Unvented Gas Space Heaters
40 Years of History
| site |








Note: The following information is historical. Some of the information may be outdated. This is published for the purpose of historical study and all aspects should be discussed with current-day professionals wherever any question or concern arises.


NEWS FROM 1978









CPSC To Study Safety Devices For Unvented Gas Space Heaters
Release date: August 17, 1978
On August 17,
1978
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:







The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today decided to further analyze two devices for shutting down unvented gas space heaters before a high level of carbon monoxide develops in the surrounding living space. This examination comprises part of the agency's effort to find a means for reducing carbon monoxide poisonings and asphyxiations from the unvented heaters.

To be studied is an oxygen depletion sensing device widely used in Europe to detect low oxygen content in the living area and to shut off the heater before a hazardous atmosphere develops. The other is a temperature limiting device that would turn off the heaters when the temperature of the living space reaches 100 degrees, with the aim of avoiding a high level of carbon monoxide production.

In February this year the Commission proposed to ban the unvented gas-fired space heaters, which have accounted for at least 73 deaths since 1973 from carbon monoxide poisoning or asphyxiation.

The Commission voted a 90-day extension from August 29, to study the devices which will provide needed time to determine whether a shut-off mechanism can help make the heaters safer. After studies are completed, CPSC will decide whether a shut-off device can be incorporated into a safety standard for the unvented heaters, making a total ban unnecessary. By November 29, the Commission must issue a final rule banning the unvented gas space heaters or withdraw its proposal to ban.

The heaters do not have an outside vent to remove combustion wastes and depend on normal room ventilation to get rid of dangerous carbon monoxide. Inadequate air flow or maladjusted burners, coupled with a normal reduction in room oxygen from burning fuel, can cause fatal levels of the gas to accumulate.

Because they are relatively inexpensive to operate, the unvented gas fired heaters are mainly used by the aged and lower income groups, primarily in the South and Southwest where central heating systems are uneconomical because cold weather is not prevalent. Banning the heaters outright could mean people would have to spend from $52 - $67 a year to replace an unvented heater fueled with LP (liquid petroleum) gas, and from $25 - $40 annually to get a substitute for an unvented heater run on natural gas.

CPSC received 280 comments on the proposed ban during a written comment period and public meetings earlier this year in Washington, D.C., Miami and Dallas. The majority opposed a ban, citing the extreme economic hardship it would pose, a possible tendency for some owners to continue using the unvented appliances beyond their useful life to avoid installing more expensive vented heaters, and possible substitution of electric heaters in homes where wiring may be inadequate to handle the heavy extra load.

Nine states now ban unvented gas space heaters: California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Ohio. Twenty other states and the District of Columbia have partly banned their use by prohibiting operation in nursing and convalescent homes, sanatoriums and orphanages. In addition, some of the nation's largest cities -- Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New York, Pittsburgh and San Diego -- have set full or partial bans on the heaters independently of their states.

While the Commission could vote after expiration of the extension to ban certain unvented gas-fired space heaters, to develop a mandatory safety standard or to work within a voluntary standards framework, any regulation will not affect the 7 - 10 million now believed to be in use. Because of this, CPSC wants the public to be aware of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The symptoms resemble those of the flu at first, with headache, dizziness or nausea. Continued exposure to high levels can bring on collapse, unconsciousness or death. CPSC warns anyone using an unvented gas-fired space heater to keep the room well- ventilated, and at first sign of a headache, dizziness or nausea to turn off the appliance and open a window or door to see if the symptoms subside.
Release date: August 17, 1978



************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 1978









CPSC To Propose Standard For Unvented Gas-Fired Space Heaters

Release date: November 21, 1978
On
November 21,
1978
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:







The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced it intends to propose a standard to improve unvented gas-fired space heaters by the use of an oxygen depletion sensor that would shut off the heaters before a hazardous atmosphere develops.

The Commission also will propose to withdraw its February 1978 proposal to ban the heaters which have been linked to carbon monoxide poisonings or asphyxiation deaths of at least 73 people since 1973. Issuance of a standard would make banning unnecessary.

These inexpensive space heaters are mainly found in the southern and southwestern United States where central heating systems are uneconomical because cold temperatures are not prevalent. Some 7-10 million may presently be in use. These existing heaters would not be affected by any standard the Commission may issue.

