Leisure Centre ductwork and fire dampers – Cleaning ventilation systems & fire damper testing

In public buildings such as leisure centres, it’s essential that all areas are cleaned and maintained regularly – and that doesn’t just mean the places that you can see.

Ventilation systems are a vital component of the building and help to keep it free from mildew, mould and unwanted odours as well as reducing humidity.

Here’s a look at just why it’s so important and the facts about fire damper testing.

Ventilation systems can help not just the ambience within a building, but help to keep it a healthy, safe place to be too.

Leisure centres are a public environment and as such, there’s a need for them to adhere to certain public safety standards. Ventilation systems help them to do this by improving air quality and preventing mould, mildew and the spread of bacteria.

Ventilation systems come in a range of styles, but they all need to be cleaned

However, a sick ventilation system is worse than not having one at all. As well as being inefficient in getting rid of the humidity and other unwanted components in the air, it can help bacteria to spread.

Within the duct system, the nasties that pass through eventually take their toll and bacteria can start to grow. If this isn’t cleared away it can end up blocking the ducts but also being distributed around the leisure centre, travelling through the ventilation system to spread rapidly.

This can create potential health problems for all those that use the facilities, as well as allowing mould and mildew to grow.

Regular cleaning of the ventilation systems keeps everything working smoothly and optimally, as well as getting rid of any bacterial growth within the ducts. If you have the right equipment it’s an easy process which can be carried out when the leisure centre is closed to minimise the effect on the customers.

Fire damper testing

Part of the ventilation system includes fire dampers, a component that not many people will be aware of but a feature that quite literally saves lives.

Fire dampers normally remain open within the ducts, allowing air to pass through freely. However, through a variety of different means, fire dampers sense when there are flames present and close, creating an impenetrable barrier.

Fire damper installation, these will slow a fire down  

The actions of fire dampers save lives by preventing the fire from easily spreading out into the building and although they may be rarely needed, it’s essential that they are in good order just in case the worst occurs.

Keeping the fire dampers in full working order is essential for the protection of the building. They are the first line of defence for any fire which breaks out within the ducts or ventilation system and can prevent it taking hold of the rest of the building.

Fire dampers can be maintained and checked easily via a type of testing often referred to as drop testing. Depending on the type and style of fire damper installed, this should be carried out at least once every 12-24 months. Skimping on this means putting the rest of the building in jeopardy and breaching the fire safety precautions in place.

Every ventilation system will have a number of fire dampers located strategically throughout the system at appropriate points. Testing makes sure all of these are in good working condition, are open to allow the passage of air through but are able to close securely if required to create the fire-resistant barrier.


Like any other building, having the ventilation system cleaned periodically is a vital part of making sure the place remains healthy and free of bacteria and spores, but also is safe and functioning exactly as it should.


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