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Lessons in cold-weather management


February 12, 2008
By Carey Fredericks


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Feb. 12
As the editor of a firefighting magazine and the daughter of an insurance adjuster, I’m more than paranoid about fire. I phoned a firefighter friend a few weeks ago when we got a new clothes dryer to make sure we had the correct venting materials; our house is full of smoke detectors (11 at last count); and we never burn candles.

Which is why I was both alarmed and thrilled to learn that our three-year-old, high-efficiency furnace shut itself off Monday morning because the vent to the outside was blocked with ice and snow. The furnace is built to shut down when anything interferes with the venting system.

Which was good, except that it happened to be the coldest weekend of the year and was a brisk 14 degrees in the house at 7 a.m. Monday. The furnace repair folks arrived quickly and discovered the ice buildup in the vent.  

All of which to say that there’s been a lot of snow and cold weather in Toronto lately and I’m now completely paranoid about checking the furnace vent.


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