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kristin 02-04-2007 12:39 PM

Clearning an iced up vent
My furnace stopped working last night, of course, because its about 3 degrees outside. However, this is a condo so I'm insulated on 3 sides and have a fireplace. The HVAC is a Payne condenser and is 5 years old. I'm getting error code #31 which is the draft failsafe.

The vent is made of PCV and runs 8 feet out from the external wall to the end of the deck. When I went out to look this morning, sure enough, there was a huge ice cycle dangling from the end. I banged it around with a hammer for a while and a bunch of ice fell out. I reset the furnace and fired it luck. The vent is so loooong that I don't know how to get all of the ice out. The cold snap is going to last another week, so waiting for a thaw is not an option.


Mike Swearingen 02-04-2007 02:03 PM

Thaw out the PVC exterior vent line frost ice with a hair dryer on High Heat. Start from the outer end. (Do NOT use flame of any kind,,,it will cause a steam explosion.)
If you know anyone with a wet/dry shop vac, that might help clean it out, too, after you begin to thaw it loose.
Heat the outside of the PVC pipe, primarily.
Good Luck!

tvlfleming 02-04-2007 06:42 PM

Mike has the right idea with the hair drier. I would suggest once its thawed out to install a 90 degree elbow in the end of your pipe with the opening facing down to stop the snow or rain from entering the pipe causing the ice buildup.

#CARRIERMAN 02-04-2007 07:52 PM

Hi kristin

Mike is right, for a quick fix use a hair dryer on high heat and get the ice out. Tvlfleming had a good idea on the elbow, however on a concentric you do not have that option. If you restrict the flow of exhaust gas enough with adding things to it, it will not work on the cold nights. The best permanent remedy is to get a self regulating heat tape from your local hardware store and wrap the flue concentric from the inside of the house. You will only have to run the heat tape during the cold winter months. Unplug it in the summer time, hope this helps.

Good luck

kristin 02-04-2007 09:40 PM

What about fireplaces for heat?
I've got an enclosed gas fireplace...vented to the exterior wall. I've been using it almost all day for heat, only turning it off when I leave. I'm using a floor fan for circulation. My concern is can I be putting CO2 into my home?

Mike Swearingen 02-05-2007 12:01 AM

There are different types of gas log fireplaces. If yours was properly installed and vented per the manufacturers directions, it should be perfectly safe to use.
You should have a CO2 alarm as well as a smoke alarm, especially in any room with a fireplace, in any case.
Any interior fan helps distribute cool and warm air both, and make central HVAC systems more efficient. (We have one that runs 24/7/365 in our master bedroom.) Reversible ceiling fans are great for this, but we just use a regular oscillating fan sitting on a dresser.

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