ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Keep Warm with Standards during the Depths of Winter

New York, Jan 10, 2014

As winter trudges on, carrying with it falling temperatures, icy roads, and stinging air, finding ways to keep warm becomes an increasingly high priority for people across the country. Thankfully, voluntary consensus standards are on hand to support the many products that keep Americans safe and comfortable during these chilly months.

For most people, getting through the winter in an unheated apartment or house would be uncomfortable at best and genuinely dangerous at worst, particularly in areas of the United States that regularly post temperatures below freezing. A standard from CSA Group, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) organizational member and accredited standards developer, provides guidance in connection with gas- or oil-fired furnaces and boilers used to heat private residences. CSA P.2-2013, P.2-13 - Testing method for measuring the annual fuel utilization efficiency of residential gas-fired or oil-fired furnaces and boilers, provides a test method for measuring the fuel utilization efficiency of these devices, and includes new requirements of oil-fired furnaces and boilers, as well as updates to the non-mandatory minimum performance levels for furnaces and boilers, among other changes. The standard also includes methods for interpolating and extrapolating test data and calculation procedures to determine seasonal performance.

Many people habitually turn down the thermostat in their home overnight, often for financial or environmental reasons. For most, a thick comforter will do a fine job of keeping you comfortable through those winter nights, but for those who need more, an electric blanket can be an effective solution. UL 964 (Ed. 11), Standard for Electrically Heated Bedding, provides safety and functionality guidelines for 120-volt electric blankets, comforters, quilts, sheets, mattress pads, and other such bedding that is intended to keep their users warm. The standard was developed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), an ANSI member and audited designator. For consumers who want to be able to stay warm both indoors and while they’re out winter camping, a sleeping bag–related standard from ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, fits the bill. ASTM D4522-04(2012), Standard Performance Specification for Feather and Down Fillings for Textile Products, sets down performance specifications for the natural or synthetic fillings used in sleeping bags, pillows, and winter apparel, making it easier to determine whether these items are functioning as they should.

While boilers and electric blankets can have a big impact on the temperatures inside your house and under your sheets, they aren’t much help when the time comes to scrape the ice off the windshield of your car. Thankfully, ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has developed a standard to support gloves and other forms of hand protection. ANSI/ISEA 105-2011, Hand Protection Selection Criteria, provides classification and testing guidelines for hand protection items, including gloves, helping to assure that gloves and mittens offer sufficient protection from cold temperatures, along with protection associated with chemical, vibration, and mechanical issues.

Whether you’re out and about in subzero temperatures, or relaxing at home under your electric blanket, standards play an essential role in supporting the products and technologies that keep you comfortable and warm all winter long.