What does Maintenance Free Really Mean?

Aug 23, 2018 by Justin Pine: RCDD, Project Engineer, Technical Product Specialist

When it comes to firestopping, it is easy to claim that a solution is “Maintenance Free”, but what does “Maintenance Free” really mean?

All traditional firestop solutions fall victim to one of two unavoidable design flaws; maximum cable fill and manual activation. With conduit sleeves filled with firestopping such as putty or sealant, maximum cable fills are determined by the individual Third-Party Tested System or Engineering Judgment and must not be exceeded or else the opening becomes non-compliant. Cable fills can vary widely in conduit sleeves depending not just on the type of firestop material used (Putties, Sealants, Pillows/Bags, Foam Plugs, Etc.) but also the testing that the manufacturer has conducted with their version of that material.

Beyond maximum cable fills you as the installer must ensure that the products are re-applied after every cable move, add, or change. Re-sealing is easier said than done, if you have ever worked in an existing facility you have inevitably come across a sleeve where the putty was removed, cable work was conducted, and the putty was left on top of the drop ceiling tile.

Only EZ-Path® Fire-Rated and Smoke & Acoustical Pathways are designed around both of these flaws. With EZ-Path you are not limited to a maximum cable fill, each device in the EZ-Path family is evaluated with cable fill percentages up to 100%. Additionally, each device incorporates a self-sealing system that adjusts automatically to accommodate for whatever cabling you install without requiring you to repack or twist closed the penetration when conducting cable changes. Without the possibilities of cable overfill or the risk of being left unsealed, EZ-Path requires no on-going maintenance to ensure performance and code compliance. In other words, once an EZ-Path is installed it is considered to be “Maintenance Free” for the lifetime of the installation.