Lewis Maclean November 2017


Do You Respect Your Gas Appliances?

Gas appliances are serious business, whether we’re talking about a gas stove, a water heater, a furnace, or any of the consumer gas appliances on the market today. Recently, a BC couple passed away in their sleep, at relatively the same time. It was very odd, but far from the first story of its kind. The couple was poisoned by carbon monoxide. It turns out that they recently had some repairs done on the furnace. They also had their fireplace looked at. The inspection indicated that something was wrong with the fireplace and that the safety switch was failing. The inspection also showed that the central heating system was in good shape, but at some point, the safety switches were bypassed. This may have led to their deaths. As of this writing, their deaths are still under investigation. This is just one reason to treat gas appliances with respect. I’ve had people ask me about safety switches in the past. One guy came in looking for a safety switch for his furnace. He told me it was a repair he had done many times before on this particular furnace. I said, “You don’t find that odd?” received over the years for furnace repairs, we’ve encountered no more than six safety switch failures. If you do run into an issue with a safety switch, or you have a safety switch that keeps failing, chances are the issue is not with the switch, but with something else that will need to be identified with an inspection. His response? “Well, they fail.” The problem is, they typically don’t fail. Out of all the calls we’ve

In Canada, there are basically no suppliers or wholesalers that will sell you a safety switch directly. I don’t even sell them. When you’re dealing with this kind of issue, it’s best to bring in a professional who can diagnose and take care of the problem. Some of the challenges we face in BC are the laws that dictate gas appliance repair. Homeowners who live in a single-family dwelling can do their own maintenance on a gas appliance, and they can do so without fully understanding the appliance.

Anyone living in an apartment, duplex, or any other kind of share home are not allowed to work on that home’s gas appliances. This is out of concern for the safety of others who may reside in the same structure. For someone living in a single-family home, their safety is in their own hands. FortisBC often offers rebates toward appliance maintenance. It’s a great way to have your furnace or boiler inspected while keeping costs low. Their last rebate period ended on Oct. 31, but if you had service between Sept. 18 and Oct. 31, you have until Nov. 30 to request a rebate for up to $50 ($25 for a furnace or boiler inspection and $25 for a fireplace inspection). There is no denying that gas appliances are great. They’re often very well- designed, energy efficient, and exceptionally convenient — at least when they’re working properly. When these appliances are out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget about routine inspections and maintenance. However, it is in your best interest to make sure it happens, for your safety, your family’s safety, and the safety of your home.


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