Q&A / 

Ice Furnace Exhaust

Kristen almost got hit by a chunk of ice from her furnace exhaust pipe in Milford, CT. She's still alive to tell her story. Here it is:

"Hi, Tim. I have a large ice pillar on my 3rd story/attic siding. I only noticed it when an arm-sized chunk of ice fell and nearly hit me. At that point I realized that there had been big chunks of ice in that area all winter.

The gable is about 40 feet up and the vent in the picture comes from the attic furnace. My house was built new 5 years ago.

My questions are: 1) Did the people who installed this do it wrong? (this is more curiosity that anything else); 2) What kind of professional do I need to get out here to fix this?; and finally, 3) What should I expect him to do?

Thanks for giving your time and expertise to strangers. Have a wonderful spring."

That's a pretty big ice pillar on Kristen's roof!  Photo credit: Kristen  No-Last-Name

That's a pretty big ice pillar on Kristen's roof! Photo credit: Kristen No-Last-Name


Here are my answers:

I don't feel the HVAC contractor installed it wrong. The actual answer to that can be found in the written installation instructions that come with the furnace.

One thing I'd consider doing would be seeing if two 45-degree angles can be put into the pipe you can't see up in the attic space.

This would shift the outlet sideways and closer to the roof overhang to the left in the photo. Doing this would allow the liquid condensate to drip down to the ground about 4 inches past that gutter I see in the photo. This way you can deal with the ice buildup on the ground with a hammer.

You'll also need a siding contractor to install some new siding pieces where the existing hole is.

BEFORE any of this work is done, make sure the two 45-degree angles will NOT void the warranty on the furnace nor add too much resistance in the exhaust pipe to cause sensors to turn off the furnace.


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