Because the unvented heaters do not have a vent to remove combustion wastes, there is a possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Inadequate ventilation or maladjusted burners were associated with the deaths of victims who were using these heaters.

CPSC has warned anyone using an unvented gas space heater to read the labeling and keep the room where the heater is used well ventilated. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble those of the flu with headache, dizziness, or nausea. Consumers should turn off the appliance and open a window or door if the symptoms occur.

Interest in the unvented heaters was aroused by a petition which asked for a mandatory safety standard and labeling rules for all space heaters. However, the Commission concluded that only unvented gas-fired space heaters present an unreasonable risk of injury and there- fore proposed that they be banned. At that time the Commission was not aware of a standard that could protect against carbon monoxide.

Sensing and shut-off devices have been incorporated into French, British, and German models of unvented gas space heaters. The staff's draft rule would include portions of a voluntary standard issued by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which provides for oxygen depletion sensors.

With the aid of the National Bureau of Standards, the Commission staff has also studied certain temperature limiting devices that would turn these heaters off when the temperature of the living space registers 100 degrees. The Commission staff, however, found that these devices did not perform adequately to address the hazard of carbon monoxide buildup. It has been estimated that the oxygen depletion sensors would cost the heater manufacturer around two dollars. While it is predicted that this would add to the cost of these heaters to the consumer, a medium-sized unvented gas space heater generally is cheaper to operate than a vented heater.

A new pamphlet entitled "Caution -- Choosing and Using Your Gas Space Heater" is now available from CPSC. The pamphlet, available in both English and Spanish versions, contains tips on what consumers should look for when buying and using a gas space heater. To get a free copy, write: Gas Space Heater Pamphlet, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.
Release date: November 21, 1978




************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 1980








Commission Proposes New Safety Standard To Reduce Deaths From Unvented Gas Heaters


Release date: January 18, 1980
On
January 18,
1980
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:







The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today proposed a safety standard for unvented gas- fired space heaters. If approved, the standard is expected to reduce the number of deaths, now about 70 a year, due to carbon monoxide poisoning involved with these heaters.

Like other gas-burning appliances, unvented gas space heaters can produce toxic combustion wastes. Because they are not vented to the out-of-doors, unvented gas-fired space heaters emit these wastes directly into living areas. Insufficient ventilation or an improperly functioning heater may allow one of the combustion wastes, carbon monoxide, to rise to hazardous levels.

The proposed standard would require unvented gas space heaters to be equipped with a device to measure the oxygen level in the area where the heater is being used. The device (known as an oxygen- depletion sensor, or ODS) will automatically shut off the gas supply to the heater before carbon monoxide can build up to a life- threatening level. The ODS never has been used on American heaters. However, a similar device has been used successfully in Europe for many years, and American manufacturers are now actively working to develop an ODS suitable for American heaters.

Unvented gas space heaters, fueled by natural or bottled propane or butane gas, are used widely in the South and Southwest where the mild climate may make central heating uneconomical. Less expensive to buy and operate than vented heaters, the unvented gas space heaters are particularly popular with low-income and elderly consumers.

Publication of the proposed rule in today's Federal Register opens a 60-day period to gather comments from consumers, industry, government officials, and technical organizations. The Commission will also hold a public hearing during this time, before deciding whether to issue this proposed standard as a final rule. Individuals who want to testify or comment on the proposed safety standard should write or call the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207; telephone (202) 634-7700.

If the Commission approves the proposal after the comment period, all unvented gas space heaters-manufactured on or after the proposed effective date of December 31, 1980, will incorporate the ODS. The heaters also would bear permanent safety warnings alerting consumers to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The standard, however, will not affect the estimated 7.6 million unvented gas space heaters now in use. Consumers already using these heaters should heed the following safety rules:

-- Never use an unvented gas heater without first opening a window or otherwise providing fresh air.

-- Have your heater serviced regularly to keep the burner and control compartment clean.

-- Be particularly careful about using unvented gas heaters in sleeping quarters. Most carbon monoxide deaths involving these heaters occur while the victim sleeps. Adequate ventilation and maintenance are musts.

-- Remember that the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu, with headache, dizziness, or nausea. If you have these symptoms while using a heater, turn it off and breathe some fresh air.

