Title 49

SECTION 393.77

393.77 Heaters.

§ 393.77 Heaters.

On every motor vehicle, every heater shall comply with the following requirements:

(a) Prohibited types of heaters. The installation or use of the following types of heaters is prohibited:

(1) Exhaust heaters. Any type of exhaust heater in which the engine exhaust gases are conducted into or through any space occupied by persons or any heater which conducts engine compartment air into any such space.

(2) Unenclosed flame heaters. Any type of heater employing a flame which is not fully enclosed, except that such heaters are not prohibited when used for heating the cargo of tank motor vehicles.

(3) Heaters permitting fuel leakage. Any type of heater from the burner of which there could be spillage or leakage of fuel upon the tilting or overturning of the vehicle in which it is mounted.

(4) Heaters permitting air contamination. Any heater taking air, heated or to be heated, from the engine compartment or from direct contact with any portion of the exhaust system; or any heater taking air in ducts from the outside atmosphere to be conveyed through the engine compartment, unless said ducts are so constructed and installed as to prevent contamination of the air so conveyed by exhaust or engine compartment gases.

(5) Solid fuel heaters except wood charcoal. Any stove or other heater employing solid fuel except wood charcoal.

(6) Portable heaters. Portable heaters shall not be used in any space occupied by persons except the cargo space of motor vehicles which are being loaded or unloaded.

(b) Heater specifications. All heaters shall comply with the following specifications:

(1) Heating elements, protection. Every heater shall be so located or protected as to prevent contact therewith by occupants, unless the surface temperature of the protecting grilles or of any exposed portions of the heaters, inclusive of exhaust stacks, pipes, or conduits shall be lower than would cause contact burns. Adequate protection shall be afforded against igniting parts of the vehicle or burning occupants by direct radiation. Wood charcoal heaters shall be enclosed within a metal barrel, drum, or similar protective enclosure which enclosure shall be provided with a securely fastened cover.

(2) Moving parts, guards. Effective guards shall be provided for the protection of passengers or occupants against injury by fans, belts, or any other moving parts.

(3) Heaters, secured. Every heater and every heater enclosure shall be securely fastened to the vehicle in a substantial manner so as to provide against relative motion within the vehicle during normal usage or in the event the vehicle overturns. Every heater shall be so designed, constructed, and mounted as to minimize the likelihood of disassembly of any of its parts, including exhaust stacks, pipes, or conduits, upon overturn of the vehicle in or on which it is mounted. Wood charcoal heaters shall be secured against relative motion within the enclosure required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and the enclosure shall be securely fastened to the motor vehicle.

(4) Relative motion between fuel tank and heater. When either in normal operation or in the event of overturn, there is or is likely to be relative motion between the fuel tank for a heater and the heater, or between either of such units and the fuel lines between them, a suitable means shall be provided at the point of greatest relative motion so as to allow this motion without causing failure of the fuel lines.

(5) Operating controls to be protected. On every bus designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, means shall be provided to prevent unauthorized persons from tampering with the operating controls. Such means may include remote control by the driver; installation of controls at inaccessible places; control of adjustments by key or keys; enclosure of controls in a locked space, locking of controls, or other means of accomplishing this purpose.

(6) Heater hoses. Hoses for all hot water and steam heater systems shall be specifically designed and constructed for that purpose.

(7) Electrical apparatus. Every heater employing any electrical apparatus shall be equipped with electrical conductors, switches, connectors, and other electrical parts of ample current-carrying capacity to provide against overheating; any electric motor employed in any heater shall be of adequate size and so located that it will not be overheated; electrical circuits shall be provided with fuses and/or circuit breakers to provide against electrical overloading; and all electrical conductors employed in or leading to any heater shall be secured against dangling, chafing, and rubbing and shall have suitable protection against any other condition likely to produce short or open circuits.


Electrical parts certified as proper for use by Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., shall be deemed to comply with the foregoing requirements.

(8) Storage battery caps. If a separate storage battery is located within the personnel or cargo space, such battery shall be securely mounted and equipped with nonspill filler caps.

