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Can Your Fire Detection System Smell Smoke?

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The best fire sprinkler system in the world is one that never has to be used. This is because if your system is connected to an appropriate smoke detection system, you should be able to detect any problems before they become a major event in which your fire sprinkler will be activated. The key to the success of this plan is to have a fire detection system installed that will be able to not only discern smoke at the earliest levels, but will also be able to differentiate smoke from dust, as well as other air particles that can trigger false alarms. You can find this with an air sampling smoke detection system.

What Is An Air Sampling Smoke Detection System?

An Air Sampling Smoke Detection System (ASSD) or an Aspirating Smoke Detector (ASD), operates by drawing air through a central detection unit. This air is drawn out of your protected air through a network of pipes that have holes drilled in them. Once the air reaches the sampling chamber, it is analyzed by a nephelometer.

The nephelometer operates by measuring particle density within your air sampling by using a light detector. The detector can be calibrated to recognize the shape, color, and reflectivity of the particle it is detecting for, or in this case, smoke. This technology allows your ASSD to detect smoke at even minimal levels and send out alerts accordingly. Nephelometers are nothing new. They have been used for years to measure air quality, visibility, pollution and climate changes. 

What Is The Ideal Environment For An Air Sampling Smoke Detection System?

Most other types of passive detection systems often depend on the smoke rising to reach the detectors which are most often mounted at ceiling level. This often makes smoke detection difficult in areas with very high ceilings. Because of this, these types of monitors often do not detect smoke until it has reached a high enough concentration to either be seen or smelled. Often the smoke particles do not reach the detectors until it is too late, and the fire is already in process. This is not the case with an ASSD.

The pipes drawing the air samples into the ASSD can be located at much lower levels within your environment. This provides air samples from various levels, allowing the nephelometer to detect smoke long before it is smelled or seen. This allows the system to send out alerts, which will allow you to help to identify any problems, such as a simple act of overheating, before there is a full-blown fire.

Because of the calibration ability of an ASSD, other particle matter, such as dust, can be screened out that would normally create false readings on other types of detectors, which makes this the perfect type of system to be used in high dust areas such as warehouses or other rooms in a manufacturing environment.

An ASSD can be programmed at a wide range of sensitivity levels. It can be thousands of times more sensitive to, or even less sensitive than, a conventional detector. This makes it the perfect system to use no matter how clean, or how dirty, your environment is. Because of this ability to make it highly more sensitive, it becomes the perfect detector to be used around computer equipment. It will be able to detect any equipment that is becoming too warm, which will allow you to intervene and cool the equipment before you have a fire or before you lose your files and data.

By building the detection system using a series of pipes instead of one centrally located monitoring unit, the ASSD is less tamper proof than a traditional system. This makes it the perfect system to be used in schools, correctional facility, or even in non-smoking public spaces, where traditional detectors are often sabotaged and disconnected. While no fire detection system is perfect, one that gives you a heads up before you have a major problem, hopefully will keep you from ever having to use your fire sprinkler system.