Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hot Stuff

How did this Heat Detector Design
Get past the approving agencies?

Walk into almost any commercial building in fact many homes with a professionally installed hard wired Fire or combo Fire / Burglar system and you will find round white disks from 1 to 3 inches in diameter being used in the system for the detection of heat
From a fire were traditional Smoke Detectors can not be used with out going into constant false alarm There are well over several million plus of these disks made by many different manufacturers being used in the field they are not intended for use as Life safety Protection but they still serve a very important role of detecting a fire as early as possible. Some heat detectors are fixed temp like the 190o units used in a attic or kitchen or they also combine a rate of rise unit to detect a fast change of temperature in a room generally 15o in 5 minutes time.
But recently while servicing a number of fire systems I have taken the contract over on and recently even finding brand new detectors were the terminal strip has popped off the heat detector and a trouble signal has never sounded at the panel, which it should to warn the heat detector has malfunctioned. The only way you would find this problem is with the annual inspection in which many cases if a system ever gets checked after it is installed you are lucky.
The problem is the way the terminal strip is attached to the heat detector both the incoming and out going wires are on the same brass strip which is attached by way of a rivet and when either the rivet is not properly spread when the unit is made which I found on several brand new units or when the installer puts too big a wire or too much torque the strip pops off and the in coming and outgoing wire strip terminal is left dangling off the detector and no signal is sent because electrical circuit is still being maintained.
I have also seen this design on some older smoke detectors as well, which is bad news.
There could be thousands of heat detectors all over the country not providing protection.
Some Fire Professionals will tell you heats serve no real purpose they take to long to trigger but I have seen them operate and activate fire alarms several times now in industrial environments and in residential and commercial garages after all do not most sprinkler heads operate by heat.
So here’s the problem this is a known problem with in the industry it has been brought to the attention of those who design and approve yet nothing has been done. Some company's have come out with a new heat design but you can still walk into any supply house and for around $10.00 buy as many of these units with a design flaw as you like.
With all of the code changes now in the works this simple flaw has still yet to be addressed and is still an on going concern.
How many deaths and how many lawsuits is it going to take against all involved till they get it right. With codes. Iam afraid it is still going to be a long time since the new UCC is still receiving a D- for implementation and enforcement.
Once again Pa will lead in firefighter and civilian deaths this year. I am getting tired of it what about you.

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