I purchased a 95% hi Eff Rheem furnance and birds got into the pipe. they say it is illegal to put a bird screen

Baby H
by Baby H
So I need resolution, I can't go thru this every year. He is a picture of the pvc pipe
  32 answers
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 14, 2012
    Is this in the in the front of rear of your house? Who would be coming around to check your furnace pipes? As long as the pipe isn't blocked completely I would put something over it. This may be your time to invent something that would be approved and you could make millions $$$$..
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Oct 14, 2012
    maybe a mouse screen is what you need - is that illegal?? does seem like an archaic rule
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 14, 2012
    If the pipe is in the back of the house maybe you could put one of those wire mesh sleeves you put on the drain hose for your washer. Or maybe pull a knee high pantyhose sock. I know you probably don't want anything too noticable in the front of your house.
  • Jacqueline B Jacqueline B on Oct 14, 2012
    Does air flow in or out? Make a vent that opens according to the air flow.
  • Paul M Paul M on Oct 15, 2012
    A piece of hardware cloth will keep out birds and not affect air flow either in or out.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 15, 2012
    I'm with @Paul M get a small piece of hardware cloth (1/4" mesh opening size screen) and cut a circle piece that is just a wee bit bigger than the ID of that 45 degree elbow. You can then just push it in to the "stop".
  • Baby H Baby H on Oct 15, 2012
    Mary, its on the side of my house, They make screen specifically to cover these and when the tech called in to order one he was advised he couldn't for a 95% Hi EFF. Jacqueline it is an exhause pipe so I guess thats out? Paul and KMS never heard of Hardware cloth, let me google it.
  • Baby H Baby H on Oct 15, 2012
    Looking at Hardware cloth and trying to figure out whats the difference between it and screen? I have a small piece of screen I could put on there
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 15, 2012
    If you put the hardware cloth over it no one will even notice know. Just take it off when you have them come to clean or service your furnace. Maybe hardware cloth is more flexible.
  • Baby H Baby H on Oct 15, 2012
    Okay went and got a piece of hardware cloth and I see it has bigger holes basically than the screen. Got a clamp, now I just need to get the ladder and climb up there. Sounds like a weekend project.. Thanks everyone
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 15, 2012
    Good Luck!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 16, 2012
    Since you have the hardware cloth you can see it is made of steel wire...most "screens" these days are made from fiberlass...a mouse can chew through it in a heartbeat
  • Jacqueline B Jacqueline B on Oct 16, 2012
    Baby H there is no difference between hardware cloth and screen. It's all made of metal mesh just differnt size metal and weave. So use a vent that open according to the airflow. If the inspector complains about that then build a screen box around the pipe.
  • Time out! Very important! If this is a vent pushing air out, you cannot put any screen on it. Not allowed. It will ice up during freezing weather and cause failure of the heating system. If the vent is a intake vent, then a 1/4 inch screen can be used. this screen should be made of stainless steel. any good quality heating company can get this as your not going to find stainless 1/4 inch screens in your local hardware store. It is pushed into the bell mouth of the supply vent, then a very short section of the 2 inch pipe is cut and glued into the opening to keep the screen into place. Do not use window screen with hose clamps, do not use hardware cloth, do not use anything other then stainless steel mesh and install it properly. Anything attached to the outside will collect snow and can cause it to be pulled into the opening. And do not alter the pipe in any fashion. Call a pro for this or you will find yourself freezing when you need the furnace the most on the coldest day.
  • Baby H Baby H on Oct 16, 2012
    Hi woodbridge, it is an exhaust pvc pipe, my Rheem technician is the one who advised me once he called in to order some type of cover that he was told it would void my warranty from Rheem. Does that change anything?
  • If it is an exhaust pipe it cannot have any type of screening over it. Reason being a condensing furnace or even a hot water heater does just that. It is so efficient in the combustion phase its temp is cool enough to use a PVC pipe instead of metal. As gas burns it releases moisture, Some is collected in a drain next to the heating system which should be draining somewhere inside of the house, perhaps in a sink or floor drain. The rest is pushed out with the exhaust gases. This results in the steam that you would see when it is cold out and the unit is running. The issue is that this moisture can collect on anything that it comes into contact with, and in this case would be the screen in the pipe. Not a big thing as long as the unit is running, however when it shuts down, the moisture can freeze on the screen effectively blocking it. This would result in the heating system locking out and not working. And this would be when its the coldest out, not in the early fall or spring when you just need to take the chill out of the house. There is no work around for this. You can assuming this is the heat system put a cover over the pipe during the summer when your not using the furnace, this should keep the birds out. And then once the fall weather begins to cool down, the birds should be long gone and you can remove the cover without worrying about them coming back. Quite frankly, once the birds leave, they very rarely come back. I have only heard about this happening once or twice in many years.
  • Di S Di S on Oct 17, 2012
    cut the toe end of a nylon stocking off and place over it ; it will allow things to exit it but not allow anything to get into it just check it now and then to make sure it is clear of any debris
  • DI S You need to read my post. You cannot at all place anything over a vent pipe on a condensing furnace or it will fail to operate due to freezing. Also the restriction that a stocking would cause would most likely prevent it from working even when it is warm out. You cannot alter a vent system in any manner and expect it to properly operate and be safe.
