New Safety Standard for Hot Glass-Front Fireplaces Takes Effect > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
January 05, 2015

New Safety Standard for Hot Glass-Front Fireplaces Takes Effect

Industry Urges Supervision and Adding Barriers to Keep Kids Safe

(Covered by ABC's Good Morning America)

ARLINGTON, VA (January 5, 2015) - Starting January 1, 2015, all newly manufactured glass-fronted, gas fireplaces and stoves will include an installed protective barrier if their glass surface temperature exceeds 172 degrees Fahrenheit to protect young children and others from serious burns, according to the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association. This new safety standard requires that the barrier must be in place when the product is installed.

"While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become very hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard," said Jack Goldman, president & CEO of HPBA. "In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of touching the hot glass on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. While we believe these incidents are few, even one is too many. We believe the new safety standard will provide greater protection to young children and others with special needs."

The new standard was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2012. Following more than four years of research and testing by the hearth products industry and discussions with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, this standard is focused on reducing the potential hazard posed by direct contact with hot glass surfaces to at-risk people, especially children.

Products manufactured prior January 1, 2015 may still be sold after that date, even if they do not meet the new standard.  “We expect to see a mix of both older and newer units in stores this year as retailers clear out their inventory. We advise consumers to ask retailers if the unit they are thinking about buying meets the new standard and if not to ask what types of barrier options may be available for a particular unit,” said Goldman.

Consumers Need to Remain Vigilant, Exercise Caution

However, Goldman issued the following warning: “While the new safety screens are important in avoiding direct contact with the hot glass, understanding the potential hazard and offering constant supervision are vital to preventing burns.  It remains important to keep kids and others from touching any surface of any fireplace.”

According to the 2012 Hearth Consumer Survey, nearly 11 million existing households have a gas fireplace with a glass front, and more than half of those households currently are unaware of the risk of burns from touching the glass fronts.

“Owners of gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts  -- whether they meet the new safety standard or not -- need to take steps to provide an added level of protection for young children and others who don't understand the risk of touching hot glass," said Goldman.

Specifically, HPBA advises owners of all gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts that have glass fronts to observe these safety tips:

  • Always supervise children, the aged, infirm and/or pets near an operating gas fireplace, stove or insert – even one that has recently been turned off. 
  • Keep the remote control out of the reach of children (if your appliance has one). 
  • Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance. 
  • Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass and surrounding surfaces on a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot. 
  • Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it… cool down can take a long time – an hour or more. 
  • Always read the owner's manual and follow instructions.

Safety Screen and Barrier Options for Existing Fireplaces, Stoves or Inserts

"While vigilance and supervision are essential to ensuring a safe environment, there is no substitute for a physical barrier," advised Goldman.  Consumers with existing gas fireplaces, stoves or inserts should consider installing a protective screen or physical barrier to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with the glass front.

Safety products come in various forms, including:

  • Attachable safety screens that fasten to the front of the fireplace to create an air space between the glass and the screen. Important note: Prior to installing, homeowners should consult with their hearth specialty retailer to verify that they have the appropriate safety screen, approved by the fireplace manufacturer, for use on their appliance, as aftermarket safety screens could negatively affect the safe operation of the appliance. 
  • Free-standing safety screens and gates are barriers set up to prevent access.  Free-standing fireplace screens and barriers are set back from the fireplace or stove front to prevent direct access.

For an informative video and downloadable images of attachable screens, free-standing safety screens and gates, as well as more detailed information on the issue, and downloadable safety tips, visit here.

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