What is a Speaker Fire Hood?
Fire Hoods are recommended and often required whenever ceiling speakers are installed, but what are they and when do you need one?
1. What is a Fire Hood?
When ceiling speakers are installed, the integrity of a plasterboard or suspended ceiling can be compromised. Results in simulated fire tests carried out by the British building research team show that from the initial ignition of a fire in a typical lounge, the fire can reach 350°C in just 3 minutes. Within this time the ceiling surface can be alight, with flames penetrating into the light and speaker fittings. A standard in-ceiling speaker of plastic construction lasts for around 40 seconds at these temperatures, giving little or no protection to the ceiling void into which it is installed.
A fire hood is an enclosure for a ceiling speaker which covers the speaker maintaining the integrity of the ceiling. Whilst ceiling speakers themselves do not represent a fire risk, if you are unlucky enough to have a fire the speakers would not survive and so will allow the fire to progress upwards to above floors at a faster rate than normal. Fire hoods give between 30 to 90 minutes delay to the spread of fire, depending on brand/model, ensuring that your building is as protected against fire as possible giving you and your family or staff time to get to safety. Some fire hoods also have the added bonus of providing a good level of of sound proofing between floors, meaning there is a reduced amount of sound travelling upwards from the speaker.
2. Do I Need a Fire Hood?
If you have contractors installing speakers in your building, they will be legally required to adhere to fire safety regulations, which may mean you will need to install fire hoods. Whilst you are not legally obligated to install fire hoods if you are doing the installation yourself, we do recommend them due to the issues you may run into with fire inspectors or insurers if you have not adhered to fire safety regulations. However, if the project is within a single story extension, a bungalow or if there is only loft space above the ceiling speakers you may not always need to install fire hoods. The regulation in question is from the IEE Wiring Regulations Handbook: Regulation 527-02-01 “Where cables pass through a wall or floor that is a fire barrier, the hole round the cable shall be sealed to the same degree of fire resistance as the wall or floor”
3. Which Fire Hood Do I Need?
There are a few speaker fire hood options on the market but we suggest that where life is at stake, use the best hood with the highest protection. The HOODY™ Speaker Fire Hood range has the greatest protection at 90 minutes which is suitable for commercial buildings as well as residential. They also offer the largest range covering in ceiling and in wall speakers from 3" to 10".
HOODY™ Speaker Fire Hoods also offer sound proofing in their range providing a degree of acoustic protection for sound travelling to above floors as well as improving the overall sound quality.
HOODY™ Speaker Fire Hoods Fully comply with all UK and EU legislation under BS EN1363-1 2012 for 90 minutes which meets and exceeds Document B Building Regulations BS476 Part 23 (relating to audio and fire dispersion in the home Parts E & F – 2004).