Discussions between the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors of Canada (HRAC), other industry partners, and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) resulted in the issuance of a Directors Order, effective Jan. 13, 2006, which sets out the requirements for gas technicians to conduct an inspection of natural gas and propane fired natural draft boilers equipped with a draft hood (under 300,000 Btu) in residences.

The order was issued to address the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from natural draft residential gas fired boilers. The Director's Order requires a gas technician to 1) take a CO reading in the flue gas upstream of the draft hood with the boiler operating at steady state under normal operating conditions, and 2) visually inspect the boiler for safe operation including any signs of flue gas spillage (e.g., due to down drafting) or condensation (e.g., due to excessively low return water temperature). If the CO reading exceeds 100 parts per million or if the boiler exhibits signs of condensation or flue gas spillage, the boiler will be designated as an "immediate hazard" and the technician will be required on the spot to take corrective action to address the causes or shut off the fuel supply to the boiler and provide notice to the user and the local gas distributor.

The order applies to all gas technicians (I, II, and III) but only when he or she is in the home "to carry out service, maintenance, and/or emergency response work within the scope of his/her certificate" (i.e., not installations and not for A/C calls). Once a boiler has been inspected, a label will be affixed to it, thereby pre-empting the need for repeat inspections where subsequent calls for other purposes are made on the home by gas technicians. If the boiler operation is corrected or found with the reading below 100 ppm, then a boiler inspection label is to be affixed.

The boiler inspection label will have an expiry date of May 1, 2006, covering the duration of the heating season. Technicians will also be required in all cases to provide the homeowner with an information sheet that outlines the TSSA requirement to inspect and take corrective action where necessary and the homeowner's responsibility to properly maintain their equipment.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 800-267-2231 or e-mail mluymes@hrai.ca.

Publication date: 02/06/2006