As I was cruising through the Book of Faces this morning, I noticed a post from the Lincolnville Fire Department, discussing the importance of making sure the power vent on your furnace is cleared out. I know, I know....I'm not here to lecture or anything like that. I just know there's a lot of folks out there like me, who know how important this is, but sometimes forget all about it until someone says it out loud.

Photo Licolnville & Cumberland Fire Dept. Facebook pages

The house I just sold a few weeks back has one of these types of vents on it, and I checked it constantly to make sure there was no blockage. It was always on my mind after I read about a Bar Harbor family that were all hospitalized after their vent was blocked, and caused a build-up of carbon monoxide in their home. All of them were treated for poisoning.

In fact, The Maine CDC warned in a story for News Center Maine, that there had already been 13 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning since November 1st. Not all of those were caused by blocked furnace vents, but they were pretty much all cases of folks not properly venting the environment they were occupying at the time.

Chances are, you're already going to be out there with the shovel to make sure the oil delivery guy can get to your fill valve, so just be sure to take an extra few minutes and dig that vent out as well. Really. It sounds like I'm exaggerating, but it really could be the difference between life and death!