Another Threat – NFPA 211 – Comments Due 11/14/14

The National Fire Protection Association develops consensus codes and standards to reduce fire and other hazards. NFPA 211 is the Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances and is currently under revision for its 2016 edition. There are six revisions that severely threaten gas logs, as well as other after-market parts and components, such as glass doors, screens, grates, blowers, log lighters, spark arrestors, chimney caps and decorative shrouds.

The comment period ends at 5PM EST on Friday, November 14, 2014. We highly encourage all manufacturers, dealers, installers and users of hearth products to provide revisions and comments to the language by the deadline.

The process to submit your comments is not very straightforward, but please try the following. I’ve tried to streamline the process:

1)   Go to http://www.nfpa.org/ and sign in, or register an account. You must have an account to submit comments.

2)   Helpful videos are at http://www.nfpa.org/submitcomment

3)   Go to http://bit.ly/1ACyIEM to get to the NFPA 211 “home” page.

4)   There are six sections in need of comment:

  1. 3.3.2.1
  2. 3.3.2.2
  3. 11.1.5
  4. 11.2.10
  5. 14.7.1.1
  6. 14.7.1.2

5)   In order for the NFPA 211 committee to consider your comments, you must enter proposed changes to the section text. You can enter this text into the first window in the NFPA system.  After making changes, click “Next”.

  1. Once you review your changes, you will then have an opportunity to upload any other supporting documentation on the next screen.  If none, click “Next”
  2. The “Statement of Problem and Substantiation” page is where you enter your reasoning for the proposed text changes (required). After entering, then click “Next”.
  3. The next screen is entitled “Related Public Comments and Related Items …”  Click on “Add Related Item” , then select “First Revision”, then enter the  number corresponding to the section on which you are commenting:

3.3.2.1 = 6

3.3.2.2 = 5

11.1.5 = 11

11.2.10 = 12

14.7.1.1 = 3

14.7.1.2 = 13

Then click “Add Related Item”

Then click “Next”

6)    Submitter Information Verification.
Complete your name, email address and company name, then click “Next”

7)    Copyright Assignment and Signature
Check the box, then click “Submit”

8)    In the upper right corner of the comment box, it should show a green “Submitted.” If it is a red “Not Submitted”, click on “edit”, then click on all of the subsequent “Next” buttons, ensuring that the information is complete (sometimes it takes repeating this submitting of the information.

9)    Repeat for each section.

 

Below are Rasmussen’s submissions. Please make your submission original (in your own words, especially regarding the impact on your business).

 

3.3.2.1*   Factory-Built Fireplace System Accessories.

Accessories intended for field installation into or attachment to factory-built fireplace systems. This definition does not include Vented Gas Log Decorative Appliances and Vent-free Gas Log Heaters.

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

The biggest issue with this and other NFPA 211-2014 changes is that they are “solutions” in search of a problem. Factory-Built fireplaces, designed, tested and listed to UL127, are designed to a very high heat standard so as to be safe for burning wood, which is an uncontrolled, albeit contained, fire, with wide swings in intensity during the life of a fire (kindling, building the fire to be roaring, dying down, restoking to a roar, process repeated many times). Both Vented Decorative Gas Logs and Vent-Free Gas Log Heaters are controllable fires burned at much, much less intensity than wood fires. This has led to the hearth industry’s rule of thumb “if it is safe to burn wood, it is safe to burn a gas log.” Accordingly, any restrictions on gas burning appliances used inside of woodburning fireplaces are unnecessary, overly restrictive and restraints to commerce and business.

Rasmussen Iron Works, Inc. has been a manufacturer of gas log sets since 1958. We have never, ever been sued for a fire caused by our gas log sets. In today’s litigious society, we would be named in a lawsuit of any fire surrounding a fireplace, regardless of the cause, and this has never happened. Again, NFPA 211-2014 is a poor, dangerous solution for which no problem exists.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

3.3.2.2*   Masonry Fireplace and Chimney Accessories.

Accessories intended for field installation into or attachment to masonry fireplaces or chimneys. This definition does not include Vented Gas Log Decorative Appliances and Vent-free Gas Log Heaters.

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

The biggest issue with this and other NFPA 211-2014 changes is that they are “solutions” in search of a problem. Masonry fireplaces, are made of non-combustible materials and are designed to a very high heat standard so as to be safe for burning wood, which is an uncontrolled, albeit contained, fire, with wide swings in intensity during the life of a fire (kindling, building the fire to be roaring, dying down, restoking to a roar, process repeated many times). Both Vented Decorative Gas Logs and Vent-Free Gas Log Heaters are controllable fires burned at much, much less intensity than wood fires. This has led to the hearth industry’s rule of thumb “if it is safe to burn wood, it is safe to burn a gas log.” Accordingly, any restrictions on gas burning appliances used inside of woodburning fireplaces are unnecessary, overly restrictive and restraints to commerce and business.

