Storm Prep


It’s been a while since our last storm, so a few quick reminders about safety related to energy efficiency. Remember, our safety personnel will likely have their hands full with other emergencies – let’s do them a favor by avoiding some of these basic hazards.

1. Clear direct vents: If you have a “direct venting” appliance such as a boiler or hot water heater, make sure the vents stay clear of snow. The vents are only a few feet off the

Typical direct vent exhaust as seen from outside the house.

Typical direct vent exhaust as seen from outside the house.

ground, so snow drifts can sometimes get in the way, especially if you’ve put anything under the vent. (Hint: Don’t put anything under the vent.)

If blocked, the CO from combustion will go into the home rather than outside. CO is known as a silent killer because there is no smell. Check the vent periodically throughout the storm.

2. Dryer vents: The same holds true for dryer vents – if snow or ice is blocking them they won’t function safely. In the case of a dryer this can lead to additional problems, like burning your house down. Until that happens, it can also dramatically rise the amount of time it takes to dry clothing, which wastes energy.

3. CO monitor: You’ve got CO monitors, right? They’re inexpensive and are required by law. For superior CO monitors that go beyond the standard Kidde models, visit the CO Experts (they’re legit, even if their website is terrible) or ProTech Safety. These detect lower amounts of CO than the typical models.

4. “Ventless” Fireplaces: In short, don’t use these, ever. The idea that you can burn a fuel without the need to vent burnt gasses outside the home is, to my mind, criminal. These aren’t candles or incense folks, these are burning gas. For an excellent article on this see here.

5. Miscellaneous other: Of course there are other things you should do to prepare for the storm including hoarding ingredients for french toast, pulling the sofa cushions off into a pile for a fort and these other suggestions from the Red Cross.

Have other efficiency-related safety tips for the storm? Please add them in the comments.

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