Fog machines are a terrific way to add a lovely touch to your lights and enhance any occasion. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As a result, determining whether a fog or smoke machine would activate a fire alarm or smoke detector is frequently challenging.
Fog machines, in general, will set off fire alarms because most systems sense particles rather than heat. Fogs, smoke, and haze will trigger smoke detectors. Using a low-lying fog machine or changing the detectors to heat sensors is the only method to avoid setting off the alarm.
In our guide, you can find out more about does a fog machine set off smoke alarms. By the end, you’ll find out if it’s possible how to not set off smoke alarm with fog machine. In addition, you’ll see that adding food coloring to your fog fluid does little apart from possibly damaging your fog machine. (Read Can You Unplug A Hard Wired Smoke Detector)
Can Fog Machines Be Used Indoors?
Here you can find the more common type of fog machines and smoke detection systems that could be triggered.
These machines create a low-lying fog to produce a “walk on clouds” impression.
They’re a big hit on Halloween and wedding receptions. They produce a substantial plume of smoke that settles on the ground. A dry ice or liquid CO2 cooler is used in this equipment.
Smoke Machine or Fogger:
Even at height, a fogger will generate thick smoke covering the entire room. They’re very common at parties and clubs. They are less expensive than most. Remember, the two terms are interchangeable.
The vast majority of fog machines now on the market are water-based. This phrase refers to fog chemicals that are water-miscible; most of these fluids are made up of glycols and glycerol.
Water-based fog machines are typically simple to operate using a pump or a pressurized fog canister.
The fog produced by a water-based fog machine varies depending on the fogging chemical employed. Propylene Glycol, for example, is one of the least persistent effects, but glycerol is one of the most persistent.
It is recommended to use the fog chemical Glycerol, where dense concentrations of fog are required. While glycol-based fog fluids produce a thick white fog, they are not cost-effective since the resulting fog disperses rapidly.
A haze machine set will create a haze through an entire room. Haze machines are oil- or water-based and produce something less dense than fog machines. You won’t see the haze, yet the haze has a dramatic effect on lights and lasers.
Haze is a finer, more even mist that is pushed out softly, making it excellent for film production and situations where more considerable fog is not acceptable or distracting from the desired image. It is used in stage and theatre and employs a vegetable oil-based liquid.
Foggers are more common in nightclubs and rock events where noise isn’t as much of an issue.
While a haze machine produces a fine mist in a regulated manner, a common fogger produces a gaseous output that whooshes out like thick fog when the fog fluid hits a heater block.
A fazer is a fogger that uses the same technology as a hazer to produce an equal mist using common water-based fog juice.
All these machines deliver a cool output, except for the nozzle area, which can be warmer (hot).
It is the thickness of the effect and spreadability that distinguishes such machines regarding setting off any fire alarms:
Ionization Type Smoke Detectors:
They have a continuous electrical current and a small amount of radioactive material running between two electrically charged plates, which is disrupted if smoke enters.
If there are enough small particles in the device from the fog effect, it will be activated. Even fog particles are enough to trigger these machines. (Learn How To Dispose Of Fireplace Ashes)
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms.
Ionization detectors are very similar to a fire alarm or smoke detector. The particles will stop a beam of light in the apparatus from fog machines.
When the receiver no longer receives the light, the alarm is triggered.
As the name says, it sets off when the temperature rises too high. Smoke particles produced have no effect on them.
Note: Sprinkler systems will only be set off from heat and not just because there is a thick fog effect in the room.
Detects carbon monoxide, which is produced by fires. Random particles do not set them off.
Then you can use any mix of the systems mentioned above, each with its own set of triggering criteria.
As you may have seen, the capacity to be triggered by particles is the fundamental difference between sensors.
Fog machines and haze machines will trigger ionization and photoelectric detectors because they are particles.
Haze machines have smaller particles and will send off alarms less frequently. Low fog machines will not allow particulates to enter the detectors because most of them are located at a height. Therefore, they are much less likely to cause a fire alarm system to go off.
Can Water-Based Haze Set Off Fire Alarms?
Yes, smoke detectors are triggered by water-based hazers. As far as an optical sensor can tell, there is no difference between water-based and oil-based so that it can set off smoke detectors.
That stated, it all relies on how much haze you pump out, which is directly proportional to the room’s airflow.
Suppose it’s cold outside and the building has an antiquated thermostat-only HVAC system. In that case, there may not be enough airflow for the haze to disperse uniformly throughout the room despite the haze machine’s low volume.
Suppose you have a freshly refurbished facility with CO2 detection. In that case, the machine will occasionally burp or strongly flush outside air into the room, purging all haze, requiring you to keep the machine on longer at a higher setting, resulting in uneven haze coverage and a higher chance of a sensor triggering.
It is a common question of how to use fog machine without setting off fire alarm.
You can find out that smoke detectors are unnecessary to be turned on during a performance, according to NFPA regulations.
It’s not advised to disable a fire alarm, but it can be. Contact a local fire marshal and ensure they are aware of what you are doing.
For example, you may be denied if you can’t switch off the alarm by room but only globally.
The critical thing is to have methods in place that can warn you and the local fire department in case of a fire.
You’ll often find this is electronic smoke detectors, yet you can use humans as your “smoke detectors” during a performance. (Learn How To Clean Unreachable Windows)
No matter which way you go about it, it is best to check with your local fire department for their stance on the use of smoke machines and if you can disable your smoke alarms.
If you see colored fog, it’s not from your fog juice and isn’t a false alarm. However, you have a problem, and you risk toxic fumes that you may breathe in as you get out.