What Ottawa Homeowners Should Know About Red Tagged Furnaces
It’s the dead of winter and your furnace is due for routine service from a licensed technician. You’ve booked an appointment and the technician pays you a visit. You expect everything to go smoothly, just as it has in the past, but when the service is complete, he tells you that he’s issued a red tag (often called a Warning Tag) on your furnace. Next he tells you that your natural gas will be shut off until the furnace is either fixed or replaced.
What is a Red Tag?
When a red tag, otherwise known as a product warning tag, is issued on a gas appliance, it means that it is no longer safe to use and needs to be replaced or repaired. According to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), if your furnace gets red tagged, your natural gas will be shut down right away if the technician deems the issue an immediate threat (a Type A tag). However, if the issue doesn’t put you in immediate danger (a Type B tag), the technician will notify the local utility (i.e. Enbridge), giving you 45 days to fix the issue. If the issue isn’t addressed at the end of that 45-day period, the utility will cut off your natural gas.
The most common A tag issue is a crack in a furnace’s heat exchanger. In this situation, it’s very likely that carbon monoxide will leak into the air and cause serious harm to whoever gets exposed. A rusted or damaged vent is also a defect that would warrant the issuance of an A tag. Other common causes of A Tags include: defective gas valves, leaking venting, and ventor motor failures.
Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion
In the heating and cooling industry, people often call winter “red tag season” due to the number of furnaces that are issued red tags. The question is, is a red tag always warranted? According to a recent CTV Ottawa investigative report, many Ottawa homeowners end up repairing or replacing their furnaces, when in reality, there’s no need for a major repair or replacement. CTV Ottawa noted that an estimated 50% of red tags issued are not justified.
To confirm whether or not your gas furnace is due for a repair or replacement, it’s important to ask for a second opinion from a reputable heating and cooling contractor. Even if it turns out that your furnace does have a problem, now you can be confident about what to do next.