What Should You Know about Fire and Smoke Damper Actuators



When designing an HVAC system, nothing is more important than the safety of the building and its occupants. If a fire breaks out, you want your system to help contain and suppress it as much as possible. Fire and smoke dampers seal off ductwork and ventilation areas when they detect dangerous conditions from fire or smoke in a room. This prevents the danger from spreading through the HVAC system to other areas of the building.

There are three types of dampers: 

  • Fire dampers: once heat rises to a temperature of 165 degrees F, a link holding the damper open will melt and the fireproof damper will close.
  • Smoke dampers: if smoke is detected, a signal will trigger an actuator to open and close damper blades appropriately. 
  • Combination fire and smoke damper: this device can be triggered by either heat or smoke. Often, the operator can set and reset a heat limit. 
Smoke and Fire Dampers


For smoke and combination dampers, the actuator is a key component for the system to function properly. Available in both pneumatic and electric options, these actuators act immediately to control air flow as soon as emergency conditions are met.


Belimo produces a range of actuators to fit any project’s need. They are built with the highest safety standards in mind, and they exceed required building codes. They have also been tested with all major damper manufacturers, so they can be used in a variety of systems.


Because dampers are installed in the ductwork, they can sometimes go unnoticed if they fail. That’s why frequent inspections are essential to keeping a system in good health.

Belimo has noted that the top ten most common reasons dampers fail are:

  • Screw in the track
  • Linkage out of alignment or broken
  • Bound in tracks (racking)
  • Damper rusted
  • Damper propped open
  • Defective electric actuator
  • No air to the actuator
  • Not enough air to the actuator
  • No power to the actuator
  • No power wired to the actuator

Your routine inspections should keep an eye out for these points of failure and address them immediately. Belimo also offers free online training so you can be confident of your knowledge with these devices.

At Boston Aircontrols, we believe Belimo offers some of the best and most advanced fire suppression technology available for HVAC. As a Platinum-level distributor, we are experts on all of their projects, and we love to share our knowledge with our customers so they can build the safest and most energy-efficient possible.

Click here to learn more about Fire and Smoke Damper safety and maintenance or shop our actuator products now!

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