Testing Procedures

When should you have a Heating Safety Inspection?

Furnaces should be inspected at least once per year. However, anytime a furnace or boiler is being serviced or repaired, a safety inspection should be done to ensure the safety of the home and to check for carbon monoxide leakage.

Proper Testing Procedures for Heating Equipment

Contractors who conduct heating equipment inspections have specific guidelines and code that must be followed for the safety of the home, as recommended by the State of Minnesota, the International Fuel Gas Code and the American Gas Association.

Contractors who are called out to service heating equipment, either as part of a tune-up procedure or a during a repair, must conduct a safety inspection on the heating equipment. The State of Minnesota and the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) recommends that as part of a safety inspection:

  1. Contractors conduct a test for gas leaks
  2. The heat exchanger within the furnace is checked for cracks, openings or excessive corrosion
  3. The boiler is inspected for evidence of water or combustion leaks
  4. The combustion is tested, ensuring all readings are below 100ppm, undiluted air-free
  5. Visually inspect the venting system for proper size and horizontal pitch and determine there is no blockage or restriction, leakage, corrosion and other deficiencies that could cause an unsafe condition. 

If the Furnace is Deemed Unsafe to Operate

If the contractor finds fault during the safety inspection, the contractor is required to leave the unsafe equipment temporarily disabled as per the recommendations of the IFGC, the State of Minnesota and the American Gas Association (AGA), by turning off the electrical power and gas to the equipment until the equipment is repair or replaced. 

Note: It is never ok to leave a heating system running with a safety failure, even for a short period of time. 

Recommended steps to ensure trust with homeowners

The steps below are recommended to help contractors build trust the homeowners, but are not required by code.  These steps include:

  1. Have a second technician confirm the findings with a different set of testing equipment. Technicians can make honest mistakes and test equipment can come out of calibration over time.  But if two technicians with two separate sets of testing equipment come to the same conclusion, there is a high level of certainty in the findings.
  2. Always make the homeowner aware of all the options available to correct the problem and explain the pros and cons of each. Often times technicians only recommend to the homeowner the option they would chose to repair the equipment or replace it all together.  Ultimately it is always the homeowner’s decision and it the technicians job to educate the homeowner on their available options.
  3. Have the service manager review the situation with the homeowner before the technician leaves the home to ensure the customer fully understand the situation and the options available to them. Sometimes a homeowner didn’t fully understand what the technician was trying to communicate and it is helpful for a manager to explain it from another perspective.
  4. The homeowner is always welcome to reach out for a second opinion of the condition of the equipment from another company. The other company has the ability to turn the equipment back on if they determine it is safe.

Proper Testing References and Resources

It is important that contractors and homeowners alike are educated on proper inspection guidelines to ensure procedures are followed correctly. To learn more about these guidelines set forth by safety codes, visit References for detailed resources, guides and fact sheets.