Rasmussen Iron Works, Inc. has been a manufacturer of gas log sets since 1958. We have never, ever been sued for a fire caused by our gas log sets. In today’s litigious society, we would be named in a lawsuit of any fire surrounding a fireplace, regardless of the cause, and this has never happened. Again, NFPA 211-2014 is a poor, dangerous solution for which no problem exists.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

11.1.5

Factory-built fireplace system accessories shall be one of the following:

  1. Listed for use with the specific factory-built fireplace and installed in accordance with the terms of their listing
  2. Acceptable to the AHJ and installed as approved and in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions

[Section Deleted]

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

This proposal is a “solution” in search of a problem, and will result in increasing the chance of fires, not preventing them, while seriously threatening the viability of all fireplace accessory manufacturers and the dealers and service people who sell, install and service them. Requiring fireplace accessories to be listed with specific factory-built fireplaces is problematic for the following reasons:

1) Unnecessary. Rasmussen Iron Works, Inc. has been a manufacturer of gas log sets since 1958. We have never, ever been sued for a fire caused by our gas log sets or a fire in which our products were installed, but other accessories were deemed to be the cause. In today’s litigious society, we would most certainly be named in a lawsuit of any fire surrounding a fireplace, regardless of the cause, and this has never, ever happened. If a chimney cap, damper mechanism, glass door or other accessory was the cause of a fire, Rasmussen would most certainly be named in the lawsuit if our gas log set was also installed, but this has never, ever occurred. Again, NFPA 211-2014 is a poor, dangerous solution for which no problem exists.

2) Financially untenable and impossible. There are too many fireplaces and accessory combinations to accomplish such a monumentally unnecessary undertaking to test and list ALL accessories with ALL fireplaces by ALL manufacturers.

a) Impossible to accomplish for fireplaces whose manufacturer is no longer in business (there are a lot of fireplace manufacturers who no longer exist).

3) Restraint of trade and commerce. This section will have the effect of delegitimizing products with decades of perfect safety track records and consumer enjoyment. It will threaten the viability of manufacturers, dealers, installers and service people. I expect litigation to be filed to block this section should it be enacted.

4) Effectively condemns all fireplaces in need of repair or any part replacement. Will lead to ignorant, untrained homeowners making repairs themselves to save the expensive and unnecessary cost of replacing the whole fireplace. This is fraught with DIY danger and undesired consequences.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

11.2.10*   Masonry Fireplace Accessories.

Fireplace accessories shall be one of the following:

  1. Listed and installed in accordance with the terms of their listing.
  2. Acceptable to and installed by an Experience Hearth Technician or Installer in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the accessory.
  3. Acceptable to the AHJ and installed as approved and in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

1) Most fireplace accessories are not listed products, but the absence of a listing does not make them unsafe, just unlisted.

2) Most AHJs probably are not expert or even familiar with fireplaces and their accessories.

3) Many people are experienced in the installation of fireplace accessories. Not all are certified. For example, I am 54 years old and have been designing gas log sets for the past 27 years and installing them since I was 14 years old. I do not hold any type of Certified Hearth Technician credentials, but I am very, very experienced in all aspects of gas logs and would be a prudent choice for installing a gas log set. Same applies for many hearth dealers and installers, who have made a business decision, base on time, financial resources or lack of local need, to not earn or maintain such certifications. Such experience must not be discounted or prohibited.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

14.7.1.1

Only listed or approved components and accessories tested for use with the specific model of factory-built chimney shall be permitted.

[Section Deleted]

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

This proposal is a “solution” in search of a problem, and will result in increasing the chance of fires, not preventing them, while seriously threatening the viability of all fireplace accessory manufacturers and the dealers and service people who sell, install and service them. Requiring fireplace accessories to be listed with specific factory-built fireplaces is problematic for the following reasons:

1) Unnecessary. Rasmussen Iron Works, Inc. has been a manufacturer of gas log sets since 1958. We have never, ever been sued for a fire caused by our gas log sets or a fire in which our products were installed, but other accessories were deemed to be the cause. In today’s litigious society, we would most certainly be named in a lawsuit of any fire surrounding a fireplace, regardless of the cause, and this has never, ever happened. If a chimney cap, damper mechanism, glass door or other accessory was the cause of a fire, Rasmussen would most certainly be named in the lawsuit if our gas log set was also installed, but this has never, ever occurred. Again, NFPA 211-2014 is a poor, dangerous solution for which no problem exists.