-- If you are pregnant or have anemia or heart or lung disease, you are particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide. People who have been drinking or those who reside at high altitudes also must be particularly alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Release date: January 18, 1980





************************* ************************* ************************
NEWS FROM 1980








Commission Approves Mandatory Standard To Improve Safety Of Unvented Gas Space Heaters


Release date: September 8, 1980
On
September 8,
1980
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:







The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a mandatory standard to improve the safety of unvented gas-fired space heaters, which are associated with approximately 70 deaths every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The safety regulation will require by mid-1981 that manufacturers equip these heaters with an "ODS" (oxygen depletion safety shut-off system) to inhibit the buildup of life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide. 1 An ODS functions by shutting off the heater's supply of gas when the oxygen level in the area has been reduced to 18 per cent (compared to the normal level of oxygen in air of 20.9 per cent).

The Commissioners, voting 3-to-2, approved the safety rule on the basis that existing technology is capable of applying ODS's to unvented heaters, and that a mandatory safety standard will encourage industry to equip each new heater with an ODS as soon as possible.

Commissioners David Pittle and Sam Zagoria, who voted in the minority, both approved the standard in principle. However, they voted to postpone consideration of whether to issue the rule until March, 1981. Both argued that the majority's decision was premature in light of the public commitment of both the American Gas Association and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to require the system on virtually the same timetable as the Commission's mandatory standard. *

The standard will require all unvented gas heaters which are manufactured or imported after June 14, 1981, to be equipped with an ODS. Because the usual production cycle for such heaters runs from early each year only through June, the standard will have its initial effect on heaters manufactured for the 1982-83 heating season.

Unvented gas-fired space heaters are among the least expensive heating appliances on the market today, according to CPSC staff. A medium-sized heater currently costs a consumer approximately $170 to $180, can be operated at lower costs than vented gas-fired heaters and has very high thermal efficiency.
Many of the people who purchase these heaters are elderly or from low-income groups and reside in rural areas in southeastern and south-central states where the mild climate makes central heating systems uneconomical.

In addition, the Commission unanimously voted to propose an anti-stockpiling rule which will prohibit excessive production of unvented heaters unequipped with ODS's before the standard takes effect. When issued in final form, the rule will limit next year's production of non-ODS heaters to slightly more than the approximately 120,000 heaters manufactured annually in.1979 and in 1980.

Carbon Monoxide Hazard

Unvented gas-fired space heaters do not incorporate any venting system to remove carbon monoxide and other by-products of combustion from the immediate area being heated. Instead, the heaters discharge these combustion wastes directly into the living area. If adequate ventilation (such as through an open window) is not provided during use, life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide can begin to build as the oxygen concentration in the area becomes depleted.

Carbon monoxide depletes essential oxygen levels in the blood- stream, which can damage body tissues and result in death. Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, most victims -- people of all ages -- were never aware they were being poisoned and many of them died while asleep.

To alert consumers to the potential effects of carbon monoxide, the safety standard will require that the heaters carry a warning label. This label will advise consumers of the need for adequate ventilation during heater use. It will describe the function of the ODS, and list the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CPSC staff estimates that a required ODS will add from $5.00 to $17.50 to the retail price of the unvented heaters.

The Commission in 1978 proposed to ban unvented gas space heaters, believing that no safety standard could be developed to reduce adequately the associated carbon monoxide poisonings. However, information gathered during the traditional period for public comment indicated that devices similar to the ODS had been used successfully for years in Europe on unvented heaters. CPSC also learned that a voluntary standard (published by ANSI) provided for optional use of an ODS on American-manufactured unvented gas space heaters, although ODS's have not been applied to U.S. heaters.

The safety standard is drawn largely from the ANSI voluntary standard. Its development has had the effect of inducing American manufacturers to develop the technical expertise to manufacture the ODS and to equip U.S. unvented heaters with the safety system.


