A Guide on How Smoke Vents Work


One of the effective ways to protect your building is to install quality and reliable smoke vents. It provides various benefits such as safety and comfort for your occupants. It helps in saving and assisting lives in times of disaster while keeping your building from collapsing. Moreover, it is part of the building requirements that you must meet to get a legal permit.

The smoke ventilation systems can release any or hot air from the building, and it is beneficial in times of fire. It keeps the cool air inside the building to maintain a comfortable temperature at all times. These are the benefits that you could get from installing the right smoke vent system:

  • They reduce smoke and heat damage against fire hazards.
  • They help in lowering smoke inhalation from all escape routes.
  • They improve visibility and reveals the source of the smoke to firefighters.
  • They delay the flashover of the building.

How does smoke vents work?

Smoke vents are openings of a building that offer an escape route for harmful smoke and hot air. It includes windows, skylights, or just a simple air vent. However, they offer manual operation that could be a hassle and almost impossible in accidents and crises. It is why most commercial buildings such as hotels, malls, underground car parks, and apartment complexes use automatic ones to work as soon as it detects a rapid temperature rise.

Here are the two types of vents that work for specific purposes:

  1. Smoke Clearance Ventilation System

If you own or are working on a large building like condominiums, apartments, and hotels, it is ideal for installing a smoke clearance ventilation system. Usually, it is fitted to install in the corridors of these buildings to assist people. It helps by letting the smoke out of the building clear the long pathways and the building’s fire escape routes.

  1. Life Safety Ventilation System

If you want to protect people and assist them in escaping a burning building, it is wise to install a life safety ventilation system. It is mostly fitted with commercial buildings such as shopping centres, warehouses, and even public buildings where many random people enter. Even if the escape routes are far from the building’s main attraction, it vents out harmful smoke out of the building to maintain clean air for everyone.

Moreover, knowing the type of opening of a vent is essential when deciding which one to use. Here are some of the cover types:

  1. Smoke vents that have a manual operation are ideal for rooftops where you need fire protection and security at the same time.
  2. It is ideal for theatre applications to install a winch as you can rig them down the stage floor to crank them close to the doors.
  3. It is one of the most recent smoke vents where the cover automatically opens when exposed to a specific temperature rise.
  4. If you want a vent that is convenient to use with open/close push buttons, this one is for you. It also has an electrical relay that connects to the fire-alarm.

What buildings need smoke vent systems?

All buildings need to pass specific certifications to consider the legal and functioning. One of the main requirements to secure the occupants’ welfare and safety is installing a proper smoke vent system. If these buildings do not have it, it would be against the law, and the owner suffers from some sanctions.

As a guide, here is the list of buildings that requires smoke vents:

  • Large factories
  • Storage buildings such as warehouses
  • Large commercial shops
  • Market places
  • Condominiums
  • Apartment Complexes
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Prisons
  • Underground car parks
  • Any building that has travel distance exceeding the Approved Document B

To install the right one, make sure to coordinate with professional contractors. It is also vital to find the right quality of smoke vents you will install from a reliable company.

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