Senate Bill No. 3
(By Senators Foster and Klempa)
[Introduced January 11, 2012; referred to the Committee on Government Organization.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-5A-1, §47-5A-2, §47-5A-3, §47-5A-4, §47-5A-5, §47-5A-6, §47-5A-7 and §47-5A-8, all relating to safety features of residential water heaters; providing maximum thermostat settings; requiring warning notice; allowing occupants control of thermostat settings; limiting liability of employees of manufacturers and installers; providing an effective date; and providing criminal penalty.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-5A-1, §47-5A-2, §47-5A-3, §47-5A-4, §47-5A-5, §47-5A-6, §47-5A-7 and §47-5A-8, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5A. SAFETY FEATURES OF RESIDENTIAL WATER HEATERS.
§47-5A-1. Purpose of article.
The purpose of this article is to protect individuals, especially high risk individuals such as children five years of age or younger, from being burned by scalding water as a result of water temperatures in residential water heaters.
For purposes of this article:
“Installer” means those persons who or which install water heaters.
“Manufacturer” means a person who manufacturers water heaters.
“Person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, contractor, subcontractor, association or any other legal entity.
“Residential” means a dwelling intended for occupancy by an individual, single-family or multifamily or an item intended for use in those dwellings.
“Water heater” means the primary source of hot water for any single-family or multifamily residential dwelling or units including, but not limited to, a solar or other water heating systems.
§47-5A-3. Thermostat settings.
(a) The thermostat of any new residential water heater offered for sale or lease in the state shall be preset by the manufacturer and installer no higher than one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit.
(b) The temperature of a water heating reservoir may be set higher if the reservoir is supplying space heaters that require higher temperatures.
§47-5A-4. Warning notice.
(a) A warning tag or sticker must be placed on or near the operating thermostat of a new residential water heater stating that thermostat settings above the preset temperature may cause severe burns. If the water heater does not have the warning tag or sticker on it at the time of installation, the installer shall place one on it before the installation is complete.
(b) The warning tag or sticker may carry other appropriate warnings as may be agreed upon by manufacturers, installers and other interested parties.
§47-5A-5. Control of thermostat settings by occupant; relief from liability.
(a) Nothing in this article prohibits the occupant of a residential dwelling with an individual water heater from resetting or having reset the thermostat on the water heater.
(b) Resetting performed by or at the direction of the occupant relieves the manufacturer or installer of the water heater and, in the case of a residential dwelling that is leased or rented, also the unit’s owner, from liability for damages attributed to the resetting.
§47-5A-6. Nonliability of employees.
No liability is created under this article for employees of persons responsible for the manufacturing and installing of water heaters.
§47-5A-7. Violations; penalties.
A person who violates a provision of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $500, or confined in jail not more than thirty days, or both fined and confined.
§47-5A-8. Effective date.
This article takes effect on July 1, 2012, and applies to all water heaters installed on and after that date.
NOTE: The purpose of this article is to require safety features on all new residential water heaters.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.