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Understanding Certified Products and Why They Matter to Consumers

Product certification, which includes product listing and labeling, is essential in the plumbing industry. This helps protect the public’s health and safety. Third- party certification agencies ensure the products that bear a certification mark have met the industry standards and plumbing codes that include critical safety requirements.

Given the surge in online shopping, it is more important than ever for the public to understand product certification. In the past when purchasing products, most people would go to a few well- established stores. Those stores would go through the process of ensuring the products they sell are certified to the appropriate requirements.

Now with online shopping, people can easily purchase items from sellers that may not check these requirements or from manufacturers themselves who may not have gone through the certification and have no way to show the product complies with the applicable standards and plumbing codes. Understanding product certification helps one to ensure the product purchased complies with the appropriate requirements.

For products to become listed, the manufacturer contacts a third-party certifier to obtain the certificate of listing and approval to use the certifier’s mark to label their product. There are several certification agencies accredited for plumbing product certification, and each one is slightly different; however, in general there are three important components to product certification that everyone should understand — the certification mark, the certificate of listing, and the standard. To further explain each component, let’s use an example:

You have purchased a new lavatory faucet model, “Lavatory 1” from “Manufacturer X,” and want to confirm it is third-party certified. The easiest way to do this is to look for the mark on the product, as that is one of the listing requirements. If the mark is not visible on the product, it may be shown on the online specification sheet. For our example, the following certification mark was found on the lavatory faucet that was recently purchased.

The mark shown above indicates the product was certified by IAPMO R&T, which is North America’s premier plumbing and mechanical product certification agency. It is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and entidad mexicana de acreditación, a.c. (ema) along with recognition by Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA). The mark indicates the lavatory faucet meets the applicable U.S. and Canadian requirements for plumbing products and that the product also complies with both the Uniform Plumbing Code® and the National Plumbing Code of Canada, as noted by the “c” in the left-hand corner. The lead-free and NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 marks above the shield indicate the product has these additional material listings for the use of safe materials and lead content. There are several marks of conformity used for IAPMO R&T-certified products depending on the product. For full details of each mark, refer to the Mark Usage Guide available at IAPMO R&T’s website: https://www.iapmo.org/ media/25185/rt_markguideline.pdf.

Now that you have checked and discovered the product is marked, you can verify the model you have purchased, “Lavatory 1” from “Manufacturer X,” is certified by IAPMO R&T.

By verifying “Manufacturer X” has a certificate of listing with IAPMO R&T and this certificate includes the model “Lavatory 1,” one can then confirm this product is listed. To do this, one can visit the certifier’s website for its listing directory to locate any active certificates. The certificate of listings is public information that can be verified by anyone. For this example, since the product was marked with an IAPMO R&T registered mark, you will need to go to IAPMO’s website. IAPMO’s website has an easy-to-use online listing directory for plumbing products, https://pld.iapmo.org/.

Here you can search the listing by file number, company name, model number or trademark of the product.

For this example, using IAPMO’s online listing directory, the certificate of listing for “Manufacturer X” was found. The image below is an example of the certificate:

IAPMO R&T has a straightforward certificate format that makes the task of obtaining details on the certificate of listing simple. The first page will have such general information as the certification mark, file number, company name and address, and the standards and codes to which the listed products comply. To verify this certificate from “Manufacturer X” includes “Lavatory 1” you will need to scroll down on the online certificate to the list of certified models or use the “Find” function. Below is an example of how this may look.

As shown, the second model listed on the certificate is “Lavatory 1.” You have now successfully confirmed the purchased product, “Lavatory 1” from “Manufacturer X,” is indeed listed with IAPMO R&T.

You have verified the listing, but do you need or want more information, such as to what was the product certified? Which critical requirements were checked? Or if you are concerned about a specific requirement, how can more information be obtained about the certification? The details of the certification are shown on the certificate.

An important detail to understand is the standard. The standard is the basis for certification. It includes all testing procedures and requirements to which the products were evaluated prior to the certificate being issued. There are well-established industry standards for most common products that certifiers use as the model by which to evaluate all products within their scope. New standards are continuously being developed for new product designs. Third-party certification agencies have engineers who verify the testing has been accurately performed and the requirements
of the standard have been met prior to issuing the certificate of listing and thus allowing the product to bear their certification mark. For this example, the standard shown on the certificate was ASME A112.18.1.-2018/CSA B125.1-2018. The standard covers plumbing supply fittings and accessories located between

the supply stop and the terminal fitting, including lavatory faucets, which is the product in question. By accessing the standard one can better understand the listing, the testing conducted and requirements that were checked.

You have now verified your lavatory faucet is third-party certified with IAPMO R&T and have gained some understanding about the scope of the certification with information from the standard. You can now confidently install your lavatory faucet in your home’s water supply system.

Jocelyn Quinonez
Product Review Engineer II at IAPMO R&T

Last modified: August 12, 2022

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