Aspirating Smoke Detection Applications Guide

Data Centers / Electronic Equipment Installations

An Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) System utilizes an aspirator (fan) to actively draw air into a remote detector through a sampling pipe network that extends into a protected space. This method of smoke/fire detection is sometimes referred to as Air Sampling Smoke Detection. 

Data Center Racks

Design Best Practices 

Identify and Understand the Airflow Management Scheme 

There are numerous approaches to providing air distribution and equipment cooling in data centers. Understanding the approach that is applied in any given facility will allow the designer to identify the key airflow paths as well as areas where airflow is minimal and not likely to carry smoke particulate to a sampling port location. 

While other approaches (including hybrid) are possible, distributing air in a data center usually involves one or more of three basic approaches. Automatic detection requirements for data centers are based on NFPA 75 and 72 provisions. The Fire Industry Code of practice (FIA CoP)  for ASD Systems provides design and installation guidance for aspirating smoke detector systems used in data centers and other environments, and has been coordinated with BS 6266. 


This approach uses a supply and return air distribution system in which the only constraints to the airflow are physical boundaries of the room or space (walls, ceiling, floor). Due to the extent of hot and cool air mixing, sampling points are recommended at the ceiling and at the HVAC/CRAC (computer room air conditioning) unit air returns and supply-side outlet grills. 


This approach also uses a supply and return air distribution system. However, the supply or return is placed near or adjacent to the IT equipment through the use of ducts, perforated tiles, or even a piece of localized equipment within the IT racks in an effort to direct the airflow to/from the IT equipment. 


This approach also uses a supply and return air distribution system, where the IT equipment supply and/or return airflow is completely or partially enclosed to minimize or eliminate air mixing. These contained approaches are also known as hot aisle/cold aisle configurations. For reasons of energy efficiency and cooling effectiveness the contained approaches using hot and cold aisle designs are now common approaches found in data centers. Ceiling sampling points are recommended for fire sources outside of IT cabinets. Direct sampling of the hot air return ducts or the interior of the equipment cabinets are areas for placement of sampling 

This article has been extracted from the "Aspirating Smoke Detection Applications Guide" by  System Sensor 

Download the Guide Here

Further information on this topic can also be found in our earlier article

EBSP Article-Consultant’s Guide for Fire Detection & Alarm Systems for Buildings

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