The Canadian Standard Association (CSA) has been developing and certifying safety standards for nearly 100 years. Since then, they’ve built a lasting legacy of ensuring manufacturers, retailers and, ultimately, the general public have confidence in the safety of the products and equipment they’re using. From their origins of developing standards for railway bridges and electrical safety, their scope has broadened immensely. Today, the CSA Group’s standards are globally recognized and span a wide, evolving range of almost 60 categories.
In the plumbing world, the CSA Group tests and certifies products to North American standards. Overwhelmingly, protection of the public remains the mandate. This includes National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) requirements for drinking water applications and testing for low lead. But, consumer demand and regulatory requirements have also lead to attributes like energy efficiency and water usage being included.
Here in North America, all plumbing products that come into contact with drinking water – or those which are used for food preparation – must meet a series of standards outlined by the CSA, American Standard of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and NSF. Piping, both plastic and non-plastic, is certified by the CSA to meet CSA, ASTM and American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards, as well as NSF/ANSI 14 and NSF/ANSI 61 standards.
Unlike plumbing products, any product that’s electrical in nature cannot be sold without CSA certification.
Generally, most fixtures, fittings and piping that you come across will be certified by the CSA. But, it’s well worth reminding that this is not necessarily a requirement for sale. Finding this out the hard way – and/or, by way of a building inspector – can be a costly discovery. There are numerous renovation stories where purchased fixtures were installed and functioning but didn’t meet the approval of an inspector. One of the first things they’ll be looking for is a CSA stamp or sticker or the seal from a number of other certification bodies, like Underwriter’s Laboratories, American National Standards Institute, or the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
Often, counterfeit and/or offshore products are sold without any standard’s certification. The CSA encourages buyers to be vigilant with their own inspections. Be wary of products that are surprisingly inexpensive, or include labelling anomalies such as spelling or grammar errors. Recognizing the CSA’s stamp of approval will help ensure your installations will achieve inspection approvals.
The CSA also has a partnership with WaterSense®, a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that’s working to encourage and enhance water efficiency. Whether you’re a DIY’er doing minor renovations, or you’re doing installations for your client, sourcing fixtures with a WaterSense® seal can be a cost-saving and environmentally sensitive choice.