FAQ: Paint Booth Fire Suppression

This installment in our “Services FAQ” series addresses our customers’ most common questions concerning industrial paint booth fire suppression systems.  From auto body shops to manufacturing facilities,  the buildings that include these booths require special fire suppression to be properly protected.  Here are some answers that address the specifics:

Q: At what temperature will my fire suppression system discharge?

A: Mechanical or electrical fixed temperature detectors are positioned within the protected area, depending on your specific need. A typical temperature discharge range is anywhere from 212 up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature range of the booth should be taken during operation to determine the booth’s ambient temperature range, which would then be used to decide what actuation temperature would best suit your paint booth’s needs. In a heated booth, a hotter actuation temperature would be used.

Q: How often does my paint booth suppression system need inspected?

A: Every six months.

Q: Is there a time delay before the system discharges?

A: Yes, the system has a time delay to allow the exhaust fan to shut down before the suppression agent discharges and to give anyone inside the booth time to evacuate.

Q: Why are we required to have a suppression system when we use water-based paints?

A:  There are still other hazards present.  Even though the paint, when wet, will not burn, the dry paint dust can.  When it lingers due to dirty filters or impairments to the exhaust system, there is potential for fire.  For example, the fan bearings can fail, causing overheating or sparking that can set the dry paint dust on fire.

There are other concerns in addition to the paint itself.  When the booth is set to bake, any flammables unintentionally left in booth– such as solvents with low flash points– are apt to burn in heat.  If a vehicle is being painted, it can be a hazard as well.  In most cases the vehicle has both gas and a connected battery inside it.  This introduces the potential of an electric fire.  If there is an issue while the car is baking, no one will know until they see fire spreading or hear the suppression discharge bell because all personnel left the booth prior to baking.