Search Icon White
News Cover Image

Standards Bring Warmth as Nation Experiences Cold Snap

From Houston to Miami, many southern areas in the United States that usually see mild winter weather are being hit with snow and freezing temperatures in the first weeks of 2010. Whether cold conditions are unexpected or the norm, communities nationwide are relying on the help of standards developers to stay warm and safe this winter.

If a cold snap is unexpected, many turn to space heaters to warm up a room that doesn't usually need to be heated. While space heaters can be an efficient and effective way to make a chilly room more comfortable, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed to assure safety. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), offers consumer safety tips for space heaters, including:

  • Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from household combustibles.
  • Inspect the heater's cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater.

With freezing temperatures often come snowy streets and icy sidewalks. Fortunately, standards offer solutions for effective de-icing. Two of the most frequently used de-icing salts, sodium chloride and calcium chloride, are covered in a pair of specifications from ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator. ASTM D98-05, Standard Specification for Calcium Chloride, and ASTM D632-01, Standard Specification for Sodium Chloride, set forth physical and chemical requirements for both compounds, and also provide information about the use of these chemicals as de-icers.

Finally, some shivering citizens may choose to take heat into their own hands - literally. When returning home after a brisk errand or a frigid walk to a neighbor's house, nothing is better than a mug of freshly brewed coffee. An International Standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides definitions for commonly used terms related to coffee. ISO 3509:2005, Coffee and coffee products - Vocabulary, was developed by ISO Technical Committee 34, Subcommittee 15, Coffee. The ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to this subcommittee is the Specialty Coffee Association of America, an ANSI organizational member.

An American National Standard (ANS) from ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) ensures that household coffee makers perform consistently and safely. ANSI/AHAM CM-1-2007, Method for Measuring Performance of Household Coffee Makers, guides the measurement of specified product characteristics, facilitating the comparison and evaluation of different brands and models.

Cold fingers nationwide are crossed for the weather to warm up in the coming weeks. In the meantime, standards are in place to assure warmth, safety, and comfort.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]