October, 2002
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

ASHRAE energy standards to be included in consensus-based codes


According to a press release from the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), energy standards from ASHRAE will be included in the first full set of safety codes being developed through a consensus-based process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), overseeing the codes’ development, recently approved publication of a key element, the “NFPA 5000™ Building Construction and Safety Code™.” The “NFPA 5000” is part of a full set of codes being developed along with the ASHRAE and other partners.

The full set of codes will contain ASHRAE’s energy standards, Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and Standard 90.2, Energy Efficient Design of New Low-Rise Residential Buildings.
The codes, known as the Comprehensive Consensus Codes™ (C3), represent the first full set of codes ever developed through a consensus-based process accredited by ANSI. They are expected to be published in April 2003.

“This full set of safety codes and standards through an ANSI-accredited process will provide states and municipalities with the option of using an integrated set of safety requirements developed in conjunction with experts throughout a variety of specialty areas,” ASHRAE President Donald Colliver, Ph.D., P.E., said. “We look forward to ASHRAE’s energy standards immediately being part of that package. This is part of our continuing effort to promote the use and adoption of ASHRAE standards in codes.”

In addition, as part of the effort, NFPA and ASHRAE are developing an energy code element of the C3 set – NFPA 900, Building Energy Code. When completed, the code will incorporate Standards 90.1 and 90.2. These standards will continue to be revised by ASHRAE under its continuous maintenance procedures, and updates will periodically be included in the NFPA Energy Code.

Other partners in the code effort are the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and the Western Fire Chiefs Association.

GE agrees to pay $1,000,000 fine for delay in reporting product defect to CPSC

The CPSC announced that the General Electric Co. (GE), of Fairfield, Conn., has agreed to pay the Government a $1 million civil penalty. The fine settles allegations that GE knowingly failed to report to CPSC in a timely manner a defect with certain models of dishwashers. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers must immediately report information about potentially hazardous products to the Commission.

CPSC alleged that beginning in 1992, GE, one of the largest manufacturers of household appliances in the world, became aware of incidents of fire, smoking and melting related to the energy-saver slide switches on six models of dishwashers. The slide switches can overheat, causing the plastic to melt, and in some cases, ignite. Between January 1992 and November 1998, GE received 49 reports of fires that involved melted switches. By the time the company first reported to the Commission in November 1998, it knew of at least 111 incidents involving fire, smoke, or melting of the switches on these dishwashers. In agreeing to settle this matter, GE denies that it knowingly violated the CPSA.

GE manufactured 3.1 million of the GSD500D, GSD500G, GSD540, HDA467, HDA477, and HDA478 model dishwashers between 1983 and 1989. All of these models have identical slide switches that allow consumers to choose between a heated and non-heated drying cycle. In December 2000, CPSC and GE announced a free repair option in the form of a rewiring for the dishwashers. A GE-authorized technician will rewire the slide switch at no cost to consumers. The rewire program supplements the original rebate program announced in October 1999. In that recall, GE provided consumers with a rebate toward the purchase of a new dishwasher. CPSC and GE announced the supplemental rewiring option to increase the effectiveness of the original rebate program.

Consumers who have one of these recalled dishwashers should immediately discontinue use, unlatch the door, and contact GE at 800-599-2929 or log on to their Web site at www.geappliancerecall.com.