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SUMMARY: The Better Business Bureau reports that Terasen Gas advises homeowners to have natural gas furnaces inspected by a licensed gas fitter every 3-5 years; as well, if the homeowner decides the furnace needs cleaning, to have a duct or furnace cleaning company able to clean the fan, blower, ducts, and vacuum out the furnace. However, if the burners need to be taken out, the piping taken apart or repairs made, a licensed gas fitter must be engaged.

Homeowners should ask to see the gas fitter's license before any work is done in this regard.

The Gas Safety Act prohibits anyone from servicing, removing, replacing, re-installing or altering any components of a gas-fired appliance unless the technician holds a current certificate of competency issued by the provincial Gas Safety Branch.

Anyone having a furnace serviced or cleaned should ask to see the company representative's Gas Safety Branch license.

The Heating, Ventilating and Cooling Industry Association of British Columbia (HVCI) offers a training program called Quality First(TM), a course to ensure minimum standards are met in the installation and retrofitting of forced-air gas heating systems. The program is mandatory in some B.C. municipalities. In regions where it's not required, some contractors have opted in to it. For more information, please visit the association's website at:

HVCI's toll-free number in B.C. is (888) 774-8484; outside the province the number is (604) 414-0444.

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