The testing and maintenance of fire dampers is not a new idea. However, more and more Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s) and building maintenance management teams are requiring fire dampers be acceptance tested and maintained on a regular basis. The reason for this requirement is a greater awareness of the life and property protection capabilities of the dampers; along with increasingly stringent maintenance standards from NFPA.
Review all test procedures, schedules and required reporting information with appropriate AHJ before establishing and conducting testing programs.
The units need to be visually examined by maintenance management team on a regular schedule to assure:
Tracks are clear of debris and rust.
Tracks have not been damaged in any way during maintenance or building settlement.
Moving parts have proper lubrication (silicone is usually recommended, not petroleum based)
Some times just a few “sample” dampers are tested; other testing standards require that all the devices installed in a building be tested (at least every 3 – 5 years).
Manual testing involves removing a fusible link and letting the blades close. If it closes COMPLETELY , it is reopened and the fusible link replaced.
Dynamic fire dampers are becoming more popular because they have been proven reliable and are, now, required by many building codes, if the HVAC system is designed to operate with fans on during a fire. Building designers and contractors should be encouraged, or directed, to provide appropriate motor operators and interfaces to the fire alarm system to activate these dampers, since air flow must be maintained across the during operation of the units.
Maintenance Services personnel should maintain an orderly, permanent record of the location of all devices and the periodic tests conducted.