AIANO has been manufacturing wire guards for health & safety for over 150 years. We have a wealth of accumulated experience in the area of heater and radiator guards, and are the only heater safety guard manufacturer to be recommended by GDC Group (Dimplex, Creda, etc.) the world’s largest manufacturer of heating equipment. In recent times, in our increasingly health & safety conscious world , there has been a range of new heaters with the designation of LST (low surface temperature). As a result, AIANO has introduced a system of testing for low surface temperature heater guards. This is the first of a series of occasional articles by AIANO that seeks to illuminate some of the issues in this sometimes confusing field.
What is Low surface temperature (LST)?
When discussing heater guards, it is important to differentiate between conventional heaters and low surface temperature heaters (LST). Low surface temperature heaters are designed so that they react with the environment to maintain a target temperature in the room. They are designed so that their surface temperature remains within NHS LST guidelines which specify that heaters cannot have a surface temperature higher than 43°C.
The surface temperature of conventional electric storage and panel heaters can reach between 70°C and 80°C. During our own AIANO testing programme, we have recorded heater surface temperatures in excess of this.
At these temperatures, a person can receive superficial burns in under a second, or full thickness burns in 10 seconds. Most people have a natural reaction to move their hand away if they encounter something hot to touch. Some vulnerable groups do not have this automatic reaction and as such, there is a risk of serious injury.
Some nurseries and residential homes are opting for the new generation of LST heaters, but very often, nurseries, schools, residential homes, retirement homes and so on have a legacy system of heating that pre-dates the LST era. What are the best wire guard strategies in each case?
Choosing the right guard for the environment
The AIANO Classic heater guard is a guard we recommend for most situations. We have a wide range of standard guards for the most popular heater makes and models . We can also make guards up to suit specific requirements and environments.
The AIANO Classic heater guard has at least 3” (75mm) of clearance on all sides between the heater and the guard, which is enough clearance to ensure that the guard remains safe to touch for the majority of heater types. Some heaters, such as quartz or ceramic heaters, for example, which reach much higher temperatures will require greater clearance. AIANO collaborated with Dimplex to develop its range of quartz heater guards.
While the AIANO Classic guards will protect against contact with the heater and will be less hot than the heater, it is important to note that the guard does still get hot, particularly in the area adjacent to the air outlet grille of the heater. For this reason, AIANO strongly recommends that vulnerable groups such as the elderly, infirm or young children are always adequately supervised in the vicinity of the heater. In some cases it may be advisable to make a special heater guard with extra clearance between the heater and the guard.
AIANO testing is done in a controlled environment, with good air circulation, where obstructions such as shelving or furniture are not blocking off the heat circulation of the heater. If the heater or guard is installed incorrectly, or if the heater is used or operated not in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, the guards may behave differently. One of the important functions of a heater guard is as a visual flag, which signals that special care should be taken in the vicinity of a heater.
For situations which demand low surface temperature appliance guards to comply with NHS estates guidelines, then guards can be made to special order. Many AIANO customers want a guard that can offer them the safety of an LST heater whilst keeping their conventional heaters. This challenge is something that we have taken on at AIANO, and through testing we have begun to add low surface temperature heater guards to our product range.
AIANO low surface temperature heater guards – testing and product development
At AIANO we have introduced a system of testing our guards in order to better understand how our guards perform, and make refinements to our product design. AIANO engineers are always seeking ways to enhance our product design. AIANO safety innovations to date include, among other things, lockable access control flaps and sloping tops. The sloping top ensures that there is extra clearance at the top of the heater where the heat outlet is usually located.
The design of our low surface temperature heater guards is born of our long experience in the industry, and our heat testing programme brought in to ensure the guards meet the safety guidelines.
AIANO has worked in collaboration with Dimplex to design low sureface temperature heater guards for some of the most popular heater designs, and to develop general design and manufacture principles that can be applied to other makes and models of heater. AIANO is committed to an ongoing programme of research, testing and product development and innovation. Watch this space for further updates on AIANO innovation in the field of low surface temperature heater guards and other areas of wire mesh safety guards.
Please call Scott or Elliott on 020 7987 1184 or email us if you would like to discuss your requirements, or for further information or advice on AIANO low surface temperature heater guards.