If your furnace has been red tagged, you have a very important and potentially expensive decision to make: Repair the problem or replace the furnace. Neither is an attractive option, but when you realize a red-tagged furnace is an actual threat to health and life, the need to make a choice becomes even more urgent.
The term “red tagged” comes from the color of the tag affixed to the furnace to indicate it is inoperable. When your furnace has been red tagged, it means that a HVAC technician or inspector has found a critical safety issue in your heating system. The furnace must be shut down, and it cannot be restarted or operated until the problem has been fixed or the entire system replaced.
A cracked heat exchanger is usually the source of red-tagging. This internal component transfers heat to the air that circulates through your house. Heat exchangers are fragile, and over time they can develop cracks and damage even from normal use.
A cracked heat exchanger is a danger because it can let carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas created when fuel is burned to produce heat, leak from your furnace and into your home. Exposure to the gas can be deadly; most carbon monoxide deaths occur when it leaks into people’s homes and they inhale it in their sleep.
Replacing a heat exchange can sometimes cost almost as much as an entirely new furnace; to reach it, a technician will have to completely disassemble the system. When deciding what to do with your defective furnace, keep in mind that replacing the furnace may the better choice:
- If the unit is under 10 years old
- If the exchanger is still under warranty
- If the repair costs less than 25 percent of total replacement cost
Since 1934, T. F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating has provided top-quality HVAC sales, equipment, and service to customers all around Long Island. Contact us today for expert advice on what to do with a red-tagged furnace, and for help finding a replacement furnace that will safely and effectively keep your home warm for many winters to come.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Red tag image via Shutterstock.