Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba have announced that they will implement restrictions on the use of forced air furnaces during construction; restrictions long sought by manufacturers because new furnaces were being damaged through contamination with drywall dust and other construction debris, leading to substantial warranty claims.
The construction heat ban was announced in early 2016 and took effect May 1 of this year. However, it took a compromise before provinces could actually start enforcing it in the field.
The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), representing manufacturers, worked with homebuilders, contractors, utilities and regulators in Ontario to come up with an acceptable process so that the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in that province could implement the ban.
A key issue was defining the stage at which the furnace could be turned on, reported Martin Luymes, HRAI director of programs and relations. Stakeholders reached a consensus late last spring. Once the drywall has been installed and primed the furnace could be started if certain conditions were met.
The key condition is the installation of a furnace filter with a minimum efficiency value rating (MERV) of 11 at the return on the furnace. Furnace manufacturers accepted this compromise and (in Ontario) Enbridge and Union Gas developed a sign-off form for activation of the furnace.
TSSA will recommend the Ontario solution to regulatory bodies in other provinces, through its involvement in the Canada-wide Interprovincial Gas Advisory Council (IGAC).
On Oct. 29 Alberta issued a Gas Safety Information Bulletin (Standata) outlining a similar approach to Ontario.
Manitoba recently announced its approach; a single-step inspection that will deem a new home to be finished for gas inspection purposes, also at the post drywall priming stage.