Monday, October 7, 2013

Mouse-proofing the Furnace Pipes

The mice have been being very expensive.  Last year, furnace repairs caused by mice cost me about $800.  It seems they are crawling into the combustion air pipes for the furnace.

The furnace technician said they were probably climbing up the satellite cable, to the insulation on the discharge, and finally into the pipe.  I had the satellite for 3-4 years, and finally had problems caused by mice?  I did not buy it.

The furnace ran without problems all last winter.  Turning it on this fall, had problems again.  The furnace technician found a dead mouse in the induction blower.  He removed the mouse and deemed the furnace good-to-go.  He suggested a screen over the cold air combustion air intake pipe.

I had already scheduled the satellite installer to upgrade of the system.  When I ordered the upgrade, I told the satellite company that the feed line would need to be rerouted during the upgrade.  The installer (different company) did not know anything about rerouting cables.  He did a minor reroute, to get it further away from the combustion air intake.

A day or two after the furnace repairs, I had a problem.  Furnace did not come on.  It got a little cool in the evening, but not too bad.  Things seemed to correct themselves as it worked fine (of course, we had warmer weather so not sure if it really was working right).  

Saturday, I friend provided some 1/4" mesh screen for me to use to "cover" the air piping.  It was cold, windy Saturday and Sunday was wet and cold.  So, did not get to covering the pipe openings.  This morning, I cut the screen/mesh and fashioned the air combustion air pipe covers.  Got them installed this morning.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a cold house.  Not too cold that I could not shower and go to coffee, first.  Back home, I checked what I could (including the thermostat) and decided I needed to call the HVAC company.  Being the first real cold morning, they had a waiting list for their technician.

A couple hours after I called for repairs, the furnace decided to run again.  So, I cancelled the serivce call - not excited about the cost of a Sunday service call should the problem be my (and the varmit's) fault. This morning, the furnace once again did not run.  Called for repair technician.  Earliest  they can get to me is 4-6 this afternoon.  Glad things are warming up a little today or it would be damned cold in the house today.

***** UPDATE *****

The furnace technician was here.  He found the inducer blower was filled with water!!!  When he inspected the blower, he found that one hole in the blower housing was not drilled out - one of the water drains. My version of the furnace needs the hole drilled out, other version  need if plugged.  So a year ago, when the blower installed, the technician did not properly install the blower - did not drill out the drain.

Since I have a life-time warranty on the furnace -- no charge for today's service call.  Heat back in the house.


Christine Allred said...

It’s really annoying when problems suddenly come up and because of the least anticipated cause -- mice. Ugh. Good thing you had enough time to mouse-proof the pipes before the furnace was to be fully utilized for the winter. How long do you estimate this resistance will last? Christine@Quality Heating & Sheet Metal

NaugaBike said...

Unfortunately, I had this same problem last year and did not believe it was mice getting into these pipes. When it happened again earlier this year - I had to take action.

The only problem I expect is if the screen plugs up with ice. So far, so good.

Christine Allred said...

Vermin can really be more than an annoyance and are pretty much hazards themselves. The best we can do in the face of this is to simply set up our furnaces in a way that mitigates their intrusion. Furthermore, get the type of furnace that are top-quality and long lasting, and that would be worth the effort of maintenance.

Christine @ Quality Heating

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