Fog machines will not set off sprinkler systems. This is because heat is needed causing the melting of the sprinkler head. Once this is triggered the water will come down. A fog machine can not come up with the heat needed for this to happen. However, the fog fluids produced by fog machines can trigger a fire alarm having everyone run for the exits.
As a club promoter or someone planning to use a fog machine inside, you have to be prepared for anything. Will your fog machine set off the sprinkler system?
Whether you’re using a commercial fog machine or one of the many DIY versions online, it’s important to understand how they work and how to avoid setting off the fire alarm or sprinklers.
Can Fog Machines Set Off Sprinkler Systems?
The last thing you want while you are performing for a club is to set off the sprinkler systems because you are using a fog machine! Is this something you need to worry about? Actually, no, fog machines can not set off a sprinkler system because how the sprinkler system works is there is a sprinkler head, and it holds the system from spraying water.
The way that the sprinkler head starts spraying water is if the heat near the ceiling gets to a certain temperature. At that point any of the sprinkler heads that are in that area will open up, and down the water will rain.
Thankfully fog and haze machines do not set off these devices.
Does this mean we are in the clear when using fog machines? Not necessarily; let’s look at the next section about fire alarms.
Does Fog Machine Activate Fire Alarm?
Ionization Type Smoke Detectors
There are different types of smoke detectors, but the popular one is an ionization type which is set off by particles produced by fog. When these particles produced fly up in the air the smoke detector will wrongfully think this is smoke from a fire and because of this the fire alarm from the smoke detectors will sound.
The ionization type smoke detectors are the ones you probably have all over your home that go off every time your wife bakes cookies…oh wait that’s my house.
Temperature Type Smoke Detectors
These will not go off as they are triggered by heat, more like the sprinkler system above. Therefore fog is safe to use here without any worries.
Will Water-Based Fog Machines Set Off Fire Alarms?
Yes, both water and glycol fog fluids will set off smoke detectors. The optical sensor on the ionization type smoke detectors sees the smoke particles the same way.
With this said, there are ways to try and limit the chances of the alarm going off. Some people will use a low-lying fog machine that way the fog stays towards the ground and doesn’t rise up as high.
If the smoke alarms are on the ceiling the fog particles should never reach them. Do this at your own risk of course.
Another option is using more of a water-based haze machine and running it at about 50% of usual with the fog machine indoors this should keep the fog fluid from producing enough particles to set off a smoke alarm.
Some may even dilute fog fluid, they mix fog fluid with water, so it’s not as strong. Again, be very careful as if the smoke alarms start to sound, you will have the fire department at your door and possibly a fine on top of that.
Dry ice machines are much more expensive but will not set off anything since they are using carbon dioxide in solid form.
Will The Fire Alarm Trigger The Sprinkler System
No, the fire alarm will not trigger the fire sprinklers. This is not how the systems work as there can always be false alarms and we don’t want everything soaked with water.
However, if the fire sprinklers are triggered they will sound the alarms warning everyone to evacuate the area.
Steps When Using Fog Machine for A Show
- Contact the Venue – find out if the event wants you to use fog machines at your show.
- Ask them for permission, and get it in writing.
- Ask if they have smoke alarms you should be concerned about.
- You can always do a test run before the show and put the smoke alarm system in test mode.
- Always good to have insurance.
- Placing a call to the fire department ahead of time and letting them know you are going to be using smoke machines is always a good idea.
Does a Fog Machine Ruin Electronics
Fog machines do produce a coating that when the smoke particles settle can be one of two types of fog juice. If it was a glycol containing fog machine it would be more of an oil coating and if it was a water based fog machine it would be more of a water residue.
We go over this more in does fog machines leave a residue? A lot of people say no it won’t ruin electronics, however, prolonged usage can really add up and water and electronics do not mix so be very careful.
You may also want to check if the fog machine is safe to breathe.
Those liquid droplets suspended in the air have to come down eventually.
Fog Machine Fire FAQ
Make sure to do your research and find out if the venue even wants you to use a fog machine. If it’s a party or wedding ask the people it’s for if they want it, they may not.
Most people like the fog machines as it helps with great light shows but you may be able to save time and trouble if they don’t even want it to start. If they do make sure you won’t have everyone running to the exits as you start playing.
People also wondered if fog machines can ruin furniture. I think you will be surprised by this one!
Please be careful and use at your own risk
None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else connected with Wild Fog, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages.