Professional Fog Machines


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FOG MACHINES - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

>> See also our "How to order" page for ordering information

Can I place my order over the internet?
Yes - click here to find out how.

Do fog machines / hazers trigger fire / smoke alarms?
If the fog/haze level is dense enough, both fog machines AND HAZERS will trigger ionisation / optical, vesda (air sampling) or video smoke detectors/detection systems. "Rate of temperature increase" detectors will not be activated. A high-end hazer (eg Neutron, MVS) is slightly less likely to set off smoke detection systems than a fog machine when controlled and used at a very low density level.

If you are uncertain of what type of smoke detector your venue has, consult the head of maintenance or, as a last resort, notify the local fire department and perform a test run.

If you need to test smoke detectors, blasting the smoke from one of our machines towards the detector will set it off.

Can I use any brand of fog fluid in my smoke machine?
Our job would be so much easier if the answer was 'yes', but the answer is NO and here's why:

Fog generators are designed around a specific mixture of chemicals, with specific boiling ranges. Using a fog fluid that, for example, is based on propylene glycol and water, which has a relatively low boiling range, through a generator set for glycerine / water (with a much higher boiling range) potentially can crack the chemical, forming unpleasant and potentially toxic compounds (acroleins, aldehydes etc). Even changing the % of water in a mixture can have an effect.

A few years ago all the major manufacturers prepared a joint letter stressing the potential dangers of mixing and matching fog chemicals, stressing that 'generic fog fluids' simply could not be relied upon to produce a consistent and safe fog in every generator.

Safe fog that is non-toxic to breathe in is your responsibility!

The use of generic fog chemical in place of the manufacturer's recommended fluid leaves you wide open to potential legal recourse relating to health & safety, reliability of your machine and servicing costs. It simply isn't worth the risk.

Do fog machines make you cough?
No they should not - and if you have experienced coughing it may be due to the operator using a cheap 'generic' fog fluid to save money - something we strongly advise against (see question above). If you have a respiratory condition or are asthmatic, we do not recommend you enter an area filled with dense fog. Occasionally people will experience a psychosomatic reaction to seeing fog and cough for the sake of it (even if the fog isn't actually causing this reaction in a physical sense).

Are fog machines toxic?
Not when you use the officially recommended fluid and follow the instructions - we wouldn't be selling them if they were!
The only danger involved is if the cases are opened (thus the risk of an electric shock - as with every electical applicance) or if the casing or output nozzle of certain units are touched (they can get very hot and may burn you). The fog which comes out of the output nozzle can also be very hot and often there are notices on the machine itself warning of this. Under no circumstances should you touch the nozzle that the smoke comes out of - this will always be very hot when the unit is switched on (and for quite a long time after it is switched off until it completely cools down).

Manufacturers often warn that you shouldn't install the machine where the public can touch it or touch the hot fog being generated. The recommended distance ranges from 50cm - 3 metres. If you need the fog to appear in a public area, one way to get round this safety recommendation is to use ducting to allow you to keep the machine well away. Fog machines should always be used in a well ventilated area. It is also wise not to install a machine above people's heads.

You must be very careful when using dry ice fog machines in confined spaces, as the carbon dioxide produced displaces oxygen in the air and can cause suffocation. Actors shouldn't really lie down in the fog.

You must use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer of the machine. Using other fluid could not only damage the machine (and void the warranty) but also create toxins in the fog. Even a slight change in the mixture of fog fluid can cause this. Safe, non-toxic fog is your responsibility!

Can I add scent / fragrance additives to smoke fluid so that it has an aroma?
We do not recommend this. We do not sell aroma additives for fog fluid because a technical report carried out by Brunel University on behalf of the Fire Brigade Union in the UK recommended that any additives added to smoke chemical to either add scent or colour the chemical should be removed, as a large number of these additives were found to be related to known carcinogens.

 

If you still have any questions, please let us know.


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