If you are planning to build a fire pit and have been browsing through some fire pit components and parts you may have noticed that some items or kits are referred to as either Certified or Listed and have references such as UL, CSA, ETL, and others.
Understandably, you may wonder if any of this is applies to your gas fire pit project. Well, the answer to that is a very definite, maybe!
There are two situations where certification could apply to your project:
- Private citizen building a gas fire pit in a State/City/Town/Zone where the Codes or Ordinances require the use of certified products.
- Commercial situations such as Hotels, Bars, Restaurants and Clubs, or private citizens who may rent out a property that has a fire pit. In these circumstances, you will have Public Liability Insurance and in the event of a claim, you can be sure that the Insurance Company will not pay out if your fire pit equipment has not been certified.
This Kit from Firegear is UL Certified.
What Are the Standards?
The 'standard' defines the tests and performance level required for products to receive certification. These standards are set by organizations accredited to develop and publish testing standards and are nationally accepted.
In the case of gas fire pits the standard was jointly created by an institution called UL in the United States and the CSA in Canada. Together they produced a harmonized standard published by CSA and ANSI referred to as CSA 2.41-2014/ANSI Z21.97-2014 – Outdoor Decorative Gas Appliances. This is the single standard for these types of products within the US and Canada. For the United States, it is ANSI Z21.97-2014 to which we refer. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute.
How Does Certification Work
A fire pit manufacturer can decide whether or not they wish to have their products certified. There is, of course, a cost involved that the manufacturer will have to cover, and that is one of the reasons that Certified equipment can be more expensive than non-certified units.
The manufacturer can choose any accredited test laboratory. No matter which he chooses the equipment will be tested to meet ANSI Z21.97-2014 in the United States or CSA 2.41-2014 in Canada. The most common testing Labs are UL, CSA, and LC among others.
Several manufacturers produce complete kits which are certified and ready to install, the complete kit having been tested and approved. Manufacturers also have some individual parts tested so that a part of a Certified system can be replaced if necessary and maintain the integrity of the certification.
If you are using individual parts as opposed to a kit, ensure that they have the same certification from the same authority.
Never install an uncertified piece of equipment into a previously certified system. This would void the certification of the whole system.
To recap, all individual parts or complete kits that are tested and approved to ANSI Z21.97-2014 by an accredited testing laboratory are deemed to be of an equal standard as far as safety considerations go.
Complying with the Codes and or Ordinances.
This is where things can get a little difficult. The people whose job it is to inspect fire pits and ensure that they comply are given a Specification Sheet form the 'powers that be', and if that Specification Sheet states that the fire pit equipment needs to be, for example, UL certified, then that is the only certification that the inspector can accept.
If you present the inspector with another testing laboratories certification, despite the fact that it will show the equipment is tested and approved to ANSI Z21.97-2014, it will not be acceptable because that is not what is on the Inspectors' Specification Sheet.
You will have the devils own job of trying to convince the Inspector to accept a Certification that is not on their specification sheet, trust me we have tried!
If you need to have a certified fire pit, then find out right from the get-go exactly what certification is required, so you can get the appropriate equipment and avoid any problems with the inspectors
If your fire pit comes under the Public Liability examples we mentioned earlier we strongly recommend that you use a certified complete kit for your installation, even if the inspectors do not require it, because you can be sure that in the event of a claim your insurance company will demand to see it.