If you are installing your fire pit in a commercial location, or publicly accessible area you definitely do need a CSA certification. If you’re installing your fire pit in your backyard for personal use, you might not need a CSA certification.
What is a CSA Certification?
The CSA (Canadian Standards Association) seal is an assurance that the item you are buying meets a set of criteria for performance and safety.
This certification seal is often found on gas fire pit components, but is it necessary to get a fire pit that bears the CSA mark? No. Yes. Maybe.
The answer is, it truly depends on a variety of factors.
Is it a good idea to have a fire pit that’s certified by the CSA? Yes!
The CSA Group
The CSA Group is a testing and certification body known for its expertise in the certification of fuel-powered appliances. But the certification carries clout well beyond Canada’s borders and is recognized as the gold standard of testing in many countries around the world.
As outdoor fireplaces and fire pits picked up in popularity, the CSA Group recognized a need to assure the safety of these appliances.
Overseen by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), they developed a harmonized standard (with a really long code name we won’t use here), otherwise known as “The Standard for Outdoor Decorative Fireplaces.” These are the standards all testing laboratories use when certifying fireplaces or fire pits.
When an item carries the CSA seal, it means the item has not only been tested to those standards, but it met the criteria.
If you see an item that is CSA-approved, it means that the item was once certified, but the manufacturer did not keep up with the certification process.
This is important because, over time, things tend to change. New parts, materials, or processes may be used and if ongoing certification and testing have not kept up, the CSA can no longer certify that the product is what the manufacturer says it is.
CSA vs UL vs ETL
CSA certification is similar to the UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) seal, which sets standards in the U.S.
The UL seal means that the product has been tested and meets the standards for use in the United States. (Most items with the CSA seal are accepted in the U.S., but not all UL-certified products are accepted in Canada.)
You may have noticed Intertek’s mark on products— “ETL” (Electrical Testing Lab). This company is different from the two above in that it is not setting the standards. Intertek is testing products according to established standards.
Intertek’s ETL (Electrical Testing Lab) mark represents testing done for manufacturers to show proof of compliance with their products. Their mark is accepted by the same regulatory agencies as those for CSA and UL.
When Is It Okay to Skip the Seal?
You can consider going with a product without certification if you are doing a simple project that will only be used by you and your family, and you live outside the jurisdiction of local ordinances. Products without certification cannot be used in commercial or public applications.
But keep in mind, that you are assuming an unknown amount of risk. Accidents do happen. For instance, if the flame jumps out of the pit and injures someone or damages your property, your insurance will likely deny coverage citing a lack of certified equipment.
When Is CSA Certification a Must-Have?
If the fire pit you are planning will be located in a commercial environment, a rental space (including an Airbnb), or a place with public access, you will need to have a certified appliance.
If you are working with a building permit, you will need it. It’s a good idea to clarify if the appliance must be certified by a particular entity like the CSA. If you aren’t using a product with the specific certification they require, inspectors may not be able to sign off on it.
Local governments, insurance companies, and Homeowner’s Associations may also have particular requirements.
Why Do CSA Products Cost More?
The CSA Group is a not-for-profit entity, but it is expensive to provide certification. In addition to rigorous laboratory testing, there is also follow-up. It’s not “one and done.”
Certification also involves factory inspections to make sure the appliances and parts are being manufactured correctly.
And there is a retail surveillance component. The CSA Group periodically takes products off the shelf and tests those to make sure they meet the standards too.
The CSA mark allows consumers to buy with confidence, but it does cost more to provide this assurance. Manufacturers are responsible for the cost of the certification process, and that is reflected in the retail price.
Safety and Convenience
CSA certifications may not be required for every project, but it’s never a bad idea. In fact, some of the safety standards also happen to be convenient.
For instance, a thermocouple stops the flow of gas should the flame go out. Not only does that keep you safer, but it also keeps the tank from bleeding dry.
And the push-button igniter not only keeps you from hovering over an open flow of gas with a butane lighter, but it also brings forth the flame in an instant.
You pay more for certification, but you get more. And the peace of mind can be priceless.
So even if your project can “get by” without the CSA certification, you might not want to take any chances.
THE CSA (Canadian Standards Association) was originally founded in 1919 as the CESA (Canadian Engineering Standards Association). Initially, it was tasked with improving the safety of Canada’s infrastructure and to create standards for products such as aircraft parts and wire rope. Today, the not-for-profit entity is known as the CSA Group and works in more than 54 areas of technology.
Be sure to visit Celestial Fire Glass and shop our selection of DIY CSA Certified Burner Kits. These burner kits are CSA certified and priced affordably without sacrificing quality.
Still unsure which way to go?
Contact us and we’ll talk!