December 2014 - Code Compliance

Certified vs. Uncertified Solid-Fuel Burning Appliances

December 1, 2014

A solid-fuel burning  appliance that has been tested and certified as complying with a safety standard will carry a label specifying minimum clearances to combustible material.  These clearances are determined by firing the solid-fuel appliance at peak output and measuring the temperatures on the test enclosure walls, floors and ceiling.  These clearances are almost always accepted as safe by the regulatory authorities.

There are only two main standard-writing organizations in the field of solid fuels however, there are four recognized testing and certification agencies; CSA, ULC, OTL and Warnock Hersey Professional Services.

To have a product certified, the manufacturer submits a sample for testing to the certification agency, along with engineering drawings, promotional brochures and an installation manual.  The agency then performs the tests specified in the safety testing standard and, if the appliance meets the requirements, the procedure continues.

The installation manual is then checked for accuracy and completeness of information, such as the warnings and cautions required by the standard.

When all the work is completed, the agency prepares a test report documenting its findings.  The testing agency then sells the approved certification label to the manufacturer.  The certification agency places strict conditions on the production of appliances and the use of the label.

The certification agency has a direct stake in the quality and consistency of the products bearing its logo on the label.  The label confirms that the product meets a safety standard.

Technicians and inspectors should follow the rule of the certification agencies; that a product is not certified unless the label is attached.