What to Do When Your Gas Appliance is Red-Tagged?

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If one of your gas appliances, like a furnace or water heater, was recently given a red tag by a gas technician, you likely have many urgent questions about what this means and how to take care of it. We’ve put together some common red tag questions to provide you with the answers you need to get back on track with your home heating.

What is a red tag?

A red tag, also known as a product warning tag, may be placed on a gas appliance by a licensed technician to indicate that the appliance is no longer safe to operate and either needs to be repaired or replaced. Depending on the severity of the issue, the technician is required by law to turn off the gas as a safety measure to protect you and your family.

What are the types of red tags?

  • Type A: If a licensed technician has identified an immediate danger, for example, a severe carbon monoxide leak, your furnace gets a Type A red tag and your natural gas will be immediately turned off.
  • Type B: If the furnace does not pose an immediate danger to the homeowner, a Type B warning tag will be applied to the furnace and the local utility notified (e.g., Union Gas or Enbridge). This tag gives you a 30-day deadline to have the equipment repaired or replaced. If corrective action is not taken by the deadline, your natural gas will be turned off by the local utility.

Why have I received a red tag?

You have likely received a red tag because a licensed gas technician has identified a hazardous issue on your appliance or piping system that uses natural gas.

For example, if a defective heat exchanger is identified, it can release carbon monoxide into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas, which can cause serious health problems or death if undetected. It is harmful because it can rapidly accumulate in the blood, reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to vital organs.

If carbon monoxide is leaking from a cracked heat exchanger, there is a chance of it mixing with the air that is generated by the furnace and pushing through the vents in your home. To prevent this danger, a Type A red tag is applied to your furnace, your local utility is notified, and your natural gas is turned off.

Can I repair my furnace or do I need to buy a new one?

Whether you need to repair or replace your furnace depends on how serious the issue is. For example, if you received a Type A red tag for a crack in the heat exchanger, you will likely need to replace your furnace because the cracks are very difficult to repair. If you received a Type B red tag, then the issue is less hazardous, and it’s more likely that you will be able to repair your furnace within the 30-day timeframe. However, if your furnace is close to the typical 20-year lifespan, it may be best to replace it and practice proper furnace maintenance.

If you can’t afford to purchase a new furnace, you might consider furnace rental as an option. The same advice applies to water heaters too. Water heater rental is an option when you can’t afford to buy a new one.

What should I do if I receive a red tag?

Immediately call a licensed contractor like Enercare to inspect your equipment. Dealing with natural gas requires extreme care. Our experienced, licensed technicians approach all jobs with safety as a priority. Receiving a red tag on your appliance can be confusing, frustrating, and scary.

At Enercare we are here to help you figure out what steps you need to take to keep your family safe and comfortable. If your furnace has been condemned, get in touch with us to talk with a heating specialist about your repair or replacement options.