Fire Dampers and Smoke Dampers


SCI provides fire and smoke damper inspections per code requirements so your facility remains in compliance with local and state building codes and standards.

Fire and fire/smoke dampers are used in HVAC ducts to prevent the spread of fire inside the ductwork penetrating through fire-resistance rated walls and floors. Smoke dampers are similar to fire dampers in fire resistance rating, and also prevent the spread of smoke inside the ducts.

When a rise in temperature occurs, the fire damper closes, usually activated by a thermal element that melts at temperatures higher than ambient, but low enough to indicate the presence of a fire, allowing the damper blades to close. Fire/smoke and smoke dampers can also close following receipt of an electrical signal from a fire alarm system utilizing detectors remote from the damper, indicating the sensing of heat or smoke in the building occupied spaces or in the HVAC duct system. 

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80 Requirements 

According to NFPA 80, a fire damper is defined as:

  • A device installed in an air distribution system, designed to close automatically upon detection of heat, to interrupt migratory airflow and to restrict the passage of flame.

According to NFPA 80, a smoke damper is defined as:

  • A device within an operating (dynamic) air system to control the movement of smoke.

According to NFPA 80, a combination fire/smoke damper is:

  • A device that meets both the fire damper and smoke damper requirements.

We inspect and test your dampers to ensure it is fully closed, latch is checked and moving parts are lubricated. If we find that a repair is necessary to pass inspection, we can easily make the repair so your system operates properly.

  • If there are reports of changes in airflow or noise from the duct system, is it important to have this inspected to be sure this is not due to a damper failure.
  • Fire dampers, smoke dampers and combination fire/smoke dampers are inspected 1 year after installation for all facilities, and then every 4 years thereafter in non-healthcare facilities, and every 6 years in hospitals. However, in some instances (such as in Houston), the AHJ may have a stricter timeline and should be followed.