Fire/smooke detection in the shop


What are the recommendations for smoke/heat detectors to detect fire in a shop? Won't standard smoke detectors collect a lot of dust and malfunction?
Ideally, I would interconnect the detectors in the shop with the ones in the house so I know about a fire when I am not out there.
Brian Elfert
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Brian Elfert wrote:

Nothing to clog with dust. Only disadvantage is that you need more of them.
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Are heat detectors available at places like Home Depot, or do I need to go with a full alarm system like a commercial building?
Brian Elfert
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Brian Elfert wrote:

catalogue or from one of the big electrical wholesale chains. Electrically they are just a N/C snap action switch which will work with any alarm controller, even the cheap domestic ones. Commercially these detectors are wired with high temperature cable specially made for the purpose. The contacs usually open at about 140C, this is the disadvantage of these sensors, the fire has to be well away before it is detected. I once worked in a building with pnuematic fire sensors. The sensors were sensitive to rate of temperature rise as well as to temperature. Chubb make a neat industrial fire sensor which combines optical rayleigh scattering smoke detection, temperature and rate of temperature rise detection and a microcomputer which is interrogated by a central control unit. If you want the best then something like this would be the way to go
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writes:

Don't even waste your money on them Brian. They're a fear factor device and serve no real function. Anything that's going to burn in your garage is going to generate smoke. The smoke detectors will provide all of the warning you'll ever need. Heat detectors have long been the biggest scam to play on the fears of people.
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Won't the dust in a shop wreck regular smoke detectors?
I'm prefectly willing to go out and buy a smoke detector that matches the ones in my house if they will work.
Brian Elfert
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writes:

I've had mine up for around 10 years and they still work. Mind you - my "shop" is also an autobody shop at times, paint booth, wood shop, and once in a while it's actually a garage. I blow everything off with a air hose from time to time due to the overspray that gets everywhere no matter how I hang plastic, and so far I haven't had any problems with my detectors. I was a fire fighter and a paramedic for 12 years so we do test our detectors once a year, and I know mine work.
I've seen a few things here that I often believed fell into the realm of urban legend over time. Some of them proved to be true and I was simply uninformed. Some of the others proved to be genuine urban legend (see the threads on dust collector explosions...). In this case I can't tell you that others may not have had problems that they attributed to dust. All I can tell you is what my environment is and that I have not had a problem. YMMV. One thing to remember is that your smoke detector need not be located in your heavy dust areas. Locate it out of the way. It's going to detect any smoke plenty early enough no matter where you put it in a garage. Think about where you have them located in your house and how effective they are at sniffing out smoke.
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will set off a smoke detector -- but you're overlooking the fact that airborne dust can set off a smoke detector, too, but will *not* set off a heat detector.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I think that depends on the type of smoke detector doesn't it Doug? Opticals, I could see getting fooled, but not ionization (?) types. I've never set mine off with dust or overspray and that's about all of the experience I can go on with respect to dust.
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Mount a smoke detector just outside the shop door and connected with the others in the house. Vacuum it off once a month. No compressed air. Keep the shop door closed whenever possible. I dont know about heat detectors. Tom

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The shop will be a dedicated building seperate from my house. I don't know any reason why I couldn't extend the smoke alarm circuit from my house to get interconnected if I wanted.
Brian Elfert
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I say go with VESDA. Active smoke detection system. State of the art stuff there. No fooling it with dust. Should only cost you about $15K.
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Got some neighboorhood kids that need a job? Just pay them to watch for smoke in the shop. Give them a ping-pong paddle to deflect any kickbacks that might come their way.
As long as we're going with stupid/too pricey solutions, I thought I'd offer mine up.
Puckdropper
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My alarm system installers and designers agreed that smoke detectors would not be in their best environment in my shop so they utilized a heat detector that would alert me to any potential fire problem. So far the system has worked fine. Recently I had to work on some Coleman lanterns and they gave off quite a bit of smoke; was glad I didn't have a smoke detector installed so I guess it also would depend on what type of thing you do in your shop. My 2 cents!

If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.
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By chance - what did your heat detectors cost compared to smoke detectors? I've been thinking about the comment I made to Brian and it occurs to me that the price on heat detectors may well have come down a lot - making them a reasonable alternative. It wasn't that long ago that they were in orbit and they just weren't worth the price. The way technology drives prices down and the way the products often get targeted will also drive prices down. I might still go with smoke detectors because they will alert to smoldering conditions that heat detectors may not, but if the price has come down to a reasonable level, I would have to retract at least the emphasis I placed on my first post to Brian.
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How about a heat activated sprinkler head and a water alarm on the floor under it? :-)
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wrote:

When me moved to this house I ended up with a smoke alarm at one end of the basement shop. I really thought it was going to be a problem with the dust. It's gone off cutting through knotty pine on the tablesaw. It's gone off when I asked my lil underpowered 9" bandsaw to cut through 1.5" of hard maple (3 times). It's never gone off from sanding, though I make it a point to do that at the opposite end of the shop.
-Leuf
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