Vents, special (Fire, Freeze, etc)


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31 minutes ago, Joe_Carrick said:

Depending on the area (Fire Danger, Possible Freeze, etc) foundation and attic vents may need to be auto closing  How do you handle those conditions?


It would be great if there were Symbols for those specific types of Vents. 

Can't remember if they have CAD or just PDF details, but they do have details :

Vulcan Vent Website

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Many ways to deal with some of these scenarios but a couple things we do from time to time...

  1. Actuated dampers (normally open or normally closed depending on the situation) with pressure, current, humidity, or temperature switches and related relays.
  2. To deal with cold air (specially for foundation or more inverted P-traps.  Cold air falls to the bottom of the P-trap and keeps air from freely flowing until negative pressure caused by the ventilation equipment or appliances overpowers the affect. 
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Just now, Joe_Carrick said:

So basically in terms of the ConDocs you simply specify these things and don't worry about the actual vent symbols having any special intelligence built-in.


For our purposes, yes.   We don’t typically use equipment that is specifically designed for those various purposes. We use parts and pieces (actuated damper, appropriate swtch(es) and relay(s), piping, ducting,  roof and wall caps, etc.) and make them work for those purposes.  

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Quick example... this one damper could be used for almost any of the above scenarios along with the proper switches and relays...


We’ve used it quite a bit, just switching it from normally open to normally closed depending on the scenario. 

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Here in Southern California we have both "Wild Fire Requirements" as well as mountain areas where the temperature can get well below freezing.  That means we need to be able to:

  • Prevent embers & excessive temperatures from entering attics and foundation crawl spaces, both of which must be ventilated.
  • Prevent freezing temperatures from getting into these areas which might cause pipes to burst as well as causing cold floors, etc.

The Vulcan products work very well for the "Wild Fire Requirements" and are relatively inexpensive.  Once activated they have to be replaced but at least they drastically reduce the potential for the structure to be lost.


Self closing Vents (temperature activated by thermo-springs) are needed for crawl spaces in the mountains (anything above 3000 ft elevation).  These are quite a bit more expensive.  Unfortunately, the Vulcan products do not satisfy that so in many cases we need a combination.  


When I have a project that needs both types of protection I have to detail a dual vent installation with the "Self Closing Vent" a couple of inches inside the "Vulcan Vent".


IAE, I really wish there was a combination unit.  Maybe I should apply for a patent. ;)

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