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Beat the Summer Heat with Standards!

New York, Jul 09, 2013

Over the last week, the East Coast experienced its very first official heat wave of 2013, with temperatures in many areas in the region rising to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit and staying that way for days. Late-June temperatures broke records all over the West, blasting many areas with extreme heat for over a week. Sustained temperatures in this range can pose a serious health risk to infants, the elderly, and the infirm, and can also make simple tasks like walking to the store or waiting for a bus deeply unpleasant. Thankfully, voluntary consensus standards – many of them developed by members of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Federation – provide invaluable guidance for a wide variety of technologies and products that can help make a scorching summer day more manageable.

When it comes to bringing down temperatures in residences and offices, few things can compete with the speed and effectiveness of air-conditioning, which reduces the temperature of a confined location by mechanical means. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 16-1983 (RA 2009), Method of Testing for Rating Room Air Conditioners and Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners, provides a test method for measuring the cooling capacity and airflow quantity associated with various room air conditioners and packaged terminal air conditioners, including air conditioners using water-cooled condensers. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASHRAE. Another standard, developed by ANSI member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), provides fire safety guidelines for the installation of air-conditioning, among other similar technologies. NFPA 90B-2012, Standard for the Installation of Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems, 2012 Edition, covers indoor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for small family dwellings and other similar buildings.

Sometimes alternative methods of cooling your immediate environment are needed to beat the heat when using air-conditioning would be difficult, inappropriate, or not cost-effective. ANSI/AIHA Z9.9-2010, Portable Ventilation Systems, provides guidance for the use of portable ventilation equipment in certain work environments to keep employees comfortable and to prevent exposure to hazardous airborne substances. This ANS was developed by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), an ANSI organizational member. Electric fans can also help people stay cool in situations where a location can’t be effectively sealed or where electricity is scarce. A standard developed by CSA Group, an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer, sets down energy performance specifications for ceiling fans used in residences, as well as in commercial and industrial spaces. CSA C814-10, Energy performance of ceiling fans, applies to both suspended and hugger ceiling fans.

Huddling beneath your ceiling fan or jogging from one air-conditioned store to the next aren’t the only way to get through a heat wave—after all, there’s always ice cream. NSF/ANSI 6-2007, Dispensing freezers, specifies requirements for commercial dispensing equipment used to process and freeze soft-serve ice cream, frozen custard, ice milk, and other cold, sweet treats. The ANS, which applies only to dispensers containing pre-pasteurized food products, was developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator. For those who prefer their ice cream homemade, UL 60335-2-24-2006 (R2011), Standard for Safety for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers, provides safety requirements for personal ice cream makers and other similar household appliances. That standard was developed by ANSI audited designator Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

While this heat wave may be just the first of many this summer, standards are standing by, providing essential support to the systems, technologies, and devices that help make the heat bearable.

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