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When considering replacement of existing, obsolete or defective fire and smoke actuators several considerations must be taken into account. The first consideration is whether replacing the actuator is truly the solution to the problem. In some cases a malfunctioning damper could be the result of a damaged blade or bent linkage; in that case, replace the damper with a properly UL listed assembly with the actuator factory installed from the damper manufacturer. If the actuator is the problem the primary considerations center on two decisive factors; code issues and technical issues.
UL has stated that replacement is governed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction and that UL assumes that replacement will be done in accordance with the damper manufacturer's instructions.¹
The primary intent of any code is to protect life and property and therefore dictates defective equipment must be replaced. What can vary is the interpretation of the details of a code requirement from one jurisdiction to another. This is typically the root cause of a majority of code compliance questions and leaves the final interpretive authority to the local inspector or Fire Marshal.
For clarity, Belimo recommends the following guidelines:
Specifying the proper replacement actuator depends upon the needs of the particular installation.
The administrative section of any code states that all mechanical and electrical systems, including life safety devices, must be kept in working order. Just as with gas valves, replacement permits and inspections are not typically required if nothing else is affected except the damper and actuator. However, a record of any action taken should be kept at the end user's facility.
The key is to understand your local codes and jurisdictions. Good communication with all related parties can smooth the way to less hassle when replacement is required.