All glass-fronted gas hearth appliances – that means gas fireplaces and glass-fronted gas heaters – now require a protective barrier if their glass surface temperature exceeds 172 degrees Fahrenheit.
Protective barriers will be standard on new gas fireplaces (so use them!) And if you already have a fireplace, buy a protective retrofit barrier to protect accidental contact.
Barriers can include attachable safety screens, safety gates and fireplace safety screens. If you choose an attachable safety screen, check with your fireplace manufacturer to get the right one for your fireplace. You can buy safety screen barriers at fireplace retailers and hardware stores and purchase safety gates at big box and/or baby product stores, the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America supports this rule. During the filming of our own safety video in February 2014 [watch the video here] regarding this topic, we used a thermal measuring tool that showed that the glass was well into the 250-degree range. Indianapolis television station WTHR-TV (Channel 13) reported that during a four-week stretch last winter, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health treated nine children who were injured by gas fireplaces.
Severe burns can happen in seconds.
“CSIA wants you to be able to enjoy your gas fireplace with as little risk as possible,” said Ashley Eldridge, CSIA Director of Education.
Furthermore, we applaud our colleagues at the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, which chaired the voluntary standards committee that developed the new industry standards requiring barriers. HPBA says the new standard followed more than four years of research, testing and discussions on how best to reduce the potential hazard posed by hot glass surfaces to at-risk people, especially children. By attaching a barrier to the glass front, contact with hot surfaces becomes less likely.
HPBA is featured in a news story that aired nationally today on ABC’s Good Morning America. It’s worth your 90 seconds.
Be safe, and enjoy your gas appliance. And, make sure it is inspected and maintained once per year. Your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep technician is up to that task. Find one here using our zip-code locator.