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Investigation of the Effects of Heating and Air Conditioning on the Performance of Smoke Detectors in Mobile Home. Final Report.



Richard W. Bukowski


Since its original promulgation in June 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standard has required the installation of at least one smoke detector to protect the mobile home occupants. The location of the smoke detector was based on earlier tests in a mobile home conducted by NBS in 1976. Because of the limited scope of the earlier NBS tests and subsequent improvements in the design of smoke detectors and the construction of mobile homes, a new series of tests was conducted to evaluate the influences of the operation of central forced-air heating and air conditioning systems on the performance of smoke detectors representative of those which are currently being installed. The tests were conducted with upholstered chairs in smoldering and flaming fire modes, representing key residential fire death scenarios. Tests were conducted in both summer and winter weather conditions. The effects of detector location (wall or ceiling and position within the bedroom corridor) and the effects of open and closed bedroom doors were also investigated. The report concludes that, for the scenarios examined, a properly functioning ionization or photelectric smoke detector mounted near the ceiling on the inside or outside wall at the living room end of the corridor should provide an alarm in sufficient time for occupant escape.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


detection time, detector location, fire tests, gas detectors, kitchen fires, mobile homes, smoke detectors, tenability limits, upholstered furniture, occupants


Bukowski, R. (1979), Investigation of the Effects of Heating and Air Conditioning on the Performance of Smoke Detectors in Mobile Home. Final Report., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created October 1, 1979, Updated February 19, 2017