How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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What does it mean when a gas appliance (water heater, furnace, or range) has been "red tagged"?
Sunday, September 30, 2018
When the gas service to a home has been turned off by the local utility at a departing homeowner’s request or because of an unpaid bill, reactivating is not as easy as getting the electricity back on. An appointment must be made and someone has to be present to open the house for a technician to inspect for gas leaks and do a safety check of all the gas appliances before permanently unlocking the shut-off valve at the meter.
If the technician finds any safety defects at an appliance, a red-and-white tag is attached to it with an explanation of the problem and the warning “DO NOT OPERATE THIS APPLIANCE.” To be sure that it is not used until repair, the gas line is disconnected and capped off at the appliance. In the photo above a GRU (Gainesville Regional Utilities) technician has red-tagged a water heater because of a loose flue connection at the draft hood at the top of the tank—which would allow combustion gases, including carbon monoxide, to enter the room—and our arrow points to the cap installed at the end of the disconnected line. When there is a leak or other more significant problem, a red tag is left behind and the gas remains locked off at the meter.
Typical problems that we see red-tagged are damaged or missing burners at a range, a vandalized furnace in a foreclosure, severely corroded components, homeowner fixes using materials not approved by a national rating agency for gas appliance installation, and improper use of flexible gas supply lines. After repair, a utility company technician will return to the house, verify the repairs, and reconnect the individual appliances or gas service to the home.
Also, see our blog posts Why would a home have natural gas appliaces but no gas meter? and Why is a leaning water heater a safety problem? and Is black iron gas pipe code approved for exterior (outdoor) installation?
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