Ventless Gas Heater CO Safety Device Proposed by CPSC

Ventless Gas Heater CO Safety Device Proposed by CPSC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing a safety standard that would require unvented gas heaters have an oxygen depletion sensor that would activiate a fuel gas cutoff device.

Presently, such heaters discharge carbon monoxide into the living space, creating a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The proposed sensor acts to avoid CO buildup by shutting off the gas supply to the heater when the oxygen supply is depleted to the point of being hazardous life.

CO poisoning death-related incidents are expected to decline as a result of the proposed standard. All unvented gasfired space heaters manufactured or imported after Dec. 30, 1980 would have meet the proposed requirements.

Comments should be received by the commission by March 18, though late comments may be considered. Discussion regarding this proposal will take place on March 10 at 10 a.m.

Proper ventilation and the hazards of gas-fired space heaters have been examined in the past few years. Despite proposal made in January 1974 by the Missouri Public Interest Research Group to develop mandatory safety standards for several kinds of space heaters (wood, gas, kerosene, electricity), the commission decided that only gas-fired space heaters presented unreasonable risks, and partially denied petition for space heaters fueled by energy sources other than gas.

Simultaneously, the commission’s staff developed technical information on gas-fired space heaters for a possible porposal for mandatory product standards.

In addition, voluntary standards for both vented and unvented gas-fired space heaters and wall furnaces were monitored by the commission staff in cooperation with the American National Standards Institute. From 1975 to 1977 voluntary standards showed significant improvement, hence the commission concluded that a mandatory safety regulation was unnecessary at that time.

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