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Smoke detectors in horse barn-what do you use?

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  • Smoke detectors in horse barn-what do you use?

    We are currently researching smoke detectors and fire alarm system for our barn. I would love feedback on what people are using, particularly in large commercial facilities, and what you see are the pros/cons, and how many false alarms you have.

  • #2
    I have a fire/burglar alarm in my barn. I would definately go with a commercial system. You want heat detectors as well as smoke detectors. I have had a lot of problems with the smoke/heat detectors getting dirty and setting off the alarm system. We have to clean them often. I think our system is more of a home alarm system than a commercial one. It's definately nice to have, I sleep better. It will also qualify for a discount on your insurance. Check with the fire dept about possible charges for false alarms. Here I think you get 2 false alaram and than a $1000.00 fine.


    • #3
      Originally posted by kimball1 View Post
      We are currently researching smoke detectors and fire alarm system for our barn. I would love feedback on what people are using, particularly in large commercial facilities, and what you see are the pros/cons, and how many false alarms you have.
      The best protection for a barn is a combo of heat detectors and sprinkler. Sprinkler IS expensive, however, it is THE BEST protection you can buy.

      Do not use smoke detectors. There are several types-photelectric and rate-of-rise to name a couple. The problem with using smoke detectors is that the head (detection unit) will get dusty and false. There is such a thing as dust proof detectors, but these are over $200 a piece not installed, and they DO need to be installed by a professional as they are not battery operated and need to be hardwired.

      Sprinklers are great because, unlike the movies portray, if you have a fire in say, the tack room, only THAT sprinkler head will blow and contain the fire, not ALL of the heads. Sprinkler heads are actually heat detectors themselves-available at differant temp ratings.

      Per the NFPA you can have just a sprinkler system with additional coverage but it is not mandatory. What state are you in? MA has amendments to the fire code, they are the toughest (besides RI).

      Your best and most cost effective choice would be heat detectors and fire extinguishers. Course, I would go sprinklered but I manage a fire protection/life safety company and only have to pay for materials/permits etc.

      Let me know if you have tech questions. I'm a fire alarm tech and licensed extinguisher inspector in MA.


      • #4
        Originally posted by LittleblackMorgan View Post

        Sprinklers are great because, unlike the movies portray, if you have a fire in say, the tack room, only THAT sprinkler head will blow and contain the fire, not ALL of the heads. Sprinkler heads are actually heat detectors themselves-available at differant temp ratings. .
        Will sprinklers work if you are on a well?


        • #5
          Originally posted by tasia View Post
          Will sprinklers work if you are on a well?
          Dry system. This means that unlike a regular sprinkler system, which has pressurized water in the lines all the time, there is pressurized air in the lines, which blows out prior to the water. You're best best is to have a tank to store x amount of water for the system. There is a formula based on square footage, but sprinklers are not my specialty and I do not know what that formula is.

          The lack of available water pressure is the issue with wells. Can be done as I described though.

          eta: the air doesnt spread the fire. as I said, I dont know the technical specs, but we've done dry systems. Also in barns (and any unheated structure) you would need an antifreeze system, which is mixed in with the water (tank or lines). The antifreeze (glycol) is organic and not poisonous to animals or humans. I wouldnt chug it, but it wont kill ya


          • #6
            we installed heat sensors in our barn, along with a panic button, a few years ago and wired it into the home system (Stanley/HSM/Honeywell). Once we had a sensor go bad that triggered a couple false alarms but no dust problems.

            If it tripped it would sound in the house as well as call out to the monitoring center. We had to run a wire from the panel in the house to the barn.

            I too would like to find a smoke detector that would work in dusty conditions but they did not know of one they thought would work.

            Water pressure - actually water flow rates, will limit sprinkler use in many rural situations even if you did want to pay the bucks for a sprinkler system.


            • #7
              I too would like to find a smoke detector that would work in dusty conditions but they did not know of one they thought would work.
              See my previous post. I just quoted installation of a couple dust resistant units. The detectors were over $200 a piece. NOT a proactical application for a horse barn.


              DO not use Brinks/ADT or any other national chain. Their systems are proprietary, which means only that company can service the parts. If you have issues with the service provider (and you will), you will need to replace ALL the devices and the control panel. We do swap overs all the time.

              Sprinklers are actually not that bad for say, a 4 stall barn. Run you about $2500 installed (on city water). Like I said, a tank is the best way to go for well.


              • #8
                When I was a kid, my parents had a smoke detector in the barn. It was wired into the security system. A bug got in it one day when we were on vacation and set off a false alarm. The security company sent fire engines out, sirens blaring. We found out from the neighbors when we arrived home. (Luckily, no horses on the property at the time.)