A red tag, also referred to as a warning tag, is placed on a furnace or hot water heater by a licensed technician to indicate that your equipment is no longer safe to operate and either needs to be repaired or replaced. A licensed technician who identifies a warning tag situation is required by law to turn off your gas as a safety measure to protect the residents of your home or business.
Warning tags are issued on any appliance and piping system that uses natural gas when a licensed gas technician has identified a hazard issue. One reason for a warning tag to be placed on a furnace is when a defective heat exchanger is identified. A defective heat exchanger can be a hazard because it can release carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that can cause serious health problems if undetected. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it can rapidly accumulate in the blood, depleting the blood's ability to carry oxygen.
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 pushed into your vents and throughout your home. To prevent this, a red tag is applied to your furnace, your local utility is notified and your natural gas is turned off.
There are two types of warning tags. If a licensed technician has identified a carbon monoxide leak and deems it an immediate danger, your furnace gets red tagged and your natural gas will be turned off immediately. 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. A Type B warning tag allows the customer 45 days to have the equipment repaired or replaced. If corrective action is not taken, your natural gas will be turned off by the local utility, Union or Enbridge.
If you received a warning tag, you should immediately call a licensed contractor to inspect your equipment. In some cases, a furnace can repaired but in more serious cases, the equipment often needs to be replaced. Dealing with natural gas, water and electricity requires extreme care. Our experienced, licensed technicians approach all jobs with safety as a priority. Contact Direct Energy if you need to discuss a warning tag, or have questions.