One of the key issues at the recent ANSI Z21/83 Committee Meeting, which writes and maintains standards for fuel gas burning appliances and equipment, was related to the proposed changes to the Z21.11.2 standard on unvented room heaters.
The proposed changes to the standard included revisions to the requirements for "universal-type" unvented heaters, which are capable of operating on propane or natural gas. The issue with these heaters is the need to ensure that the settings for the unit are consistent with the type of fuel that it is burning. Because of the differences between natural gas and propane in their energy contents and operating pressures, the wrong setting on the appliance can lead to either an under-fired or over-fired condition, either of which may lead to safety issues.
The standard is currently written to require safety performance testing for either the under-fired or over-fired condition, but not both conditions. This was considered an oversight by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and therefore the proposed changes included a requirement that every appliance would be tested for both conditions. However, before the standard could be considered by the full Z21/83 Committee, a manufacturer lodged a protest that in his opinion, the revised requirement would necessitate the use of a patented product in all units and therefore, the Z21/83 Committee would need to follow its procedures, which require that before the standard is approved, the holder of the patent state that it will either not enforce the claims in the patent, or it will license to any party the use of the patented technology for the purposes of complying with the standard.
The Z21/83 Committee voted to table the matter until more research by the Canadian Standards Association and the committee leadership could be done. It is expected that the matter will be taken up again over the next few weeks.
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