What Is Red-Tagging? | Airco Service | OKC

Posted on: Nov 15, 2016

Over 50,000 house fires involved home heating systems from 2009 to 2013. Sadly, nearly 500 lives were lost, although regular maintenance could have prevented these tragedies. It is easy to think it may never happen to you, but why chance it? Maintenance for home heating systems costs less than having to call for emergency service in the middle of the night.

Why Red Tag Equipment?

Since so many house fires are caused by faulty heating equipment, the government enforces safety through authorized technicians. The technicians shut down equipment that is dangerous to use, which usually includes furnaces. Red tags may or may not be physically placed on home heating systems, but the paperwork shows why the equipment is unsafe. Regardless of weather conditions outside, red tagging is the process used to designate unsafe heating equipment. Equipment with a Type A red tag must be repaired by a professional or replaced prior to restarting it. Equipment with a Type B red tag must be fixed within 30 to 45 days. All of this might be preventable with regular maintenance.

What Equipment Is Red-Tagged?

  • Cracked heat exchangers on home heating systems are a common reason for a red tag. The heat exchanger on a furnace allows carbon monoxide to permeate your home. Carbon monoxide can cause serious illness and even death. On average, over 400 deaths a year are caused by faulty heat exchangers.
  • Water damage can cause safety issues on a furnace. Electrical shorts may cause fires and burn down a home. Also, the water damage may have opened cracks on the furnace, allowing carbon monoxide or other gases to escape.
  • Furnace vents, when cracked, cause carbon monoxide to escape, endangering household residents.
  • Fire hazards, such as walls too close to the furnace, can invoke a red tag. This usually happens after a renovation. Careful measurements must be made during construction.
  • Furnace pipes that have not been properly installed may lead to leaks. Again, this is usually found during remodeling.


Technicians do not enjoy placing usage restrictions on a furnace, but if the unit is unsafe, there is just too much at stake. By law, the equipment must be disabled until it is repaired or replaced.

Home heating systems are red-tagged when they become unsafe. A tagged unit is shut down until the faulty equipment is repaired or replaced. Regular maintenance may prevent red tagging.