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TSSA mandates CO detectors for Residential Natural Gas Boilers

Heating contractor technicians are legally required to check CO (Carbon Monoxide) levels when they enter a building with a natural draft boiler. We must perform this check, even if this is not the reason for our service call. The TSSA requires a CO check to me done annually on boilers. The contractor tags the equipment, showing the inspection date and when the next inspection is required.

CO alarms are required when you have a natural draft boiler:

TSSA now also requires homeowners to install CO detectors as a second line of defense, when the home is equipped with a natural draft boiler. Please read the follow excerpt from the TSSA's order: "The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has the mandate to maintain and improve safety for Ontario residents in the fuels and other regulated sectors. TSSA is officially designated by Ontario's Ministy of Consumer Services to administer and enforce the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, which governs fuel safety in Ontario.

TSSA has determined that the use of natural gas and propane burning natural draft boilers equipped with a draft hood may result in a carbon monoxide (CO) safety hazard in the home, that may cause personal injury up to and including death.

CO is a colourless gas produced when fuels such as natural gas and propane burn incompletely. CO itself is odourless and tasteless but it may be accompanied by an abnormal odour of incomplete fuel combustion. Symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, burning eyes, difficulty breathing, confusion and loss of consciousness.

Investigated CO incidents have shown that key contributing causes of the incidents are that:

To address this situation, TSSA is legally requiring that all heating contractors perform a CO safety check when a technician enters a home with a boiler. The technician is obliged to take action when an unsafe condition is identified. These checks will be required when a technician enters a home with this type of boiler regardless of whether the homeowner/user has requested service on that boiler. This check is only required once during the heating season. The gas technician is also required to visually examine the boiler and if there are signs of poor operation, additional steps may be required including a home depressurization test or non-compliances corrected by adding combustion air, make-up air, installing a water bypass, etc.. TSSA is requiring that CO alarm(s) be located in the vicinity or withing the sleeping quarters of the home. The technician is required to ensure that the alarm(s) is/are present. If alarms are missing, the technician is required to issue written notification that the alarms must be installed. If the alarms are not installed within the notification time limit, the fuel supply to your home will be shut off.

As an equipment owner/user, TSSA and industry remind you of your responsibility to properly maintain and operate your boiler and all other fuels burning equipment. Annual maintenance, as a minimum, by a qualified contractor is the best method to fulfil this requirement.

If there are safety issues identified during this mandatory inspection, the boiler will need to be serviced and depending on what type of service is necessary, the cost will vary. To best ensure the continued safety of you and your family, we ask that you allow the technician's inspection/evaluation, and that you have your boiler maintained on a regular basis.

If you do not allow the inspection or non-compliances are identified such as a no CO alarm(s) present, your boiler will be identified as requiring compliance within a specified time. If that time lapses and the inspection is not completed or non-compliances are not corrected, the fuel supply to your boiler or home will be shut-off. If there is an immediate hazard identified during the inspection that cannot be corrected, the fuel supply to the boiler will be immediately terminated.

TSSA and the associated industries thank you in advance for your co-operation in this regard. If you require further clarification or have questions, please ask the gas technician performing the inspection, your fuel supplier or TSSA at 1-877-682-8772, Web site: www.tssa.org

You can also call Salmon Plumbing and Heating any time at (519) 451-8910. We have 55 years of experience servicing and installing boilers. We will be happy to explain the maintenance requirements to keep your boiler running safely and efficiently.