For Immediate Release - January 10, 2006

New Regulations for Gas-Powered Plumbing Products to Better Protect Consumers

Installation and maintenance requirements will reduce risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Plumbing and gas fitting professionals begin this year with new requirements for the installation of gas-powered equipment, intended to safeguard Massachusetts households from the potential lethal dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The regulations, approved by the state's Division of Professional Licensure and the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters ("Board"), require a hard-wired carbon monoxide detector to be installed on gas-powered equipment that vents on the outside of a home lower than seven feet from the ground. Common gas-powered products include furnaces, boilers and fireplaces. Hard-wired or battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors would also be required on all floors in homes where such gas-powered equipment has been installed.

"These are important safety measures intended to protect consumers from dangerous circumstances that could lead to tragic outcomes," said George K. Weber, Acting Director of the Division of Professional Licensure. "While new requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in homes will be coming online later this winter, these more specific requirements are effective right now and the Board is committed to seeing detection right at the source of these gas-powered products and throughout households that use them."

Plumbers and gas-fitters will also now be required to post a sign directly in line with an exhaust vent terminal that cautions that the vent must be kept clear of all obstructions.

"Blockage of these vents by either snow or ice build-up or any other obstruction poses a real threat for carbon monoxide to back-up into a home. As side wall vents are a relatively new way for venting gas-powered equipment, we want consumers to be very aware of safety considerations," said Paul Kennedy Sr., Chairman of the State Board of Examiners of Plumbers and Gasfitters.

The new regulations can be accessed in their entirety on line at www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/pl.

The Division of Professional Licensure ("DPL") is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 29 boards of registration.