* Additionally, both noted that if the industry faltered in its commitment, the Commission next March still could promulgate its mandatory standard in time to affect the heater production for 1982. Commissioners Pittle and Zagoria also were concerned that a federal mandatory standard would preempt state and local regulations in many areas of the nation that ban unvented heaters; they argued that this could adversely affect consumer safety.
Release date: September 8,
1980



************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 1982







CPSC, NKHA Warn Against Use Of Gasoline In Kerosene Heaters


Release date: March 8, 1982
On
March 8,
1982
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:







A number of serious injuries and deaths have resulted recently from the use of gasoline in kerosene heaters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Kerosene Heater Association (NKHA) warn that only water- clear kerosene be used to operate these heating appliances. ""Gasoline is extremely volatile and will burn out of control if used in a kerosene heater,"" said Roger Mitchell, NKHA president.

"Consumers may not yet be completely familiar with the operation of these relatively new products. It is critical that they heed this warning and follow all recommended operating instructions to the letter," asserted Nancy Harvey Steorts, Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The consumer may be unknowingly using gasoline, typically from confusion over fuel containers. Consumers are advised by the CPSC and NKHA to purchase and store kerosene in metal containers clearly marked KEROSENE, and never to use red cans for this purpose.

Some reports indicate that a red can or an old gasoline can used for kerosene storage could confuse service station attendants or family members who might fill the container with gasoline.

Although all kerosene heaters marketed by NKHA members have labels warning against use of gasoline, Association officials felt further action was necessary in the interest of public safety to prevent injuries from this use.

CPSC and NKHA urge all kerosene heater retailers to warn consumers about the hazards of improper fuel use. In addition, the National Kerosene Heater Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offer these safety tips for proper residential use of modern kerosene heaters:

- Store kerosene out of reach of children and outside living areas.

- Be alert not to confuse kerosene with the water-clear gasoline marketed for use in camping stoves and equipment.

- Always refuel the heater outdoors away from flammable materials.

- Use your heater only in well-ventilated areas to eliminate the risk of asphyxiation.

- Always place the heater at least three feet from combustible materials.

- Do not move, handle, service or refuel your heater while it is operating or still hot.

- Heaters should be labeled as listed with a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

- Avoid leaving a heater unattended. Extinguish before going to sleep.

- Do not let children operate or refuel heaters.
Release date: March 8, 1982



************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 2002








CPSC Alerts Outdoor Enthusiasts: New Portable Heaters Can Save Campers' Lives


Release date: October 18, 2002

On
October 18,
2002





the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:

As the weather turns colder and outdoor enthusiasts plan to go deer hunting, ice fishing, or camping, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding consumers that there is a new generation of portable heaters with a safety device that can prevent the tragic loss of life due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The new heaters are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) and are safer to use when camping. If oxygen levels start to fall, this sensing technology automatically shuts down the heater before it can produce dangerous levels of CO.

Unlike earlier portable heaters that do not have an ODS and are intended for outdoor use only, the new ODS-equipped heaters are specifically designed for indoor use. They can be safely used inside tents, cabins, and campers, but it is essential that users comply with the manufacturers' instructions to ensure that there is adequate ventilation. CPSC still recommends shutting off any camping heater or lantern before going to sleep.

CPSC estimates that in 1998, the latest year for which data are available, 18 people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning associated with using portable propane heaters indoors. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the victims had been using the new heaters. These deaths often occurred when consumers brought radiant camping heaters that used 1 lb. propane tanks (but did not have an ODS) inside tents, campers, and other vehicles, thus exposing themselves to high levels of CO.

"CPSC wants all consumers to know that there is a new generation of portable heaters that are safer to use when camping," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer that has taken the lives of many first-time and even experienced campers. The new, safer heaters prevent CO deaths by automatically shutting off the heater if oxygen levels start to fall."

CPSC worked closely with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Camping Equipment Subcommittee and the industry to develop and implement a new standard for 1 lb. portable heaters. The ODS technology on these heaters senses when the oxygen level in a tent or camper drops below 18 percent. If this occurs, the ODS closes the gas valve and shuts off the heater, preventing the production of dangerous levels of CO.

Consumers can find the safer heaters under various brands in major retail stores nationwide. Consumers need to ensure that they purchase portable heaters that meet the current standard. The new heaters can be identified by labels on the package that read in part, "Designed for Indoor Use," "Low Oxygen Automatic Shut-Off System," and "Oxygen Depletion Sensor" or by a star with the words "CSA 4.98."

CO is a silent killer, so CPSC has developed the following guidelines to prevent this colorless, odorless gas from poisoning you, your family or friends:

- New ODS-equipped heaters are intended for indoor use.

- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for ventilation.

- Older generation heaters without an ODS are intended for outdoor use only and must never be used indoors.

- Do not use portable heaters that fail to meet the new standard in enclosed areas such as tents, campers, and other vehicles. This is especially important at high altitudes, where the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased.

- Do not keep camping heaters and lanterns on while sleeping.

- Charcoal grills, camping lanterns, and gas generators also can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. To heat an interior area while camping, only use a camping heater that meets the new safety standard.

- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Consumers who experience any of these symptoms should extinguish any possible source of CO and move to an area with fresh air.

- Carbon monoxide reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen. Low blood oxygen levels can result in loss of consciousness and death. See a doctor if you or a member of your family develops cold or flu-like symptoms while camping. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu, is often detected too late.

- Be aware that alcohol consumption and drug use increase the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Be aware that carbon monoxide is especially toxic to people with heart disease or blood or circulatory system problems, such as anemia. Fetuses, infants and the elderly are also more susceptible to CO poisoning.

- The surfaces of the heaters are extremely hot - always locate the heater away from traffic and combustible materials.
Release date: October 18, 2002



************************* ************************* ************************



NEWS FROM 2004








CPSC Warns Of Hazards from Heaters and Fireplaces



Release date: January 27, 2004

On
January 27,
2004





the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:

Since this winter began, a 13-year-old girl in Fairmount Heights, Md., and a 33-year-old woman in Kansas City, Kan., died in fires ignited by electric space heaters. Three children, ages 4, 5, and 9, from Rome, N.Y., died in a fire in which bedding was pushed up against a heater. Two girls, ages 7 and 4, from Walden, N.Y., died in a fire associated with a “wood pellet� stove and a mother and son from Long Island died when their fireplace sparked a fire in the basement. Four adults and five children in Seattle, Wash., all suffered carbon monoxide poisoning when they brought a charcoal-burning hibachi inside.

During this season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of at least 51 deaths from fires started by heaters and fireplaces. The CPSC reminds consumers to follow safety precautions when purchasing and using electric or fuel-fired heaters and fireplaces.

"CPSC has worked with industry to improve safety standards for heaters, but consumers must exercise care in how they use heaters and fireplaces," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "Every home needs working smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm."

In a recent year, there were about 10,900 residential fires and about 190 deaths associated with portable or fixed local heaters. There were 15,500 fires and 40 deaths associated with fireplaces and chimneys. And there were about 100 deaths from carbon monoxide from heating systems, ranges/ovens, and water heaters.

Heaters can cause fires if they are placed too close to flammable materials such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Fireplaces can cause fires if the chimney is cracked, blocked, or coated with creosote, or if sparks and embers can reach flammable materials. Fuel-burning appliances can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if there is improper venting or incomplete combustion.

Additional space heater safety tips include:

-Choose a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features, while older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. CPSC worked to upgrade industry standards for electric, kerosene, and vented and unvented gas space heaters. An automatic cut-off device is now required to turn off electric or kerosene heaters if they tip over. More guarding around the heating coils of electric heaters and the burner of kerosene heaters also is required to prevent fires.

-Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture, or other flammable materials.

-Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater. This helps prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to provide sufficient combustion air to prevent carbon monoxide production.

-Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.

-Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

-Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate carbon monoxide.

-Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house and inside every bedroom. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.

-Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired equipment should be used.

-Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually to ensure proper operation.

Fireplace safety tips:

-Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.

-Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. This will avert the building up of poisonous gases, especially while the family is sleeping.

-Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Never keep flammable fuels or materials near a fire.

-Keep a screen or glass enclosure around a fireplace to prevent sparks or embers from igniting flammable materials.
Release date: January 27, 2004




************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 2005









CPSC Warns Of Hazards from Furnaces, Space Heaters and Fireplaces


Release date: December 14, 2005

On
December 14,
2005





the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:


If projections hold true, home heating costs this winter will on average cost consumers 25.7 percent more than last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Natural gas and heating oil customers are expected to be hit the hardest. And as Americans begin to receive their winter heating bills and begin to explore alternative ways to heat their homes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers about alternative heat sources and reminding them to follow safety precautions while keeping their home warm this winter.

