Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are Your Aerosol Smoke Testers EPA Compliant

Smoke detector testing with aerosol

Seeing as smoke detector testing is a code mandated requirement to remain compliant, I will assume we all aware of aerosol smoke detector testing cans.  If not, these are the small cans of artificial smoke that utilize different types of propellants for the purpose of testing..... You guessed it, Smoke Detectors.  There is an important change on the horizon due to the EPA's "Significant New Alternatives Policy" or SNAP for short.   As of December 31, 2017, aerosol smoke detector testers that utilize HFC-134a as their propellant will no longer be manufactured.  

What do we do now?

Do not panic.  The rapidly approaching date of December 31, 2017 does not have any bearing on the physical use of smoke detector testers with the propellant HFC-134a as this is NOT a ban.  In fact the EPA has granted some manufacturers such as SDi Specialized Fire Products an UNLIMITED "sell-through" period for any and all existing stock.  The SOLO A4 Smoke Detector Tester will continue to be sold until its anticipated exhaustion date of late 2018.

Are there other products without HFC-134a available now?

The answer is yes.  For simple smoke detector tester can replacements to the Solo A4, we can recommend the three following products:

  • The Smoke Sabre Smoke Detector Tester.  This product has been available since 2009, is approved by NFPA and contains absolutely no HFC-134a making it EPA Rule 20 compliant.  This product comes in a cut above the competition as it is silicone FREE.  The lack of silicone eliminates the concern of contamination and plastic compatibility.
  •   The Smoke Centurion - This product is exactly like the Smoke Sabre, however it can be used as a hand held unit or in conjunction with the SOLO 330 aerosol dispenser.
  • HFC-134a free smoke detector tester
    SDi Smoke Centurion Aerosol Smoke Tester
  • The new SOLO A10 (from what I have heard, should be available some time September 2017).  This unit was developed in partnership with Honeywell and utilizes their Solstice ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) propellant which is also non-flammable, HFC-134a and silicone free.  This unit will be available in two convenient sizes.   

Solo 365 Smoke Detector Tester
SDi SOLO 365 Non-HFC Smoke Tester
If you are in the market for a non-aerosol smoke detector testing unit than you need to read up on the Testifire!  The first of its kind, Testifire is an electronic smoke/heat and CO detector tester.  Available in both Smoke/Heat and Smoke/Heat/CO versions, Testifire allows the user to test without aerosols using a patented smoke generation technology with no silicone.  The unit is Manufacturer approved, listed for testing, as well as NFPA and EPA Rule 20 compliant.

Another product coming very soon is the SDi SOLO 365 smoke detector tester.  This unit is used for smoke detector testing only unlike the Testifire.  The SOLO 365 utilizes the SOLO ES3 smoke cartridges providing a faster and cleaner test.    

Additional fire alarm related aerosols available through the EPA Rule 20

  • The SOLO A7 non-flammable canned air has been granted a lifetime exemption from the EPA.
  • The Smoke 400 aerosol used with the Trutest smoke sensitivity tester will continue to be available as it is not subject to the EPA Rule 20.  

In closing, make sure to inform your managers, technicians, end-users and AHJs of this important change.  As we approach the late part of 2018, these products will become increasingly harder to come by.  Make sure you stock up now or insure your company is migrating to one of the EPA Rule 20 compliant testers mentioned above.   If you have any questions or would like to discuss your experiences with these products, please feel free to join our Facebook Group.  

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