What are the Pipes Coming Out of My Furnace?

If your furnace is 90% efficient or greater, you probably have PVC pipes coming out of the wall of your home that look something like those pictured here. These pipes allow the furnace to intake fresh air and to safely vent flue gasses out of the home.

We had a client recently ask us if they could just cut off the PVC pipes closer to the house. Unfortunately, they can’t.

Manufacturers have specific guidelines regarding the placement of this piping. They must have a minimum distance between them, which is why they are pointing in different directions. They must be high enough off the ground to not be covered during snowfall. If proper venting is not in place, homeowners run the risk of voiding their furnace warranty and creating expensive repairs.

But there are some options available to homeowners:

  • Some homeowners have planted landscaping to block the view of the piping. We recommend something that goes dormant during the winter months so it is not damaged by the venting of the furnace as it runs. Plants should be placed far enough away and kept pruned so that no part of the plant is close to the vent piping.
  • Many furnace manufacturers offer “discharge kits” that can give a cleaner look to the piping. They have specific guidelines for when they can be used so they are not a solution for everyone, but your heating contractor can see if they are an option for you.

Pending legislation may make this your only option for replacement heating units in parts of the country. In the future, we all may have these pipes coming out of our homes. In the meantime, enjoy the improved efficiency of your new furnace. You may get used to the pipes after a while. If not, call P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We can help you determine the best solution for your home.

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