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Compliance   •   Installations   •   Commissioning
Fire Dampers
Inspection, Installation and Testing
Closed Fire Damper
Open Fire Damper

Please use the following information as a guideline for the standards of your facilities. (From the NFPA Code books)

"There are many standards that govern the need for and inspection of fire and fire/smoke dampers such as NFPA 101, NFPA 90A, NFPA 80, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Code of Ordinance/Title Eight:-Fire Prevention (chapter 802). Please use the following information as your basic guide to establish how many dampers and at what interval you may need these inspections. 


NFPA codes generate the need for fire damper inspection, but some facilities may be required by their insurance providers as well.  A good rule of thumb, if the constructions of the walls are fire rated, ducts passing through should have fire dampers. All floor penetrations and floor supply/return out of duct chases should have fire dampers. 


NFPA 90A (99), Sec. 3-4.7 requires that fire and smoke dampers undergo maintenance at least every 4 years to include:

• Operation of the dampers to ensure that they fully close

• Removal of fusible links (where applicable)

• A check of latches, if provided

• Lubrication of all moving parts as necessary.


To test these dampers a duct access should be installed. It’s next to impossible to properly maintain your fire and smoke dampers unless you have adequate access to them. To that end, NFPA 90A requires that service openings be provided in air ducts adjacent to each damper [see Sec. 2-3.4.1]. Obviously, the openings need to be conveniently located and large enough to allow for maintenance and resetting of the devices. It’s important to note, rarely are the existing accesses adequate for inspections.


While no specifics are spelled out in the standard, NFPA 90A (99), Sec. A-2-3.4.1 offers the following guidance relating to service openings:

• Where the size of the duct permits, access doors should be at least 18 inches x 16 inches in size.

• Where fire dampers are too large to allow them to be reset and the fusible link replaced from outside the duct, the access doors should be increased to at least 24 inches x 16 inches in size to allow a person to enter the duct.

• The doors for fire dampers should be located so that the spring catch and fusible links are

accessible when the damper is closed.

• The doors should be located as close as practicable to the dampers.

• It’s recommended that access doors be located on the underside of ducts rather than on the side.

Other things to keep in mind….

• NFPA 90A (99), Sec. 2-3.4.2 requires that service openings be identified with letters at least ½ inch in height indicating the location of the damper within.

• While inspection windows are allowed in air ducts (so long as they’re glazed with wired glass), they do not replace the required access doors [see NFPA 90A (99), Sec. 2-3.4.4].

• Openings need to be provided in walls or ceilings to allow for access to the service openings in your air ducts

[see NFPA 90A (99), Sec. 2-3.4.5]."

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