Alert if snow covers furnace exhaust

So I’m prepping myself for the time of year I absolutely hate, winter. In anticipation of potential snow storms I’d like to receive an alert if the snow level covers the exhaust for our furnace. Any suggestions on how to do this?

There are some vent alarms made. Some are made for dryer vents, and some for furnace vents. If you think it’s a serious problem, you might look into those. Usually they measure air pressure and can pick up very subtle differences.

This happened to us last year. We got a huge storm with a lot of wind and it covered our vents overnight. Our furnace is brand new with all the latest automation but the next morning the furnace just stopped working. @Keo, I think you may be on to something here. @JDRoberts did you come across dryer sensors that are ZigBee enabled or just hooked up to some type of buzzer?

Checked around, including with a couple of friends who live in Minnesota. The general consensus seems to be that there are vent monitors available on the zigbee pro profile for commercial installations but because by definition these are hostile conditions, the cost of something that operates outdoors at the exhaust point is likely too expensive for the zigbee home automation profile market.

Many of the dryer lint monitors don’t use any electronics at all, not even a buzzer, they’re just visual.

Instead, it sounds like most people use two devices indoors. One on the furnace itself that measures airflow. This should already be a feature of the furnace. Second, a standard carbon monoxide Alarm.

One of my friends said he did try a pressure plate where the plate was outdoors and the electronics were indoors and it was intended to measure the weight of snow at a particular height. But he said the problem was that birds and squirrels would sit on the plate, creating false alarms. Which makes sense, but I’ll admit it had never occurred to me as a potential problem. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yea thought this was the case. My furnace has something built in as it shuts its self down when snow is blocking the exhaust but getting at that circuit is a different story. I wish (and I have many of them around the heating and cooling industry) the heating and cooling industry had some type of standard they all supported when it comes to the inner working of their equipment. Something like the CAN bus you see in automotive and other equipment. Sometimes I think the whole residential HVAC industry is stuck in the 70s. Its all about the thermostat the pretty gadget in the hall. There is so much more going on that would be good to know: Fan Speed, Intake air temperature, supply temperature, compressor temperature, in a Geo thermal unit (like mine) loop temperature, loop flow rate, loop pressure. I would guess the big commercial units have access to this information but for residential we are stuck with dumb pressure switches and random logic.

I feel a little better now that I have got that off my chest.

Thanks for checking!

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