Venting Upgrades

Why venting upgrades might be required

I speak a lot about the value of upgrading appliances to high efficiency models. This applies mainly to heating and cooling appliances like furnaces and air conditioners. Coincidently, over the past few weeks I’ve chatted to a few folks who are starting to think about upgrading their furnaces in time for the winter season. Yeah, I know, it’s still August, but nothing wrong with getting your ducks in a row.

Anyway, talking furnace upgrades got me to thinking about changes to the safety requirements around plastic piping for gas burning appliances (water heaters, boilers, furnaces). Not everyone is aware that changing or replacing any natural gas appliance in your home, including a furnace or water heater, might also include upgrading the plastic venting to meet Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code requirements (enforced by the Technical Standards & Safety Authority – TSSA for short – in Ontario). The regulation went into effect in August of 2007 – and while that means it’s been in effect for the past three years, it’s not something that tends to stay top of mind for most people. Seriously, how often do you go home and ponder your venting system?

As a side note, I want to reinforce that this also applies to water heaters. If you are upgrading your water heater, you might be required to upgrade the plastic venting to meet code.

The nitty-gritty of the regulation mandates that any new or replacement appliance installation must be completed with a venting material which is marked and complies with the new standard ULC S636 piping rather than unmarked PVC, CPVC or ABS piping which has been used for many years. This code requirement was been adopted throughout all Canadian provinces and applies to every home in Ontario.

There you have it, a short background on why you might be required to upgrade your venting, to meet TSSA and National codes, when upgrading a gas burning appliance. Now, back to enjoying the latest heat wave – my dog has returned to his ‘heat wave position’ over the vent!

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