"With the cost of heating fuel high, consumers might be looking to use space heaters more as a supplemental way of heating their homes," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "By following CPSC's recommendations for all types of heating systems, and by installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, you can help keep your family safe this winter."

The two hazards of most concern to the CPSC are fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CPSC recommends consumers have a professional inspection of all fuel-burning heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.
For the years 1999-2002, there were about 9,900 residential fires per year and about 190 deaths per year associated with portable and stationary space heaters.

In addition to the fires and deaths associated with space heaters, there were 20,600 fires and about 40 deaths per year associated with fireplaces and chimneys. For central heating, there were about 5,800 fires per year and about 20 deaths per year. In addition, an average of about 85 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating systems, ranges/ovens and water heaters.

Space heaters can cause fires if they are placed too close to flammable materials such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Fireplaces can cause fires if the chimney is cracked, blocked or coated with creosote, or if sparks and embers reach flammable materials. Fuel-burning appliances can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are improperly installed, poorly maintained, have defective or blocked venting systems, or are misused.

Space heater tips:

- Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

- To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the space heater off if you leave the area.

- Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.

- Make sure your heater is correctly rated for your home. An oversized heater could deplete the available oxygen, causing excess carbon monoxide to be produced. Keep a window in the room open at least one inch and keep doors open to the rest of the house to ensure proper ventilation. This helps prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion.

- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to provide sufficient combustion air to prevent carbon monoxide production.

- Have gas and kerosene space heaters inspected annually to ensure proper operation.

- Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate excessive carbon monoxide.

- Be aware that manufactured homes require specially-designed heating equipment.

- Do not use unvented gas space heaters where prohibited by local codes.

- Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house, inside every bedroom, and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
Fireplace safety tips:

- Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.

- Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Never close the damper or go to bed if the ashes are still warm. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

- Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Never keep flammable fuels or materials near a fire. Never store flammable liquids in your home.

- Never use charcoal in a fireplace because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Keep a screen or glass enclosure around a fireplace to prevent sparks or embers from igniting flammable materials.
Release date: December 14, 2005



************************* ************************* ************************


NEWS FROM 2011









CPSC Issues Warnings On Use Of Space Heaters, Offers Eight Point Safety Checklist


Release date: October 6, 2011

On
October 6,
2011





the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission published the following information:

Millions of consumers rely on space heaters to warm their homes and millions more use smaller heaters --some portable, some gas and some electric-- to take the chill out of cold mornings.

But many consumers fail to follow instructions or rules of safety, forgetting for a moment that death and serious injuries including burns and carbon monoxide poisoning strike thousands of Americans each year, warns the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that last year more than 5,000 persons sought hospital emergency room treatment for injuries associated with gas, kerosene, oil and electric space heaters. The Commission estimates that more than two-thirds of those injured required treatment for burns, and about half of all the injured victims were children under five years old.

At least 12 million American homes use fuel oil space heaters, and health officials estimate that up to 700,000 homes have heaters that emit excessive amounts of carbon monoxide --the odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that can kill a sleeping person in less than two hours.

Unvented heaters, which burn natural gas, liquified petroleum and other fuels pose the greatest threat of carbon monoxide poisoning because they require a constant supply of fresh air to operate safely and to avert the buildup of poisonous gases. Unvented heaters have been outlawed in some areas.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be as mild as drowsiness, headaches or nausea and frequently may be misdiagnosed. Exposure to carbon monoxide also can result in severe brain damage and could be especially injurious for elderly persons, those with heart problems, those with anemia, pregnant women and the very young.

Fire and burn problems are common to both fuel and electric space heaters.

CPSC in-depth investigations of emergency room cases reveal that children and adults inadvertently contacted the exposed flame or hot exterior surfaces of heaters and suffered severe burns as a result of clothing catching on fire or direct contact with hot surfaces.

The Commission makes the following recommendations to consumers who use space heaters:

- All equipment, particularly old or long idle equipment, should be inspected before use or annually by a professional service person. Installation and repair should be done by a qualified service person.

- Heaters should be located out of traffic and away from furniture, draperies and anything combustible.

- Children and adults should be alert to the hazard of high surface temperatures and should keep far enough away to avoid igniting clothing.

