Important Safety Features to Look for in HVLS Fans

January 28, 2014 by Eddie



Safety is the top priority for all facility managers, and it is paramount that they trust the products and procedures they use to maintain their buildings are safe for all employees and customers. HVLS fans provide many benefits for employee and customer comfort, but there are also a number of safety recommendations and features to consider when choosing an HVLS fan for a facility.

Interaction with Sprinkler Systems

One concern sometimes raised by building managers and engineers is how an HVLS fan will interact with sprinkler systems, specifically if the large blades of the fan obstruct a sprinkler head.

Based on a collaborative industry research effort (“High Volume/Low Speed Fans and Sprinkler Operation”) to offer an evaluation of HVLS fan interaction on sprinkler effectiveness, National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) concluded HVLS fans, when installed in accordance with NFPA 13 requirements, do not impact the performance of ESFR (early suppression, fast response) and CMDA (control mode density area) sprinkler systems.

In addition to fan placement among sprinkler heads, one of the requirements is that HVLS fans operate with automatic shutdown, initiated within 90 seconds after sprinklers are operational. This automatic fan shutdown is a standard safety feature on MacroAir HVLS fans.

All MacroAir fan models fall within NFPA guidelines, which are based on the maximum tested fan diameter of 24 feet (7.3 meters). Other HVLS fans with add-on winglets or performance enhancers that may increase the fan diameter outside of NFPA guidelines should be evaluated individually against NFPA 13.

Additional Safety Features

Each MacroAir fan comes with a safety cable. Depending on the model, the fan’s safety cable either wraps around the building structure and the fan frame, or comes out of the top of the fan and wraps around the building structure. The safety cable is an important part of the safety system and acts as a last resort should an earthquake, collision or similar catastrophic event occur. MacroAir fans are secured to the ceiling through the safety cable.

In addition to the selected mount, to keep fan unit movement to a minimum, four steel aircraft-grade guy wires connect the fan frame to the ceiling. The wires distribute the force of movement into the larger building structure, as opposed to concentrating it on the mounted fan unit.

The hub, which is where the fan blades attach, is a high stress area. A patented Interlocking Safety System reinforces the connection between the fan unit and its blades. This assures the security of the fan blades to the hub even in extreme conditions.


MacroAir fans are UL 507 listed. This means that they pass the safety standards outlined in the National Energy Code, ASNI/NFPA 70. Additionally, each fan mount is tested for strength and safety. With a combination of intrinsic design and patented features, all MacroAir HVLS fans are created with performance and safety in mind. For more information on MacroAir HVLS fans contact us here.

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