Fire dampers play a crucial role in the life safety and the HVAC systems in a facility. Fire damper maintenance ensures that the damper is working properly and would help prevent the spread of smoke and fire throughout a building in the event of a fire. It can be difficult to assure optimal performance of a fire and smoke damper due to the complex structure of the damper.

There are a variety of reasons a damper may fail an inspection. Some of the most common reasons a fire damper fails an inspection are listed below.

Alignment issues

Any alignment issue can cause a damper to fail inspection. If the damper components are not correctly in-line, the damper may not close completely if a building fire occurs. During an inspection, the technician will ensure all parts of the damper are correctly aligned. Because fire dampers are complex, there are many working apparatuses that must remain in pristine condition to ensure the damper will pass inspection.

Corrosion or Rust

Rust or corrosion can compromise the integrity of a damper. Any amount of imperfection on the damper may result in a malfunction and cause the damper to fail inspection. Built-up rust may be able to be removed from the damper. The amount of rust or corrosion may result in replacing the entire damper. This ensures the dampers will help halt the spread of a fire throughout a facility.

Failed damper fusible links

A fusible link is a temperature sensitive device that holds the damper open, allowing air to circulate. Once the link is exposed to a certain temperature, it will open. This causes the damper to close which prevents smoke and fire from passing through in the event of a fire. While there are different temperature ratings available, 165 F is the standard temperature rating for fusible links. Once the link is open, it will keep the damper closed until the fusible link is replaced.

Malfunctioning actuators

Damper actuators provide electronic or pneumatic control to detect heat and/or smoke. Once exposed to these elements, the actuator closes the damper and alerts a control system in the building, typically a fire alarm, and in effect warning occupants of the potential hazard. If the actuator fails, the damper may not close and occupants may not be aware of a fire in the building.

While these may seem like easy fixes, remember, it is always best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair your dampers. The NFPA requires that all building dampers are professionally inspected and a detailed report is provided. Learn more about fire damper inspections, maintenance and NFPA regulations by downloading Carolina Filters free guide.