchanger in a high-efficiency furnace or A/C coil has delicate, closely spaced fins that must be protected during your furnace and duct cleaning.

For furnaces that require a bypass, we temporarily install a filter above the heat exchanger or A/C coil, and position our duct vacuum above the filter.

This bypass procedure prevents damage by ensuring all dust and debris in your supply duct work is collected before reaching the heat exchanger or A/C coil.

Standard furnaces without A/C don’t have secondary heat exchangers or A/C coils and don’t require the bypass procedure.

Exhaust Flu Stack Cleaning

Mid-efficiency furnaces produce a sand-like, mildly-corrosive byproduct. This substance condenses in the exhaust flu stack and collects over time near the inducer/venter motor, restricting exhaust gas flow. Eventually, it enters the inducer motor and causes premature wear on the furnace.

Exhaust flu stack cleaning removes the build-up to reduce the chance of motor failure and maximize the life span of your furnace. Preventative maintenance ensures your furnace runs efficiently all Winter long — without costly no-heat emergencies. 

HRV Cleaning

In Calgary, all homes built in 2016 or later have a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Some homes built or renovated after 2013 may also have an HRV.

An HRV efficiently replaces stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air, all year round.

As with any other air-handling equipment in your home, your HRV should be cleaned regularly to ensure the best possible indoor air quality.

Not sure if you have an HRV? Call our team to find out how you can tell.

Furnace Tune Up Checklist

Inspect

Test & Check

Supply & Service

Measure & Record

A/C Tune Up

Regular preventative maintenance improves efficiency and extends the lifespan of your air conditioning system, with the following benefits:

  • Reduced electricity bills and operating costs. When the unit operates as designed, electricity usage is reduced.
  • Maximized cooling capacity. Home comfort on the hottest of days with minimum run time.
  • Minimized repair bills. Detect and fix small problems before they get worse.

Hot water tank types

Natural draft or atmospheric vented hot water tanks have a 3″ – 4″ steel vent pipe, which runs to a vertical chimney. The chimney is usually shared with standard or mid-efficiency furnaces.

Power vented hot water tanks have one or two black or white plastic vent pipe(s), which are 2″ – 3″ in diameter. The vent pipes usually exit from the side of the house.

Correct furnace sizing guarantee

Guarantee
If the furnace Advanpro installs is determined to be undersized for your home, we will supply and install the correctly-sized furnace at no additional cost.

Terms
Advanpro must be immediately notified of any install issues. The guarantee applies for 3 months, starting from the installation date. The guarantee no longer applies if, at any time after the quote or installation, modifications are made to the home that impact heating requirements.

Correct A/C sizing guarantee

Guarantee
If the air conditioner Advanpro installs is determined to be improperly sized for your home, we will supply and install the correctly-sized A/C condenser at no additional cost.

Terms
Advanpro must be immediately notified of any install issues. The guarantee applies for 3 months, starting from the installation date. The guarantee no longer applies if, at any time after the quote or installation, modifications are made to the home that impact cooling requirements.

Repair guarantee

Guarantee
If the diagnosed issue is not fixed by our initial repair, we will dispatch the first available service technician to return and fix it at no additional cost.

Terms
If we determine that there is an additional unrelated issue, there may be a charge for the additional repair.

Quote guarantee

Guarantee

When we receive an online furnace or air conditioning quote request and the customer accepts the initial quote, we’ll send a comfort advisor to confirm the provided information and quoted price in person.

If the comfort advisor finds any inaccuracies during the in person visit, we’ll revise the quoted price on the spot. After the quoted price is confirmed with an in person visit, the price is set.

If there are unforeseen complications on the date of install, Advanpro will not pass the additional costs along to the customer. (See exceptions in Terms below.)

Terms

The guarantee is not valid if the customer provides inaccurate information when Advanpro seeks to confirm any information about the quote. This also applies to the on-site confirmation visit.

In the exceptional circumstance that the chimney liner required for most furnace installations cannot be installed or gets stuck during installation, the guarantee no longer applies and we will provide a supplementary quote to complete installation.

We do not warranty or guarantee customer-supplied thermostats.

Furnace & Duct Cleaning Checklist

Pre-cleaning

Cleaning

Post-cleaning

Back Skipper Tool

The back skipper is a 1” diameter rounded ball connected to a long, flexible high-pressure airline.

The 1” ball has jets that discharge high-pressure air, pulling the tool and airline through the length of your duct work.

The high-pressure air moves the dust and debris toward our duct vacuum, where it is collected for disposal.​