Air Plenum uses the knowledge we've gained as the leader in data center sealing to eliminate leaks in building stairwells, helping our clients to meet critical pressurization requirements.
A Building Fire.
Danger comes not only from the fire, but from smoke and toxic fumes. Building stairwells are the way out; air inside this space is critical and must remain safe to breathe through an emergency evacuation. Stairwell doors remain open until everyone is out, making it difficult or impossible to prevent smoke from entering.
Stack effect occurs naturally in building stairwells. It’s always there, and it’s stronger in colder winter weather. It causes air from inside the building or from outside the “building envelope” to be drawn into the stairwell through doorways and other openings, allowing air flow through the stairwell. Differences in the pressure levels and temperatures inside the stairwell increase this air movement and the volume of air entering, much like the action of a chimney. During a fire, stack effect unchecked can draw smoke into the stairwell.
Stairwell pressurization counteracts stack effect to help prevent smoke and fire from entering. Typically, large fans located at the top or bottom of the stairwell enclosure draw in clean air from the outside. If a fire occurs, the higher air pressure in the stairwell should prevent the smoke, toxic vapors and fire from entering, allowing people to evacuate safely.
Each time a stairwell door is opened, the escape of pressurized air is hastened. In a building fire, open doors are not the only problem. Cracks, seams and various types of penetrations in stairwell walls leak pressurized air and are entry points for smoke. This means that the fans will not be able to provide enough airflow to counteract the stack effect – much like trying to keep a leaky balloon inflated. Leaks are safety risks and energy robbers. They can make it impossible to overcome the stack effect to meet NFPA pressure requirements.
Air Plenum Will Help You.
Air Plenum specializes in sealing open wall penetrations to maintain the necessary level of stairwell pressurization to improve fire safety, while lowering your costs. Contact Air Plenum to arrange a stairwell infrastructure evaluation that will find unsafe and costly perimeter openings in your building stairwells.