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Another Reason to Get Ice Dams Removed: They Can Block Your Exhaust

Snow and ice that covers your roof ventilation can be a serious problem.  It can trap carbon monoxide in your home.

Tragically, that happened to a Minnesota man recently.  As Kare11 reported, he was alone in a once snow-covered shop on his property, where he was found unconscious by his family – who also had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, but survived.  According to the Otter Tail County Sheriff, “the carbon monoxide came from a boiler for an in-floor heating system after an exhaust pipe was blocked by ice.”

From the photo taken by Kare11 it appears the homeowner had his roof cleared of snow recently.  But if you look closely you’ll see a small portion of snow remaining on the roof.  Although it may appear to be snow, it’s actually ice!  Exhaust blocked by ice is what can happen when snow-covered exhaust pipes on your roof continue to operate in frigid temperatures.     

When performing ice dam removal in Minnesota and beyond, we see blocked exhaust more often than we’d like.  People assume that the hot air coming out of the exhaust simply will melt any snow cover, and often they’re correct.  But sometimes, under certain circumstances, like when the snow refreezes just as quickly as it can melt, your vents and pipes can get plugged-up with ice.  The result is that whatever air usually is expelled instead goes back into the house. 

When we see snow- or ice-covered exhaust vents or pipes, we always go out of our way to dig them out or de-ice them.  (We don’t even ask the homeowner; we just do it.)

If you ever need to hire an ice dam removal company, make sure to ask for all the exhaust vents to be cleared or de-iced.  Although we almost always do it, it’s still a good idea to ask any ice dam removal company you hire.  It’s also not a bad idea to keep an eye on your exhaust vents over the winter.  You can usually see them from the ground.  Be especially watchful after a big, heavy, wet snowfall.  You need to make sure that exhaust can escape.  It may be a matter of life and death.

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Written by on December 23, 2016

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