Sometimes, when homeowners call for furnace service, they’re surprised when the heating technician red tags their furnace. Many people panic when learning their furnace has been red tagged and are at a loss as to what to do next. It’s important to know why a red tag was issued, and what your options are moving forward.
Why are Red Tags Issued?
A furnace is red tagged when a professional HVAC technician discovers a safety concern with the heating system. There are two types of tags:
- An “A” tag is issued if there is an immediate threat to the safety of the home’s occupants. In this instance, the natural gas provider is notified and the gas supply is immediately turned off to prevent harm.
- A “B” tag signifies that there is a problem with your furnace (or related items, such as the exhaust piping, electrical wiring/plug, or clearances around the furnace), but it does not pose an immediate risk. The natural gas provider is still notified, but homeowners have a set amount of time to correct the safety concern. If repairs are not made in time, the natural gas could be turned off.
Most often, red tags are issued because there is a problem with the furnace’s heat exchanger. If this part cracks, carbon monoxide can be produced within your home. This odourless and colourless toxic gas is known as the “silent killer” and is responsible for numerous deaths and injuries every year in Canada.
Options After Being Red Tagged
Usually, the best course of action when dealing with a cracked heat exchanger is to replace the whole furnace. Heat exchangers are difficult (and expensive) to replace, and if the part is not under warranty, many homeowners choose to replace their old system with a new, high efficiency unit.
One of the best ways to prevent getting your furnace red tagged is to keep up with annual maintenance. Annual furnace service appointments can alert you to any possible problems, and small repairs can be made before problems turn into expensive furnace repair bills.
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