Fire dampers are a vital part of a building’s HVAC system and its air ducts. Every facility must have regularly inspected and maintained fire dampers. We’ve listed our 7 must knows about fire and smoke damper inspections.

1. How does a fire damper work?

A fire damper is a passive fire protection product that closes when a rise in temperature occurs within the air duct. A thermal element melts to allow the damper to close. An electrical signal from a fire alarm system can also be used to close fire and smoke dampers. The purpose of dampers is to slow or stop fires inside a facility’s air ducts and HVAC system.

2. What are fire damper inspections?

A fire damper inspection ensures the damper is free of foreign materials, dirt, dust and debris. These objects and particles can impair the closing of a damper in a fire. A certified fire and smoke damper expert ensures dampers are free of obstructions, defects, and are properly installed and maintained.

3. Is fire damper inspection regulated?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) established mandatory standards for all fire and smoke dampers. The Joint Commission also provides standards for the damper performance.  A facility must have their dampers inspected 1 year after installation and again every 4 years. There is one exception; hospitals are required to have their dampers inspected every 6 years. There are also steps and documentation a certified fire damper expert must take in order to properly inspect a facility’s fire dampers.

4. Will I receive a fire damper certification report?

Carolina Filters provides detailed documentation for every damper inspection. Our unique fire and smoke damper reporting system allows clients to review the operational status of their facility’s damper system. The detailed report assigns unique damper numbers to each damper, a list of pass and failed dampers along with repaired dampers, and more. High resolution photos are time stamped to prove when the inspection was completed. A history report is also included. This report provides evidence for the owners’ defenses should a fire occur.

5. What is the importance of fire damper maintenance?

Fire and smoke dampers ensure protection inside and outside of your building’s ducts. A fuel source, such as dirty air ducts, along with a malfunctioning dampers can cause a fire to rapidly spread through the ducts and anywhere in a facility. When the dampers are properly maintained, they can prevent the spread of smoke or fires throughout the building by stopping a fire in its path.

6. Are there consequences for failing to have fire damper maintenance?

The repercussions for neglecting fire and smoke damper inspections and maintenance results in a major fines from the NFPA. In addition to the fines, a fire can cause insurmountable damage to a facility. Most importantly, it can result in death. A fire can rapidly travel through ducts causing people to get trapped with no escape.

7. Where can I get more information about NFPA Fire Damper Standards?

Carolina Filters has servicemen available to perform a fire and smoke damper inspection at your facility. A knowledgeable CFI representative is more than happy to answer any questions you may have about damper maintenance. You can download a free copy our professional guide to fire damper inspections.