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Improve Your Fire Protection By Installing Duct Detectors!

Posted on: June 30, 2011

Most buildings in New Jersey, Delaware and Philadelphia buildings are kept warm or cool via forced air HVAC systems, including air conditioners and furnaces. These systems are extremely effective at transporting air throughout the entire building. Unfortunately, this means they are also good at moving dangerous heat and smoke during a fire! Not only that, but overheating fan motors can actually cause fires to start within the ducts – fires you might not know about until flames start shooting out of your vents! It can be very difficult to escape from a situation like this because you might not get much warning – unless you install duct detectors as part of your New Jersey fire alarm system!

What is a duct detector?

Everyone has seen movies where smoke pours out of air vents during a fire. Well duct detectors are designed specifically to not let this happen! Duct detectors are designed to prevent panic, injury and property damage in a couple of ways. First, they sound an alarm when they detect smoke traveling through your ductwork. This early alarm should provide you with plenty of warning so you can get out of your building quickly and safely.

Next, duct detectors actually shut down your HVAC system’s air handlers and fans. This is a HUGE benefit, and one of the main things that makes duct detectors so effective – not only do they emit audible and visual alarms, but they also shut down your forced air system so that smoke and heat in the ducts stay in the ducts, giving you even more time to escape. Some more advanced systems are even capable of closing your system dampers to contain the smoke even further.

Better yet, many duct detectors can be programmed to stop the supply fan in your building while keeping the return fan running. Doing this actually pulls smoke and other contaminants caused by fire out of your building, helping you escape by allowing you to breathe and see more clearly during your evacuation.

Duct detectors are extremely useful in cases where a fire could start in places where you wouldn’t realize it until it’s too late. For instance, if the fan motor in your ductwork overheats and sparks, it could potentially start a fire that would normally be easy to take care of, but could bring down your whole building because you had no time to react. A duct detector would detect the fire much more quickly than a regular fire alarm or smoke detector and would not only alert the people inside your building, but in many cases would be able to effectively prevent the spread of the smoke or fire until the fire department arrived on scene.

Things to Consider When Installing Duct Detectors

Duct detectors are highly effective at responding to smoke hazards in your ductwork. However, it’s important that you keep some things in mind when you use them.

  • Duct detectors should not be a substitute for area smoke detectors
  • Duct detectors are not meant to be a substitute for early warning detection
  • Duct detectors are not meant to be a replacement for a building’s regular fire detection system

The NFPA supports these points by saying that duct smoke detectors are only intended to prevent the distribution of smoke through the supply air duct system and, preferably, to limit IDLH environments by exhausting smoke to the outside. Neither of these functions can guarantee the early detection of fire or the detection of smoke concentrations before the concentrations reach dangerous levels. As a result, it is important that you only install duct smoke detectors as a supplement to your existing fire protection system.

If you own a building in the New Jersey, Delaware and Philadelphia area and you want to upgrade your level of fire protection, call Confires today. We can install a duct detector system in your HVAC ducts to make sure that you are protected on all sides, and of course, we can service and maintain your existing duct detectors!

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