furnace ventATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Firefighters responded to a home on Harborview Drive today and saved a woman who otherwise might have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.   The gas vents of her home had become blocked with snow from the drifts accompanying the "bomb cyclone" that visited the area Thursday.  

Home owners with high efficiency, direct vent furnaces and water heaters need to check to see that the venting has not been drifted over with snow or blocked in some way.  These systems typically vent through the sill plate of the home, close to ground level through a white PVC piping as in the photo above.  Drifting snow has the potential to block these vents, causing your furnace or water heater to not operate.  

Atlantic Highlands Fire Chief Brian Sheehan said the woman nearly died from her exposure to carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas which is a byproduct of burning fuel.  "When the guys got back to the station we were talking about it. There will be a lot of (house) vents covered up with this snow. We just want to get the word out."

All combustion appliances, furnace and water heaters require venting.  Chief Sheehan advises all residents to check around their home and to clear vents and gas meters of any snow.  Be sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly by testing it.  (Assistance removing snow around hydrants is also welcome.)