Prior to 2003, a majority of gas water heaters were not considered very safe. They had an open combustion chamber which allowed an owner to relight the pilot by simply using a match. The danger of this, though evident, became a major concern as combustibles such as, gasoline; propane; etc. were being stored in close proximity of the gas water heaters creating a serious risk to the homeowner’s safety.
Thanks to a new government standard established July 1, 2003, by the American National Standards Institution (ANSI), today’s residential water heaters manufactured are FVIR compliant and have proven to be safe and reliable – provided they are installed, used, and maintained properly. Together with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the manufacturers developed this new technology – FVIR. The new design of the gas water heaters comes with a sealed combustion chamber with an air inlet allowing air to flow through the flame arrestor plate – made of perforated steel. If flammable vapors enter the combustion chamber, the flame arrestor plate prevents any flames from escaping by controlling the vapors. Additionally, this new design will no longer allow the pilot to be lit with a match but rather the pilot mechanism. Though, there have been a few unfortunate acciden.