This week, a friend of mine shared a story about how they had to have a gas technician in to service their furnace because it wasn’t working. As it turns out, it was leaking gas and had to be red tagged. According to the law, the furnace or gas appliance cannot be used until a gas fitter approves the appliances for use again after repair or replacement. It is a frustrating situation to be in, as my friend can attest to. However, proper maintenance and check-ups can help avoid the such an inconvenience. Read these Furnace maintenance tips to avoid being red tagged yourself.

What is Red Tagging and why is it done?

Gas technicians take no pleasure in informing a homeowner that their appliances have to be red tagged and shut down. For example, according to safety laws in Ontario, Canada, hazardous equipment in dangerous condition could lead to injury and fatality from a malfunction in gas appliances.

Upon entering your home, it is the responsibility of a gas technician to check all gas appliances if the furnace is broken. It is a necessary precaution and the primary responsibility, for any professional to ensure that your family stays safe in your home. No matter where you live, strict regulations apply when it comes to the procedure of red tagging and inspection as stated in code B149.1.10.*. If this procedure is not applied or done properly, the gas technician is held liable immediately for any damage caused to the home; a very serious penalty. If you call, they check them all!

How to Avoid Being Tagged

You’re not guaranteed to get red tagged when a professional visits you. So, Every time you start your heating and cooling equipment for the season, remember to run through this list of check ups. Simply running your appliance for a short period of time every couple of months will help regulate the system and prevent most problems. Remember to do a full service check up every 2 years for areas that experiences harsher winters, and every 5 years for areas with milder seasons.

Remember to:

  • Clear your indoor vents.
  • Change your furnace filter and any filters used for cold air returns etc. on a regular basis.
  • Make sure that there is no debris preventing airflow to your outdoor units before turning them on.
  • Change the batteries and check the temperature using a thermometer other than your thermostat for accuracy.

When to call a professional:

The average life of a furnace is 16 to 25 years; check-ups are recommended once a year just to make sure it’s running without issue – call your local Napoleon dealer to book an appointment. Efficiency decreases with age, especially if regular maintenance is ignored. Indications that you need a tune-up or a professional visit include:

  • Having trouble with the thermostat.
  • Dusty and dry air inside the home.
  • Cracking wood furniture and static electricity.

More urgent indications include the following:

Rattling or distressed Noise

  • Possibly Loose panel
  • Warning sign that heat exchanger could be cracked and may be producing dangerous toxins

Low Rumbling

  • Oil inside the combustion chamber which will make fumes

Flickering or Yellow pilot light

  • Excess carbon dioxide around gas burning furnaces. If adjusting does not return light to blue, schedule a maintenance appointment

Scraping Sound

  • Ball bearings are nearly worn out. Turn off immediately and call a furnace specialist

High-pitched Squeal

  • Blower belt is slipping or frayed
  • Ball bearings need proper lubrication

An efficient and functional furnace creates clean air and a comfortable ambiance in your home. With regular maintenance and proper care, your heating and cooling, and even your other gas burning appliances will work at peak efficiency, and without issue for many years to come.

For more information about maintaining your heating and cooling appliances check out our Maintenance Tips Section.

* The safety regulations and laws put forth in this document are applicable to Canada only, please refer to your country’s safety codes when dealing with furnaces and other natural gas appliances.

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