Heating inspections in the past (prior to deregulation) were the responsibility of a governing body or an overseeing utility in most provinces across Canada. If a furnace was installed as a replacement in a gas-to-gas furnace exchange the installer of the product would place a new gas tag confirming the test results of the existing gas system, complete with a dial test.
During the commissioning process, they would fill out the start-up sheets to confirm the final set up of the new product. The new product then is put into service and the call for an inspection by the utility would be completed normally within a twenty four hour period. This would ensure the product was installed to the local fuel code and met the manufacturer’s requirements for safe operation.
Oil furnace retrofits and installations at this time, while governed under the local oil codes, were loosely (at best) enforced by fuel oil distributors.
Installations of a new gas furnace conversion from another source of heating such as an oil or electric product fell under a different process. The gas line would be pressure tested with a hand or foot pump to apply pressure and check for leaks with a “pounds test.” The contractor was required to call the utility to come to the property to unlock the new meter and service.
The utility would inspect and test the product(s) to confirm adherence to all codes and installation requirements. Any infractions or deficiencies would result in the gas system not being activated until corrections were completed. This required a second inspection to verify code confirmation.
There are over 20 deficiencies in this picture! How many can you find?
Many code changes
As time passed, fuel codes and regulations underwent many changes and updates. Technician requirements and status have been amended to several different classes of gas technicians. Ontario Regulation 215.01 lists 35 different classes of fuels certification! These range from utility employees trained to reactivate customer’s systems after an interruption, temporary construction heater activations, up to a G-1, which covers fuel inputs at and above 500,000 Btu/h for natural gas.
Code amendments are sent out to those fitters that have a valid license. One thing is a constant; the translation of code book requirements is sometimes (mis)interpreted by different inspectors and fitters to read as a different meaning. This complicates the job further and can cost contactors extra money and added hassles. As a result, many contractors avoid the inspection process.
Bungee cords? Well, it seemed like a good idea …
Today heating inspections are self regulated by the contractor that provided the gas appliance(s) to the job. The responsibilities are still the same for the installer to make sure of the code book requirements and that the manufactures directions are followed to a tee. Onsite inspections currently are only by request of a governing body during a contractor’s audit.
This audit process will start with several site visits to assess the contractor’s installation code conformance. Usually, if these installs pass inspection, all is well the audit ends! But if numerous deficiencies are found in the selected locations, the auditor can continue to add jobs to his/her assessments; in some cases looking at all the jobs that the company has completed to that date.
One common topic of discussion about the code book is the rule that the last licensed fitter on the job assumes responsibility for the complete job site. Issues have arisen with noncompliant items such as street elbows, thread protectors or nested bushings concealed within the job and found at a later date during an audit.
Any improperly installed gas appliances or supply lines in different areas of the job site should be identified and noted on the work order. The homeowner should be informed of these deficiencies. If the system passes the pressure test required for the completed installation, the homeowner would acknowledge and sign that he was aware of and informed of the existing code violations.
The last installer on the job is only responsible (B149.1 S1-07 Sec 4.3.1) to insure installed equipment is safe in operation and piping has been confirmed with a minimum dial test per (B149.1 S1-07 Sec 4.3.8 and 6.22.3).
How not to purge a gas line.
Yikes, homeowner repairs!
In Ontario, a homeowner living in a single family detached dwelling may do his own repairs, installation and retrofit work. As the installer, he must still observe all of the rules and regulations as a licensed technician and notify the fuel distributor of the changes and request an inspection. In the real world this may (will) not happen and, as the next fitter on site, the can of worms left by the previous installer becomes your nightmare!
As indicated above, pre-inspect the jobsite prior to submitting your quotation, with the identified deficiencies noted requiring correction to conform to code requirements. As a property owner, he may wish to complete the corrections on his own, and hopefully thank you for your information and assistance. If the installation methods may create a hazard to life and limb, complete a “Red Tag” and have your customer sign off and submit a legible original to the “authority having jurisdiction” in your area.
Look before you vent!
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