Fire safety should always be taken seriously, especially in commercial buildings. Whether you own a store, an office building, a warehouse, or even a recreation center, it’s important to keep fire safety in mind when designing and maintaining your HVAC system. Having your HVAC equipment installed and repaired by qualified, commercial HVAC mechanical contractors is a good first step. However, there are also some duct-related fire safety practices you should be aware of.

Wire Smoke Exhaust Fans Directly to the Fire Alarm

Smoke exhaust fans are an important part of your commercial HVAC system. They should be ducted to the outdoors so they can effectively extract smoke from the building if there is a fire. You should also make sure the exhaust fan itself is wired directly to the fire alarm. This way, if the fire alarm goes off, the smoke exhaust fan will turn on automatically. Your HVAC contractor can check on this for you. If the fan does need to be re-wired, that’s a rather simple job for them to complete.

Zone HVAC Systems and Smoke Control Systems Together

If you’re setting up HVAC zones in a new building or dedicating new zones in an existing building, this is an important guideline to keep in mind. Essentially, you want your HVAC zones and your smoke control zones to be the same. This will reduce the number of smoke dampers you need, and it will also help prevent smoky air from circulating so broadly through the building if there is a fire.

If you think your HVAC zones and smoke control zones may not be the same, check with your commercial HVAC maintenance contractor. They can give you an idea of how much duct work they’d have to re-run to address this. Often, it’s worth making the change to improve fire safety.

Make Sure Dampers Are Functional

Your HVAC ducts should have dampers that close in case of a fire. This keeps smoke from traveling through the duct system. You should have your HVAC contractor check to be sure these dampers are both present and functional. If a damper is not working, it’s usually not to hard to replace.

Also note that most building codes require smoke dampers when ducts penetrate through firewalls. So, if you discover one of these dampers is missing, you really will want to have on added to bring your building up to code.

In a commercial building, it’s important to always keep fire safety in the forefront. If you’re looking for an HVAC company to look over your system and make fire-safe improvements to the ducts, contact H & H Commercial Services. We install and service commercial rooftop HVAC units, offer AC maintenance contracts, and so much more.