Birds, Nests, and Your Furnace Exhaust Pipe

bird, nest, furnace, roof, exhaust

Photo Credit: Stork by Dan on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You aren’t the only one being warmed up by your furnace! For many homeowners, the furnace in their home plays host to birds and their nests on a yearly basis. The chimney or exhaust pipe emit warm air that invites these winged creatures to settle in for the icy chill of winter. However, in making your furnace their home, they can create some serious problems for your heating system.

  • Nest Blockage: Before winter begins, check your chimney or furnace exhaust pipe for nests. Many birds will set up their home here during the spring and summer, and the remnants of their next can cause a blockage in the pipe or chimney. This blockage can cause damage to the furnace or possibly even prevent it from starting up. The blockage of air flow causes the furnace to shut itself down in order to prevent carbon monoxide from back flowing into the home.
  • An Untimely Death: Birds that make your furnace exhaust pipe of chimney their home, often meet an untimely death because of this choice. The carbon monoxide and other exhaust fumes from the furnace are toxic and will ultimately kill the bird. It can then fall into the chimney and consequently into the furnace. This bird will have to be professionally removed before the furnace can restart, and for many, the bird causes serious damage to components within the system.

Can I Stop Birds from Getting in My Furnace?

What can be done to prevent this? Not much. If you live in a cold climate, adding a screen to the exhaust pipe isn’t really an option. The screen will encourage water to freeze on the end of the pipe causing just as much of a blockage as a birds nest. The only real option is to check your exhaust pipe frequently and to remove obstructions when they occur. By checking regularly, you will prevent much of the major damage that would happen if the problem were left unattended.

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