- Young children should be carefully supervised when they are in the same room with a space heater. With special regard to electric heaters:

- Use a heater with thermostat control and an automatic device that turns the heater off if it tips over frontwards or backwards.

- Warn children never to insert fingers or objects through the protective guard. They could be burned or receive electric shock.

- Avoid the use of extension cords for heaters, but if one is absolutely necessary, use heavy duty cords that are appropriate for the wattage of the heater. The ordinary home extension cord is probably inadequate for a heater, and even home wiring could be inadequate for some higher wattage heaters.

- Exert special caution when using an electric heater in the bathroom. The accumulation of moisture or direct contact with water and grounded plumbing fixtures could cause electric shocks. Never place the heater near the tub or sink where it could fall into the water.

Although gas and electric heaters are most common, some families may still have kerosene heaters. The National Fire Protection Association urges care when filling kerosene heaters because spillage could ignite.

NPPA warns that if cold oil is poured into the reservoir to the brim, it could later expand, overflow and flare up. Also, they warn never to make fuel substitutions or to convert heaters to another fuel without expert advice.

Coal and wood stoves: be sure they are professionally inspected and properly installed. Place a sheet of metal underneath to protect the floor surface from live coals and overheating.

Ovens: avoid use of open ovens for heating because they can emit carbon monoxide. Oven doors should never be left open for more than short periods of time.

Charcoal: never use unvented burning charcoal devices indoors because of the extreme hazard of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Consumers who suspect high carbon monoxide levels in their homes should contact their local gas company, fuel supplier or health department for testing.



https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/2012/CPSC-Issues-Warnings-On-Use-Of-Space-Heaters-Offers-Eight-Point-Safety-Checklist-
Release date: October 6, 2011








Note:
The information presented above is historical. Some of the information may be outdated. This is published for the purpose of historical study and all aspects should be discussed with current-day professionals wherever any question or concern arises.




************************* ************************* ************************
************************* ************************* ************************
************************* ************************* ************************


October 2002
CO Emissions from Portable Propane Radiant Heaters
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/CO02.pdf



Incidents, Deaths, and In-Depth Investigations - Carbon Monoxide
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/coed05.pdf


Gas Range Delayed Ignitions - Tests and Examinations of Ranges
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/gasoven.pdf


November 2005
Technical Feasibility of a CO Shutdown System for Tank-Top Heaters
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/tanktop.pdf


Gas appliances and flammable vapor fires; studies, publications, and agendas Part 1
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/os5a.pdf


Gas appliances and flammable vapor fires; studies, publications, and agendas Part 8
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/os5i.pdf


1993
Gas appliances and flammable vapor fires; studies, publications, and agendas Part 10
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/os5k.pdf


Gas appliances and flammable vapor fires; studies, publications, and agendas Part 12
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/os5m.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths and Injuries Associated with the Use of Consumer Products Annual Estimates October 1998
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/co98.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths and Injuries Associated with the Use of Consumer Products Annual Estimates October 2000
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co00.pdf





NIST Study of technology for detecting pre-ignition conditions of cooking-related fires associated with electric and gas ranges and cooktops Part 2
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/35217a.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths and Injuries Associated with the Use of Consumer Products Annual Estimates October 1999
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co99.pdf


Fires associated with electric and gas ranges: phase III Part 1
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/rangerpt.pdf


Report on Estimates of Incidence and Costs of Fire-Related Injuries, July 2009
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/fireinj2009.pdf


CPSC Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2000
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/2000rpt.pdf


Vote Sheet: Petition CP 11-1, Request for Standard for Gas Fireplaces with Glass Fronts, March 21, 2012
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdf..._fireplace.pdf


Incidents, Deaths, and In-Depth Investigations - Carbon Monoxide
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/coed05.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products – 2003 and 2004 Annual Estimates, released August 2007
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co07.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products: 2007 Annual Estimates, January 2011
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co10.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products - 2008 Annual Estimates, December 2011
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co11.pdf


CPSC Chronic Hazard Guidelines
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdf...guidelines.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products - 2006 Annual Estimates, September 2009
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/co09.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products - 2010 Annual Estimates
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/201...eathsFINAL.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products - 2012 Annual Estimates
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/201...eathsFINAL.pdf


Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products - 2012 Annual Estimates
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/2012NonFireCODeaths.pdf