CPSC Hosting Forum on CO/Combustion Furnace Sensors

The June 3, all-day forum in Rockville, Md., is part of a years-long process in which the agency’s staff has encouraged the development of and tested sensor technologies that would shut down a gas heater when the CO concentration exceeds 400 ppm.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission will host a June 3 forum about carbon monoxide/combustion for gas furnaces, and the commission has issued a Request for Information asking whether sensors are available that can (1) operate within the flue passageways of a gas appliance or similar environment; (2) directly or indirectly monitor carbon monoxide levels or other gases or environmental conditions associated with the production of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide; and (3) provide a shutdown or other preemptive signal in response to dangerous CO levels of carbon monoxide.

For more than a decade, the CPSC staff has encouraged the development of such sensors and the addition of a provision in the ANSI furnace standard that would require a means to prevent furnaces from producing CO concentrations above 400 parts per million.

The forum will be held at CPSC's National Product Testing and Evaluation Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 3; anyone interested in serving on panels at the forum should register by May 9, and written comments will be accepted until July 7.

According to the CPSC notice, CO/combustion sensing technology is already in use with vented gas heating appliances in Japan. The notice said CPSC's analysis of U.S. death certificates showed an estimated 369 non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with central gas furnaces/boilers, wall furnaces, and floor furnaces from 1999 to 2010.

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