Air intake to furnace getting blocked.

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Old 12-12-10, 08:20 PM
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Air intake to furnace getting blocked.

I don't think this is specifically a hot water heat question, BUT... We have a Buderus hot water heater. Works great. EXCEPT, the air intake and exhaust are only a foot or so above the ground next to the house. We live in Minnesota, and when we get snow it builds up next to the house and covers the air intake and exhaust.

Which causes the furnace to stop working......

The exhaust is 3" pvc and projects straight out from the house about 6 inches.
The intake is 3" pvc, extends out of the house a couple inches, and turns 90 degrees down, so the intake is open parallel to the ground.....

Yesterday, during the big snowstorm I went out twice and made sure both pipes were in the open, but again today, because of the falling and blowing snow, they got covered and the furnace quit.

What would be a good way to keep these things from getting covered? I presume adding additional pipe to the input, turning it 180 degrees so it sticks UP above the snow wouldn't be a good plan since rain and snow would get into the intake... What do people do with these things in places where they keep getting covered?
 
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Old 12-12-10, 08:32 PM
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They should be installed (I think) 12" above the highest projected snowfall level... but that's kinda hard to predict... freak snowfalls on Dec 11...

How far are yours installed above ground?

Does the boiler manual give any info on this? I don't know what's 'allowed'... I'm sure one of the guyz does though.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:06 PM
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Yeah, the snow yesterday was more than usual. But, we get not infrequent smaller snows, and a little wind builds it up against the house. Then add in some idiot with a snowblower that shoots a half ton of snow into that area (unfortunately that'd be ME)...... AND, add in my helpful wife who cleans the snow OUT with a snowshovel, and in so doing, pushes the snow up into the air intake...... Quite the pair, we are!

Anyhow, I looked in the Buderus manual, and don't see anything about height, but since the thing is in the basement, it has to come out close to the ground. I could put in additional elbows so I could add a piece of pvc going up, get it above the normal snow level (probably about 4 feet above ground or so), then put a 180 degree bend at the top so it's still pulling the air from underneath and won't get rain and such in it? If I do this I presume I should put a hole (or holes) in the bottom of the lowest elbows so any moisture can drain out rather than turning the thing into a P-trap...
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:19 PM
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Quite the pair, we are!
Hmmm... sounds awful familiar to a couple that I know! uhhhhh, yeah, that would be me and my wife!

I think one thing to understand is that elbows and such all add restriction to air flow. I'm not sure it's a good idea to just add to what's there... you might actually want to remove the existing downward elbow, install a new one pointing UP and then turn around and down again. The less elbows you use, the better.

But, again, it's important to know what Buderus (and local building codes) allow before making any changes.

If the manual that you have is the OPERATION manual, it may not have the same info as the INSTALLATION manual. You should be able to find the latter on line.
 
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Old 12-14-10, 08:46 PM
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OK, I talked to the guys that installed the furnace. Turns out they sometimes do snorkels when they're either too close to the ground or figure there'll be stuff that blocks the input... So, there's no problem raising the intake. They also said I should raise the exhaust and make sure it's higher than the intake and a foot apart....

So, if it EVER warms up enough for the glue to work, I'll raise everything 3 or 4 feet 'cause I'm tired of going through the knee-deep snow to scrape stuff away from the intake where the wind keeps blowing it!
 
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Old 12-14-10, 09:32 PM
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You should also check the Buderus install manual for what is allowed... make CERTAIN that it agrees with what the installers told you! THEY are the ones that SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, but DID NOT... so be cynical... DON'T TRUST THEM JUST BECAUSE THEY SAID SO... VERIFY WHAT THEY TOLD YOU WITH BUDERUS!

OK, I'll do it for you... tell me what model number the equipment is.
 
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