February 8th, 2018
You may have heard of the infamous ‘red tag’ that gas fitters and utility technicians will apply to gas furnaces and other gas appliances that are deemed hazardous or unsafe. However, many people are unclear on what to do next if your furnace or appliance is red tagged. It can be confusing, and even scary, since dealing with gas safety regulations are not something that most people typically encounter on a regular basis. In this article, we explain what the different types of red tags mean, and what steps of action you should take in the event that your appliance happens to receive one.
Different Kinds of Red Tags
There are two types of red tags that are used to flag a gas appliance like a furnace or fireplace that has been deemed to be unsafe or in need of some type of repair, or that should be completely replaced. Regardless of the type of equipment or the type of tag that is issued, it’s important to note that gas techs are required by law to issue the warning for the protection of you and your family.
Type A Red Tag: If your furnace is determined to pose an immediate threat or danger, the gas will be turned off right away and the furnace will be given a Type A red tag, meaning that the equipment absolutely cannot be used again until adequate repair or replacement of the unit has been completed. Your local utility provider, such as Enbridge, will be notified of the red tag by the technician.
Type B Red Tag: These tags are used to identify any gas equipment that is in need of repair or replacement, but does not pose an immediate threat or danger. While the equipment can still be operated with a Type B tag, the technician will notify your local utility provider and a grace period will be given to the homeowner in order to arrange for repair or replacement of the affected equipment. Failure to complete the repair or replacement by the end of this grace period will result in a shut-off of natural gas by the utility provider as a safety measure.
Types of Equipment That Can Be Tagged
While it’s most common for red tags to be applied to malfunctioning or worn-out furnaces, there are other types of gas equipment that can be flagged with a red tag if deemed unsafe. Gas techs are also able to apply red tags to the gas piping in or outside your home, as well as fireplaces, stoves, heaters, and any other appliance that uses natural gas as a fuel source.
What to Do if You Receive a Red Tag
You should also be aware that the technician who tags your gas appliance with a warning does not need to be the same technician that you use to make the repair or purchase a replacement from. While there certainly is a sense of urgency that you'll feel when you receive a warning or if the gas is shut off, you are free to obtain a second opinion from your preferred gas fitter or technician and have them perform the necessary repairs or replacements.
If you do receive a red tag for your gas furnace, fireplace, gas piping, or other appliance, the first thing you need to do is contact your trusted gas fitter and home comfort professional and discuss the situation with them. Only professionally certified gas technicians are authorized to remove a red tag, so be sure you go with a company with the right certifications, and that you trust.
Once they’ve examined the situation in your home that resulted in the red tag, they will make a recommendation for either repair or replacement, depending on what the situation calls for and what will provide the safest solution. It may be a simple matter of repairing a faulty component to correct the issue, or you may be better off to replace the equipment entirely. If there are several parts to replace and issues to correct, or it’s an older unit that is not up to modern standards, it’s likely that it would be a wiser investment to go with a new and more energy efficient piece of equipment. In the long run, the operating cost savings will make a big difference on your energy bills, and the peace of mind from having a new, safer unit is definitely worth the investment.
Regular Maintenance Makes a Difference
One of the surest ways to avoid receiving a red tag is to have your furnace, fireplace, and gas equipment serviced and inspected regularly by a certified gas technician and home comfort expert. In case you missed it, we’ve outlined the multiple benefits in our article on regular furnace maintenance. Your certified gas tech will be able to spot any early warning signs that equipment is beginning to wear out, or if the equipment in your home isn’t as energy-efficient as it could be.
In addition, these service and inspection visits are the perfect opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about your furnace and other home comfort equipment, as well as get handy tips you can use to improve the energy efficiency of your home and extend the life of your equipment. If you are in need of assistance from a certified gas technician and home comfort expert, or would like to arrange a service and inspection call, contact us today and we’d be glad to help.