UL, UR, CSA, NSF…. When it comes to product approvals by the various agencies, it’s easy to get confused in the alphabet soup of it all. This issue of Franklin AID will explain these letters and why they are so important to you, the water systems professional. Let’s get started…
Most people are familiar with Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) from seeing the familiar “UL Listed” mark on most products in the United States. However, most people don’t know much about UL, and what that mark means, and why it’s so important.
Underwriters Laboratories is an independent, not-for-profit, product safety testing and certification organization. Founded in 1894, it is headquartered in Northbrook, IL, but has offices and testing facilities around the world.
Today, over 71,000 companies manufacture products that are UL-certified, and UL sets safety standards for 928 different types of products. One of these standards is “UL 778, Motor- Operated Water Pumps”. For a submersible product to receive the UL mark, it must be tested and certified by UL as meeting this safety standard. The complete UL 778 standard, along with much more information on UL, can be found on Underwriters Laboratories’ website, www.ul.com.
Listed vs. Recognized
You’ll find 2 types of UL markings on products. The first is the “UL Listed” mark.
This symbol means that UL has tested the complete product, and has found that product free of any fire, electric shock and other hazards under the applicable standard (UL 778 for example). In addition, this mark means that the product was manufactured under UL’s Follow-Up Services program. This follow-up program requires factory audits, normally conducted quarterly, to assure continuing compliance with the standard.
Most of Franklin Electric’s “stand-alone” products are UL Listed. Examples include SubDrive, SubMonitor and Franklin Pump Systems products (complete pumps). The other UL mark is “UL Recognized”.
UL Recognized is very similar to UL Listed, and is necessary because some products don’t “stand-alone”. That is, they are part of a larger system or product. A perfect example is a submersible motor. Since a submersible motor is a “component” of a pump system, it is tested and evaluated by UL as a “component”. As with UL Listed products, samples have been tested to nationally recognized safety standards and the products are manufactured under UL’s Follow-Up Services program above.
It is important to understand that the UL Recognized mark on Franklin motors and control boxes means that when the product is used in a water well application, it meets all related electrical and mechanical requirements of the UL Standard when it is operated within maximum allowable load conditions. However, when a non-Franklin Electric control box is used with a Franklin motor (or vice-versa), that installation may not meet the UL Standard.
In many cases, using UL Recognized and/or Listed products also assists local building inspectors in determining compliance with codes, and Franklin Electric’s UL file, can be found on the UL website. Go to www.ul.com, and click on certifications. Franklin’s UL file number is E79319.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
The equivalent organization to UL in Canada is the Canadian Standards Association or CSA. However, not only does Underwriters Laboratories test to their own standards, they are also certified to test for compliance to standards established by other organizations. CSA is a good example, and UL performs the testing and certifies that Franklin products meet the CSA Standards. Wherever you see the cUL mark on a Franklin product that means the product meets CSA Standards, but the testing and certification was performed by UL. In the same way, CSA also tests and Certifies products to the UL standards. The CSA-US mark indicates that a product has been tested by CSA to both the Canadian and US standards.
As part of the water systems industry, all of us have an obligation to ensure our products are safe to be in contact with drinking water supplies. This is where ANSI/NSF 61 comes in, and this is a critical standard.
ANSI/NSF Standard 61 was developed by a consortium of associations, including National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, the American Water Well Association (AWWA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, and the Conference of State Health and Environmental Managers. More than 40 states have laws or regulations requiring product compliance with Standard 61. Compliance with the ANSI/NSF standards is verified by ANSI certified independent testing organizations including NSF International, CSA and UL.
Of course, Franklin 4-Inch, 6-Inch and 8-Inch water well motors meet ANSI/NSF 61. UL performs the testing and follow-up verification for Franklin, and below is the UL mark you’ll find on the carton labels of Franklin motors that UL has classified to this standard.
So finally, what do all these letters mean to you, the professional water systems contractor? It means that when you buy a product that meets prescribed, nationally recognized safety standards, you’re meeting one of your obligations from a public health and safety standpoint. Bottom line is that if anything should ever go wrong in this area, you will be far more protected down the road in terms of liability than if you had used a product that has not been tested and certified as meeting safety standards.
For questions or comments concerning this article, please contact us at 800-348-2420, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.