FOG MACHINES - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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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
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
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
Safe fog that is non-toxic to breathe in is
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.
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).
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
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!
I add scent / fragrance additives to smoke fluid so that it has
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.