Fire Damper Inspection: A Comprehensive Guide to Ensuring Safety and Compliance

Fire dampers play a critical role in the fire safety and functionality of HVAC systems in various building types, including hospitals, dormitories, and commercial establishments. Fire dampers are UL555 classified for installation in fire-rated walls, partitions and masonry/concrete floors.

With the correct damper and the proper installation, fire dampers like other life safety components of a building construction maintain a fire resistance compartments areas of refuge and means of egress out of a building during a fire event.

Fire dampers, like other life safety components in a building, require regular inspection and maintenance so when called upon to operate during a fire there wouldn’t be interference with its operation.


What is a Fire Damper?

Fire dampers are either a curtain type or multi-blade damper that is held open by a fusible link that when heated to its temperature rating releases the damper blades and the damper close to prevent the fire from spreading. Some fire dampers utilize an actuator (motor) to cycle the damper. With actuated dampers they utilize an Electronic Fuse Link (EFL) which when the temperature rises, the EFL disconnects the power to the actuator and the actuator spring closes the damper.

Fire Damper Inspection, Testing and Maintenance

Fire and combination fire smoke dampers are mandated to be inspected, tested and maintained by the International Fire Code. Chapter 7 “Fire and Smoke Protective Features” states that the inspection, testing and maintenance to be in accordance with NFPA 80 and NFPA 105.

NFPA 80 “Standard for Fire Door and Other Opening Protectives” and NFPA105 “Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives” describe the minimum requirements for these procedures. The procedures include who should do the inspection, testing and maintenance, operational tests, acceptance tests, and periodic tests, with each activity having its own specific code requirements. The requirements for testing and how tests are to be performed come from codes, standards, and the authority having jurisdiction.

Who Should Perform the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance?

The process of testing fire dampers is comprehensive and should be completed by a person who is qualified, knowledgeable, and understands the operation and design of the systems being worked upon. The usual tools used for this process are hands, although this may present certain risks and could be hard work.

Warning: If the damper(s) have closure springs, caution needs to be taken to ensure injury does not occur.

The video below is an example of a curtain type fire damper being cycled on the shop floor at United Enertech. In actuality these dampers are installed inside the HVAC duct system and the test is performed through an access door.

Image2 2023 07 11 175900 cssf

Fire Dampers Inspection and Testing Frequency

  • Each damper should be tested after installation.
  • Each damper shall be tested and inspected 1 year after installation.
  • The test and inspection frequency shall then be every 4 years, except in buildings containing a hospital, where the frequency shall be every 6 years.

Operational Test

  • Damper shall close from the fully open position.
  • Damper shall be reopened and the fuse link replaced.
  • All indicating devices shall be verified to work and report to the intended location.

How to Test Fire Dampers

The process of testing fire dampers is comprehensive and should be completed by a person who is qualified, knowledgeable, and understands the operation and design of the systems being worked upon. The usual tools used for this process are hands, although this may present certain risks and could be hard work.

The fire damper inspection and testing process should include:

Pre-inspection Work

Before actually testing the fire damper, the documentation and certificates should be reviewed. Prior to visually inspecting and testing the fire dampers, it is important to understand the building and its systems thoroughly. This includes reviewing the overall layout of the building, the damper locations, and quantities that will be inspected and tested, and the design intent of the dampers.

It's also crucial to understand if there are any systems which the dampers are installed in, that would be considered hazardous and need specialized personal protective equipment, tools, or resources. Each of these stages should include a fire damper inspection checklist.


During the actual inspection of the fire damper, the damper must be accessed through an access door and visually inspected for any issues. The fusible link is typically removed and inspected for any damage, paint, etc. If there are any doubts, the fusible link should be replaced with a new, equivalent link.

The fire damper is then manually activated and its performance noted. The fire damper must actuate properly and seal as designed. The fire damper can then be reset and the fusible link replaced.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires all documentation related to proving the inspection and testing of the dampers to include information such as the location of the damper, the date of inspection, the inspector's name, and any observations or deficiencies noted during the inspection.

Choose the Best in Fire Dampers with United Enertech

At United Enertech, we provide quality fire dampers designed to withstand the rigors of various environments and applications. Our fire dampers are UL-classified, to help ensure the best protection for your building and its occupants in the event of a fire.

Regular fire damper inspection and testing is a non-negotiable aspect of building safety. By understanding and following the guidelines for fire damper inspection, you can ensure your building stays safe and compliant. Remember, the goal is not just to pass an inspection, but to protect the building and its occupants from the devastating effects of a fire.

Do you need high-quality fire dampers for your building? Trust United Enertech for fire dampers that provide unrivaled protection. Contact our fire damper experts today to learn more about our fire damper solutions and how we can help you maintain the safety and integrity of your building!