ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Member GAMA Leads Unification of Gas Appliance Standards

New York, Oct 31, 2002

The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA), an ANSI member, has recently announced that the Standards Review Task Group (SRTG) of its Controls Division will lead several organizations in an effort to unite a number of diverse standards into one harmonized document for use throughout North America. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), both ANSI members and accredited standards developers, will take part in the work.

The new standard, which will be submitted for approval as an American National Standard upon completion, will address two types of valves that are used with gas appliances-operating valves and safety shut-off valves. An operating valve, in a gas heater for example, would open when it received a signal to open-someone turning the heater on-and close when it received a signal to close-someone turning the heater off. A safety valve, on the other hand, automatically closes in an emergency.

Some of the U.S., Canadian and international standards that will serve as a basis for the new standard include ANSI Z21.21/CSA 6.5 Automatic Valves for Gas Appliances, UL 429 Electrically Operated Valves and IEC 60730-2-17, Part 2 Particular Requirements for Electrically Operated Gas Valves, Including Mechanical Requirements. Dave Delaquila, Manager of Technical Services for the Furnace, Controls, Direct Heating, Motor and Blower and Vent-Free Gas Products Divisions of GAMA, said that in addition to representatives from UL and NEMA, representatives from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) will take part in the standard's development.

Voluntary standards serve U.S. interests well because government, consumers and industry work together to create them. In this instance, the harmonization process will be complicated because some of the standards the group will use as a starting point have conflicting requirements. GAMA's confidence in the SRTG's efforts, however, is bolstered by the fact that the Controls Division recently completed the development of a draft harmonized North American standard for automatic gas ignition systems-and learned some valuable lessons in the process.

The harmonization of automatic gas ignition systems took seven years and was slowed by copyright concerns expressed by the three participating SDOs as well as by a debate over the format of the standard itself. The formatting issue involved the fact that the working group originally wanted to make one single document that would cover all of the requirements for every part of North America. The group found instead that they needed to produce a document comprised of two parts-one that takes into account deviations in different regions of North America and a second that will be standard across all regions. Mr. Delaquila said that this model, which is similar to that used in the international standards arena, will be followed for the new gas valve standard.

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