What are Fire Dampers and Why are They Needed?

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Fire dampers are one of the most important and underrated fire protection products that exist. If you’re asking yourself if you have dampers or if you need them, you’re not alone. In the event of a fire, flames can spread rapidly through your ductwork, causing severe damage to your structure. We recommend equipping your system with fire dampers to prevent smoke and fire from spreading rapidly and ensure you will have safe escape routes.

What is a Fire Damper?

A fire damper is a passive fire protection product used in HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) ducts to prevent the spread of fire inside the ductwork. They can be used in commercial or residential properties.

How Does a Fire Damper Work?

The heat from a fire causes the room temperature to rise. When it reaches a temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit, the fusible link attached to the damper begins to melt, forcing the damper to close. If certain rooms in your building are usually at a higher-than-normal temperature, there are options for a higher-degree fusible.

Once the temperature has reached its limit, the damper will close. The airflow is then restricted, depriving the fire of oxygen. Preventing oxygen from feeding the flames can keep the fire contained to a single room.

There are two types of fire dampers to choose from:

  • Dynamic
  • Static

Dynamic Fire Dampers

Dynamic dampers are used as vertical barriers in HVAC systems where the fan may run in the event of a fire. Dynamic dampers are spring-loaded and close with and/or against the moving air. Lloyd Industries carries several dynamic dampers that are sure to fit your needs. 

Static Fire Dampers

Static dampers are placed in barriers where the HVAC system fan shuts off in the event of a fire. They are horizontal and have a curtain-like design. Lloyd Industries has several types of static dampers for all types of HVAC units.

Contractors will install a static or dynamic damper and other fire-prevention materials, including fire-resistant rated floors and/or walls and fire doors.

The History of the Fire Damper

In 1964, Air Balance invented the curtain blade fire damper, which would close off an opening at the sign of a fire. They provided an effective option for preventing the spread of fire at a reasonable cost and are now the industry standard when it comes to fire safety.

Are Fire Dampers Required?

Fire dampers are required in air-transfer openings. An air-transfer opening is an opening that is designed to allow the movement of air between two spaces. The International Building Code states that dampers must be installed in air movement systems. This ensures that those sheltering in place, exits, and exit access areas can remain safe during a fire emergency.

How Often Should Fire Dampers Be Inspected?

Your dampers should be inspected one year after installation and then every four years after that. Dampers don’t need to be replaced unless there is visible damage. If you aren’t sure when your dampers were installed, or you think they may need to be replaced, reach out to Lloyd Industries, and one of our local reps can provide a consultation for you.

Lloyd Industries & Fire Safety

Lloyd Industries has been in the HVAC business for over 35 years. The company’s commitment to providing safe, effective, and affordable dampers has made it a leading manufacturer in the business. In addition, Lloyd Industries is committed to providing exceptional service and products to everyone in need. 

Lloyd Industries has experienced local reps in every state that can provide maintenance on your equipment, offer consultations and quotes for upgrades or work that may be needed, and complete any necessary repairs. So, if you’ve been looking for a reputable company, look no further than Lloyd Industries.

Other Types of Fire Dampers

  • Smoke
  • Smoke & Fire
  • Air Control
  • Backdraft

Smoke Dampers

Smoke dampers work to slow down the spread of smoke throughout a space. Once smoke is detected, smoke dampers trigger the fire prevention system, which signals the smoke dampers to close. Once closed, smoke dampers prevent air from circulating, essentially trapping the smoke. Smoke dampers are installed at the intersection of smoke barriers.

Corridor Smoke & Fire Combination Dampers

This damper combo prevents the spread of smoke and fire in the ductwork of your HVAC unit in the event of an emergency. This combination damper contains any smoke and fire within your ductwork during a fire. They are installed near the floor or wall at the opening of the duct.

Air Control Damper

Air control dampers control the airflow in and out of a building. These dampers are crucial in buildings where hazardous materials, including gas and other fumes, are used. Air control dampers are also primarily used for spaces where the air temperature is inconsistent. If you’ve been in an office that is hot in one area, but you need a sweater in another area, air control dampers can help move some of the hot air into the colder area, making it a more even temperature throughout the building. 

There are two types of air control dampers:

  • Manual
  • Automatic 
Manual Air Control Dampers

Manual air control dampers have a lever that allows you to open or close the damper blades. These dampers are most commonly installed in chimneys. They are used to block the flow of air into a home and prevent small animals from entering your unit. For those who often use their fireplaces, they would open and close the damper manually. 

Automatic Air Control Dampers

Automatic air control dampers do not require any manual intervention. An automated system, such as a thermostat, is used to control these dampers. If you are looking to adjust your dampers, you can open them all, turn them on, note where they are distributing air, and adjust as needed. Make sure to write down your findings to reference them in the future.

Backdraft Dampers

A backdraft damper regulates airflow throughout your space, providing clean, healthy air. Lloyd Industries’ collection of backdraft dampers was built to move contaminated air out while preventing it from coming back inside. They are also used to eliminate unwanted odors, harmful fumes, and other vapors that could be potentially harmful.

Wondering if your building has fire dampers? If you can’t locate that information, reach out to one of the reps at Lloyd Industries, and they would be happy to come to take a look. Fire safety should always come first!