Has Your Furnace Been Red-Tagged?

Think of any phrase with "red" in it: "red light," "red flag," "red tag." None of those are good news!

And if you're a homeowner in greater Toronto or Hamilton and your furnace gets "red-tagged," generally this can be a costly piece of bad news.

Back in the day, if your furnace was condemned, an actual tag of red paper was stuck onto the furnace to show that you weren't allowed to use it.

Nowadays, if you're unlucky enough to have your furnace, boiler or water heater deemed unsafe, you're just given an official looking form, and the gas is locked to prevent fuelling of your furnace, fireplace or water tank.

What Does a Red-Tagged Furnace Mean?

No HVAC technician ever likes to tell a homeowner that their furnace, fireplace or water heater has to be red-tagged. But they're required by law to do it, if they find that the equipment is in dangerous condition and poses a threat to residents or property.

If a qualified furnace technician spots a hazardous furnace, fireplace or hot water tank (any gas appliance), he must red-tag it. It's not an optional step; he would be breaking Ontario's safety laws if he let a potentially dangerous situation continue.

More to the point, ignoring the rules could lead to a household tragedy-which could lead to injury or even death, because of malfunctioning gas appliance.

If anything went wrong with your furnace-if there's a cracked heat exchanger, or a rusted vent pipe, or insufficient combustion, or a poor quality installation-it could be a real hazard.

In cases where there is clear and present danger, the gas technician is required by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) to issue a furnace red tag. That means the appliance has to be shut down completely, and the gas turned off. The homeowner is stuck without their furnace (or boiler or heater) until they repair-or more usually, replace-the equipment. That's not a position anybody wants to be in.

There are several levels of authority involved: the contractor who makes the decision (such as AtlasCare), the gas utility (Enbridge Gas, Union Gas), and the safety regulations of the TSSA-which is responsible for governing home safety in Ontario.

Only when the red tag situation has been taken care of, and the hazardous appliance repaired or replaced, can the heating company notify the gas contractor that corrective action has been taken. At that time, the red tag can be removed.

How NOT to Get Your Furnace Red-Tagged

Most furnaces in greater Toronto and Hamilton have an effective life of 15-20 years. But as with any lifespan, organic or mechanical, the exact length depends on how much care is expended to keep things running smoothly.

It's like taking care of your own health: regular medical checkups are good for you, and regular furnace maintenance is good for your home-comfort equipment!

With AtlasCare on your side, and regular greater Toronto furnace service from our team of Healthy Home Technicians, you can avoid the trauma of having a malfunctioning furnace red-tagged.

Call AtlasCare for "Red Tag" Furnace Situations

If another contractor ever red-tags your furnace, please call AtlasCare for a second opinion.

Unfortunately, it's not unheard of for unscrupulous operators to tell homeowners that "their heat exchanger is cracked"-just to sell them a new furnace.

If you even suspect that this might be the case, just contact our greater Toronto furnace specialists. They'll perform a professional assessment of your furnace, and give you an honest opinion and professional assessment.

And if it turns out that you DO need a new furnace, check out our AtlasCare lineup of new high-efficiency gas furnaces.

Call AtlasCare for all Your Furnace Maintenance Needs

If your furnace is an older model, and if you want to avoid the danger of finding yourself in a "red tag furnace emergency," the best call you can make is to our licensed technicians at AtlasCare.

For regular and emergency furnace service, anywhere in Toronto or the GTA, just contact us: 416-626-1785, or 905-829-1296. Or fill in our online service form, and we'll be happy to get in touch with you right away.