Air sampling - Aspirating smoke detectorAir sampling systems (otherwise known as Aspirating Smoke Detectors (ASD)) are one of the fastest and most effective ways of detecting a fire.

How do they work?

An air sampling system consists of a series of (usually) plastic pipes which are perforated with numerous tiny holes at specific intervals (defined by the system design software). The pipes are normally laid out at high level throughout the area(s) being protected, are all connected together and then lead back to a central detection unit; which in turn, is connected to the building’s fire alarm to alert appropriate personnel to the presence of a potential fire.

In most cases, an air sampling system’s central detection unit will contain a fan which draws air through the pipes and into a sampling chamber, where a sensor can identify the presence of smoke particles in the sample of air, by assessing whether a light beam has been scattered by any smoke particles.

This process is so effective that air sampling systems can even detect smoke before it is visible to the human eye.

Where would you use air sampling systems?

Air sampling systems (ASDs) are ideal for use in situations where the early detection of smoke is required such as places containing highly flammable materials, i.e. paper, chemicals, etc., in areas containing highly valuable or precious items or in situations where it is difficult to install, service and maintain more traditional fire detection devices such as in the top of lift shafts or high ceiling atriums.

Despite their effectiveness being down to their ability to detect particles of smoke in a sample of air, Aspiration systems are still suitable for use in dirty or even dusty environments – so long as the manufacturer’s design, installation and maintenance procedures are adhered to.

Another benefit of air sampling systems is their ability to be either hidden or unobtrusive in situations where traditional fire detection systems would spoil ‘the look’, such as in hotels, high end commercial offices, apartments or retail space.

This ability to be able to hide the pipe work also has benefits in places where normal smoke detectors could be damaged, removed or tampered with such as holding cells or correctional facilities.

Our fire safety specialists are always happy to discuss your requirements at the design stage and can then recommend the most appropriate system of protection for you and your budget.

If you would like to find out more about air aspirating systems, please contact our team on 01902 658822.