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
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.
I'm not from the US. Here you can buy them from the Radiospares
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
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.
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.
I can't agree with this. You're right, of course, that anything that burns
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
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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.
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.
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.
Old computers are getting to be a lost art. Here at Uncreative Labs, we
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!
===========================Caveat to Yankee carpetbaggers:
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.
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.
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
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