2) Financially untenable and impossible. There are too many fireplaces and accessory combinations to accomplish such a monumentally unnecessary undertaking to test and list ALL accessories with ALL fireplaces by ALL manufacturers.

a) Impossible to accomplish for fireplaces whose manufacturer is no longer in business (there are a lot of fireplace manufacturers who no longer exist).

3) Restraint of trade and commerce. This section will have the effect of delegitimizing products with decades of perfect safety track records and consumer enjoyment. It will threaten the viability of manufacturers, dealers, installers and service people. I expect litigation to be filed to block this section should it be enacted.

4) Effectively condemns all fireplaces in need of repair or any part replacement. Will lead to ignorant, untrained homeowners making repairs themselves to save the expensive and unnecessary cost of replacing the whole fireplace. This is fraught with DIY danger and undesired consequences.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

14.7.1.2

Only listed or approved components or accessories for use with the specific model of factory-built fireplace system shall be permitted.

[Section Deleted]

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Comment:

This proposal is a “solution” in search of a problem, and will result in increasing the chance of fires, not preventing them, while seriously threatening the viability of all fireplace accessory manufacturers and the dealers and service people who sell, install and service them. Requiring fireplace accessories to be listed with specific factory-built fireplaces is problematic for the following reasons:

1) Unnecessary. Rasmussen Iron Works, Inc. has been a manufacturer of gas log sets since 1958. We have never, ever been sued for a fire caused by our gas log sets or a fire in which our products were installed, but other accessories were deemed to be the cause. In today’s litigious society, we would most certainly be named in a lawsuit of any fire surrounding a fireplace, regardless of the cause, and this has never, ever happened. If a chimney cap, damper mechanism, glass door or other accessory was the cause of a fire, Rasmussen would most certainly be named in the lawsuit if our gas log set was also installed, but this has never, ever occurred. Again, NFPA 211-2014 is a poor, dangerous solution for which no problem exists.

2) Financially untenable and impossible. There are too many fireplaces and accessory combinations to accomplish such a monumentally unnecessary undertaking to test and list ALL accessories with ALL fireplaces by ALL manufacturers.

a) Impossible to accomplish for fireplaces whose manufacturer is no longer in business (there are a lot of fireplace manufacturers who no longer exist).

3) Restraint of trade and commerce. This section will have the effect of delegitimizing products with decades of perfect safety track records and consumer enjoyment. It will threaten the viability of manufacturers, dealers, installers and service people. I expect litigation to be filed to block this section should it be enacted.

4) Effectively condemns all fireplaces in need of repair or any part replacement. Will lead to ignorant, untrained homeowners making repairs themselves to save the expensive and unnecessary cost of replacing the whole fireplace. This is fraught with DIY danger and undesired consequences.

[Comments by Tom Stroud, HPBA]

Comments

Lynn Meyer 12-11-2014, 15:34

This change will affect almost everything we do in day to day business. We deal daily with 100’s of different fireplaces on a one to one basis and if we are not allowed to fix these as we have for the past 26 years the home owners are going to cobble something together (improperly) and this will eventually cause a loss of life of entire families. It isnt any different then putting constaints on the emissions of wood stoves and fireplaces. By doing that it will cause homeowners to continue to burn their old ineffecient stoves and not upgrade to the newer cleaner burning units available. But by reducing the emission levels this causes costs to be too high for the people we are trying to reach to afford. It is time Government started staying out of business’s way of doing business which we have been doing for half a century. We do not need more regulations. We need more common sense! This is not something the government has a lot of.

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Background

How did we get here? What is the basis for the US Department of Energy's assault on gas logs? Here is the background information ...

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The Threat

The US Department of Energy Proposed Rule would harm the market for gas logs, and severely limit consumer choice ...

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Action

We're fighting for the survival of vented gas logs against the US Government, and we need all the help we can get. Here is what you can do to help save gas logs ...

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Fallacy of ‘”Decorative” 9000 BTU

900 btu

With the stroke of a pen, the US Department of Energy declared that (as of July 1, 2011), a gas log set must not consume more that 9000 BTU/hour to be termed "decorative". If it consumes more gas than that, it must meet efficiency ratings for which no testing methodogy exists. Watch this video where Rett Rasmussen illustrates the fallacy of 9000 BTU/Hour being "decorative."

Watch Video