Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fire Safety and What you can do

I was going through our blogs earlier and noticed we've never mentioned fire safety and what you can do to fire-proof your home. Any time a power unit/collection canister is going to be installed in an attached garage/basement, it is important to determine whether there are fire resistance requirements to consider. If the central vacuum system is being installed in an existing home, it be best not to skimp and assume there are fire resistance requirements involved in the installation. This will protect lives, property and your liability in the event that a fire occurs. Sealing off where the vacuum comes through the wall is pretty straightforward. Although metal tubing is inherently heat resistant, care should be exercised to prevent putting a short section of metal tubing through the wall followed by connections of PVC pipe on either side. In the event of a fire, the PVC piping can melt and the fire can spread through the wall via the metal tubing in the wall. Normally, a firestop wrap strip or a firestop device known as a firestop collar is recommended during the installation of new piping. What a firestop strip is a thin, rubbery strips of material embedded with intumescent material. If you didn't know, an intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Firestop wrap strips can be wrapped around a pipe, secured with aluminum foil tape, and slid into the hole around the pipe, also known as the annulus, such that the exposed edge projects 1/4in from the wall surface. The space that remains between the wrap strip and the wall can be sealed with firestop chalk. When collars are used, the fasteners should always be steel. Do not use plastic or lead shields. In gypsum board walls, use steel hollow wall anchors in conjunction with steel fender washers. In concrete walls, use steel masonry screws with steel fender washers. Ensuring that the central vacuum system is installed properly is important, but the penetrations through walls intended to provide a measure of fire resistence can be equally important from a life and property safety perspective. Simple money and life saving techniques are here available to you, all you have to do is act on it. Professional installers should be aware of these requirements or if you're doing it yourself, then consult your local authority having juristication.

To purchase a firestop collars, visit our Installation Materials section on our website.
And if you have any questions don't hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-322-2965