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 17, 2012
    We get long icicles on our PVC pipes in the winter. The pipe faces down and some of the icicles reached all the way to the ground wiich is about 4ft.
  • Mary that is exactly why no screen. One thing that is also very important is the length of the pipe leaving the house that is exposed to the weather, also the pitch of the pipe. Mary your system should not be producing that much condensate. This is an indication that the pipe is pitched down towards the outside which is incorrect. The condensate that collects within the pipe should be draining back into the furnace area and draining into a pump or an interior drain somewhere. This pitch being incorrect allows the moisture that collects inside of the pipe to drain out which then freezes as your seeing. This can during periods of long operation and cold weather become an issue. One being plugging of the pipe with ice, the 2nd is the water itself is acidic in nature. This acid can cause plant and lawn issues and can corrode cement, and any metal materials it comes into contact with. I would suggest that the heating pro come back and check the pitch of the pipe. If they say its ok to pitch out and down, tell them to show you that in the install instructions. It is simply not the case. Also the length of the pipe going out past the wall should not exceed 12 inches at most. Most say not more then six inches. Reason is that the pipe can become quite cold and begin to freeze the condensate before it even exits the pipe. If this appears to be happening, then the installation of a insulation wrap should be considered.
  • Acorn Ponds & Waterfalls Acorn Ponds & Waterfalls on Oct 19, 2012
    A cat statue? Birds do not like motion so maybe one of those whirly things that twirl around when the wind blows. A plastic bag that can blow around placed nearby?
  • Paul M Paul M on Oct 21, 2012
    It rarely if ever freezes hard enough or long enough for any screen material to be a problem over any vent of any type what so ever, in the Atlanta Georgia area.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 21, 2012
    @Paul M That is what I was thinking...I Mean you guys barely need A furnace down there... I ran some numbers through a "Degree Heating Day " program (set at 60 f instead of the standard 65 f...we keep Our furnace set at 58) Description: Fahrenheit-based heating degree days for a base temperature of 60FSource: www.degreedays.net (using temperature data from www.wunderground.com)Accuracy: No problems detectedStation: East Atlanta Village, Atlanta, GA, US (84.34W,33.74N)Station ID: KGAATLAN37 Month starting HDD10/1/2011 13511/1/2011 25712/1/2011 3711/1/2012 4132/1/2012 3113/1/2012 924/1/2012 695/1/2012 86/1/2012 27/1/2012 08/1/2012 09/1/2012 10 1668 The annual total was a bit over 1650....compare that to some locations here in colorado and we are over 10,000.
  • If there is any chance of freezing you cannot use a screen. Also if you thought you could and get away with it. It must be stainless steel only. As any other metal will simply corrode from the acidity of the exiting moisture.
  • Paul M Paul M on Oct 22, 2012
    Hardware cloth will not ice up and ever be a problem here. Water is not corrosive unless it has some sort of chemical or ionic solvent in it. Pure water doesn't corrode at all. Galvanized hardware cloth will last for many many years and it is much better than birds nests in the line, which it will prevent.
  • Paul, I hate to disagree with you, however the moisture that exits out of the vent of a condensing furnace is corrosive and will freeze if it gets cold enough. While in your area of the country that does not see to many freezing issues, They do occur. And it will be at that time you will need the furnace the most. And any freezing that could cause a blockage of air flow, even slightly will cause the internal safety devices to shut the furnace down to prevent CO issues, explosion and possible injury to both the occupants and the equipment. This moisture is a by product of combustion from the fuel being burnt. No screen, hardware cloth or covering of any kind is allowed or suggested by any furnace manufacture. If in fact the manufacture would allow this at all, they would include this in the installation instructions on how to do it and what material is suggested to use. The water and carbon dioxide form a slightly acidic condensate called carbonic acid. On early installed systems the manufacture required that all condensate be sent through a limestone filter system to neutralize the acidity of the water. Not doing so the early condensate pumps that were primarily made of metal would rust and corrode and fail. Draining the condensate into a sump pump pit would destroy the impeller in short order. Now that pumps both condensate and most sump pumps utilize plastic components this risk has been pretty much eliminated. This is not potable water in any sense of the word.
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Oct 22, 2012
    Woodbridge Environmental, I'll take a picture of my pipes tomorrow and post them here.
  • Lynda Benoit Lynda Benoit on Jun 03, 2014
    A simple solution is to pull a knee high Pantihose over the pipe in the spring time. Once the nesting season has passed you can remove it. This also works on the dryer vent. They catch the lint and you just need to change the knee high.
  • Susan E Susan E on Jul 23, 2014
    Could you build a box over the drain and put a screen at the bottom of the box? I wish I could draw this for you.
  • Baby H Baby H on Jul 23, 2014
    finally got a resolution. Basically they realized the installer put a 45 degree angle on and it should have been a 90 degree one
  • Its always something simple. Glad it got worked out!
  • Lois Franklin Lois Franklin on May 25, 2015
    Good fix from what I understand is to hang an old cd on heavy string near the pipe. The moving shiny surface is supposed to scare the birds away.