Every year lives are saved by alert, conscientious HVAC technicians or public utility personnel who shut down unsafe furnaces. This is most often done for the safety of you and your family members. Cracked heat exchangers, lack of sufficient air for complete combustion and faulty vents may produce deadly carbon monoxide, a common cause of a furnace failure. The traditional term for this sort of forced shutdown is a red-tagged furnace, deriving from the fact that technicians used to actually tie a red tag on a disabled furnace and leave it there till the equipment was either repaired or replaced.
For an HVAC technician, a red-tagged furnace means the unit is hazardous to operate and has to be shut down and disabled, making further work impossible until repair or replacement is approved. For the affected Grand Traverse County homeowner, a residence deprived of heat during northern Michigan’s long heating season may be uninhabitable and susceptible to frozen pipes, too, leading to even greater expense.
Because a red-tagged furnace is usually an event as unexpected as it is unwelcome, decisions on what to do must be made quickly. Only an HVAC professional can evaluate the state of your furnace and offer solutions. Sometimes a minor repair to a leak or faulty wiring may be sufficient to remove a red tag. In many cases, however, major components or the furnace itself may need to be replaced.
The replacement of a cracked heat exchanger may make sense under certain circumstances, especially if the furnace is still under warranty. However, the substantial labor expense associated with dismantling an existing, installed furnace that’s out of warranty may make this alternative cost-prohibitive. Similarly, red-tagged furnaces over 10 years old may be better candidates for replacement than repair. Often, defects that prompt a red tag also serve as indicators of more system-wide faults, tipping the balance toward replacement.
If a red-tagged furnace has you out in the cold, contact the pros at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve been serving Grand Traverse County and the five surrounding counties for more than 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about red-tagged furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.