(9) Combustion heater exhaust construction. Every heater employing the combustion of oil, gas, liquefied petroleum gas, or any other combustible material shall be provided with substantial means of conducting the products of combustion to the outside of the vehicle: Provided, however, That this requirement shall not apply to heaters used solely to heat the cargo space of motor vehicles where such motor vehicles or heaters are equipped with means specifically designed and maintained so that the carbon monoxide concentration will never exceed 0.2 percent in the cargo space. The exhaust pipe, stack, or conduit if required shall be sufficiently substantial and so secured as to provide reasonable assurance against leakage or discharge of products of combustion within the vehicle and, if necessary, shall be so insulated as to make unlikely the burning or charring of parts of the vehicle by radiation or by direct contact. The place of discharge of the products of combustion to the atmosphere and the means of discharge of such products shall be such as to minimize the likelihood of their reentry into the vehicle under all operating conditions.

(10) Combustion chamber construction. The design and construction of any combustion-type heater except cargo space heaters permitted by the proviso of paragraph (c)(9) of this section and unenclosed flame heaters used for heating cargo of tank motor vehicles shall be such as to provide against the leakage of products of combustion into air to be heated and circulated. The material employed in combustion chambers shall be such as to provide against leakage because of corrosion, oxidation, or other deterioration. Joints between combustion chambers and the air chambers with which they are in thermal and mechanical contact shall be so designed and constructed as to prevent leakage between the chambers and the materials employed in such joints shall have melting points substantially higher than the maximum temperatures likely to be attained at the points of jointure.

(11) Heater fuel tank location. Every bus designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, with heaters of the combustion type shall have fuel tanks therefor located outside of and lower than the passenger space. When necessary, suitable protection shall be afforded by shielding or other means against the puncturing of any such tank or its connections by flying stones or other objects.

(12) Heater, automatic fuel control. Gravity or siphon feed shall not be permitted for heaters using liquid fuels. Heaters using liquid fuels shall be equipped with automatic means for shutting off the fuel or for reducing such flow of fuel to the smallest practicable magnitude, in the event of overturn of the vehicle. Heaters using liquefied petroleum gas as fuel shall have the fuel line equipped with automatic means at the source of supply for shutting off the fuel in the event of separation, breakage, or disconnection of any of the fuel lines between the supply source and the heater.

(13) “Tell-tale” indicators. Heaters subject to paragraph (b)(14) of this section and not provided with automatic controls shall be provided with “tell-tale” means to indicate to the driver that the heater is properly functioning. This requirement shall not apply to heaters used solely for the cargo space in semitrailers or full trailers.

(14) Shut-off control. Automatic means, or manual means if the control is readily accessible to the driver without moving from the driver's seat, shall be provided to shut off the fuel and electrical supply in case of failure of the heater to function for any reason, or in case the heater should function improperly or overheat. This requirement shall not apply to wood charcoal heaters or to heaters used solely to heat the contents of cargo tank motor vehicles, but wood charcoal heaters must be provided with a controlled method of regulating the flow of combustion air.

(15) Certification required. Every combustion-type heater, except wood charcoal heaters, the date of manufacture of which is subsequent to December 31, 1952, and every wood charcoal heater, the date of manufacture of which is subsequent to September 1, 1953, shall be marked plainly to indicate the type of service for which such heater is designed and with a certification by the manufacturer that the heater meets the applicable requirements for such use. For example, “Meets I.C.C. Bus Heater Requirements,” Meets I.C.C. Flue-Vented Cargo Space Heater Requirements,” and after December 31, 1967, such certification shall read “Meets FMCSA Bus Heater Requirements,” “Meets FMCSA Flue-Vented Cargo Space Heater Requirements,” etc.

(c) Exception. The certification for a catalytic heater which is used in transporting flammable liquid or gas shall be as prescribed under § 177.834(1) of this title.

[33 FR 19735, Dec. 25, 1968, as amended at 40 FR 51198, Nov. 4, 1975; 53 FR 49401, Dec. 7, 1988; 77 FR 59828, Oct. 1, 2012; 78 FR 58484, Sept. 24, 2013]