Safe Door Seals - Should an RF6528 have em


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guggep
March 28, 2013, 10:04 PM
Hi All,

I received my Amsec RF6528 today. What a beast. I did notice one thing that seemed strange to me though. There was some play in the door when closed (not flex). Upon inspection I realized that it did not have a door seal. It was just concrete/metal -> concrete/metal. There was no seal to prevent heat intrusion. The play I was detecting seemed to be the gap that I would assume was normally occupied by the seal.

I attempted a call to my dealer and Amsec but missed em by a few minutes. The Amsec recording says they are closed until Monday.

Can the experts or anyone who has one of these comment on if they are supposed to come with the seals or not.

Thanks in Advance

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CB900F
March 28, 2013, 10:39 PM
Guggep;

I can't speak to AMSEC's build specs for that model, but I'm surprised to hear that the unit came without seals installed.

900F

Abear
March 28, 2013, 11:41 PM
The RF6528 has a two hour 1850 degree fire rating. I can't imagine no seal, sounds like a QC issue? I know all the Mfg's are super busy. I am considering the exact same safe. I am sure it is a beast that has to be seen to be appreciated, any other opinion or facts about your new safe would be greatly appreciated. Did you leave it on the pallet? I assume it is in your garage or similar or concrete ground floor. Any delivery issues?

a1abdj
March 29, 2013, 12:07 AM
No seal. Most of the commercial safes with burglary ratings don't have them.

Torian
March 29, 2013, 12:25 AM
I thought I read somewhere that certain safes only have seals that activate in extreme heat.

Not familiar with your model though. What did she run?

DeepSouth
March 29, 2013, 01:17 AM
Their web sight doesn't mention it.
http://www.amsecusa.com/Gun_Safes/HS_Series_Gun_Safes/


But some sales sights do.
http://www.deansafe.com/ams-rf6528.html


I don't know, but I would be suprised to find out it doesn't have one, or rather isn't suppose to have one.

guggep
March 29, 2013, 01:52 AM
Abear,

The safe is very nice and is extremely heavy. Do not attempt to self deliver/install. Hire professionals. I had the safe placed ground floor on a concrete slab. It still took 3 guys with specialized equipment & powered movers quite a while to get it where I wanted without destroying the house. They did a good job and were worh every $$ I paid for them.

The garage would have been much easier placement, but I worried about temperature fluctuations & condensation.

guggep
March 29, 2013, 02:01 AM
Torian,

The RF is not inexpensive, but does provide TL rated security. I worked with my local Authorized Dealer to obtain very good pricing. I shopped around quite a bit before purchasing.

guggep
March 29, 2013, 11:56 AM
Interesting - Page 2 of the Amsec 2013 Gun Safe Catalog does state:
"All of our HS, BF, SF,FV, and TF series safes come with a Palusol Intumescent Door Seal..."

heeler
March 30, 2013, 01:00 AM
Any chance your safe is a left over 2012 model?
They have a sticker on the inner door that shows the quarter of the year it was built.
All that being said the latest Amsec catalogue I have is a 2011 and it mentions the seals on all of the gun safes models except the HS models.
Since the Amvualt model is the same safe minus the gun racks I was looking at the interior on Amsecs online downloadable catalogue and there is no seal showing in the picture.
So,it's my belief that it's not there and is not needed on these high grade safes.

CB900F
March 30, 2013, 09:33 AM
Fella's;

I'll argue that in a home, with the possibility of loss due to fire, that the seals are needed. The gasses produced by a typical home fire can be extremely harmful to stamp collections, photographic emulsions, scope lens coatings, and coin collections.

900F

a1abdj
March 30, 2013, 10:24 AM
I'll argue that in a home, with the possibility of loss due to fire, that the seals are needed. The gasses produced by a typical home fire can be extremely harmful to stamp collections, photographic emulsions, scope lens coatings, and coin collections.




I would agree, but......

I think it depends on how the fire is devloping, and where the safe is located. You can have fires away from the safes where the gasses are getting into/around the safes. Since the fire is not near the safe, it is not getting hot enough for the seals to swell.

I suspect this is why we see some of the gun safes after fires, that do not have severe fire damage, still have contents that look as if they had been sitting on the ocean floor for a month.

Safes are already at some advantage, in that it is not easy for air to circulate through them as it is. I would say that a proper door shape is probably a better first defense than a seal itself. A tight fitting door, seal or no seal, is also going to perform better than a door that has a 1/4" gap around it.

I'll have to look through my collection to see if I have photos of any of these non-sealed, high security safes that have been through a fire.

CB900F
March 30, 2013, 12:37 PM
A1abdj;

Thank you for pointing that out. I can now see that I was influenced more by the Graffunders than by applying the thought to the broad market. For those not aware of it, the Graffunder safes have very tight fitting doors to begin with; you can't get a credit card in the crack between the door plate and the frame. Like an old Volkswagon, the doors air-piston as they shut.

Nonetheless, Graffunder now incorporates two seals set at 90 degrees to each other at the door/frame junction. They are, of course, of an intumescent material & do swell under heat. But they are triple-lipped, much like some windshield wiper blades, and also provide a mechanical seal regardless of the heat factor.

900F

guggep
March 30, 2013, 05:24 PM
As CB pointed out safe contents can be damaged by heat intrusion & smoke damage. This worries me alot as the RF (at least mine) has easily a 1/8" gap and allows unrestricted air infiltration.

I went down to my AD on Friday and asked them about it. Their website does say that the RF has door seals, but they were not sure. Thus, they fired off an email to AMSEC and hope for an answer on Monday.

As good of an insulator as the composite is, I dont see how the safe could keep contents under 350 against the 1850 degree temps its rated for with that air gap.

I will likely place a call into AMSEC on Monday just to follow up on the AD's email. Hopefully I can get Inside Sales to get me in touch with an Engineer.

Worst case I will get some 1/8" x 1" 2300 degree ceramic ribbon gasket and apply it with some 3M CP 25WB on the body/door contact zone (paralell to the door) similar to what sturdy does. I could also lay in some 1/4" x 1 PVC encapsulated palusol on the safe body (perpendicular to the door).

For what the RF costs I really should not have to spend an extra $100 on door seals. I hope that AMSEC will step up here.

a1abdj
March 30, 2013, 07:03 PM
This is the closest I could come up with.

It's a composite burglary/fire safe. Non stepped door. No fire seal.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedeagle1_zps69ffa564.jpg

Came out of this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedeagle2_zpsfd07758f.jpg

guggep
March 30, 2013, 07:15 PM
Thanks a1abdj

Although that was obviously a very hot fire, the picture does have me worried as I can see the smoke & hot air penetration around the door.

a1abdj
March 30, 2013, 07:24 PM
Keep in mind that a regular fire test is only testing for temperature. Most safes with fire ratings will also have some moisture content, which will create steam (and positive pressure) within the safe itself.

I'm not saying that door seals can't be helpful, or don't do a better job of protecting the contents of a safe. But they may not have anything to do with temperature, which is really all of these test are telling us anyway.

The other thing that I always like to point out is that internal temperature that's being tested for. In most cases, the magic number is 350 degrees. That heat can still cause damage. Fire safes are not designed to keep the contents in pristine condition, but rather keep paperwork in readable condition.

Lagarto
March 31, 2013, 02:43 PM
"All of our HS, BF, SF,FV, and TF series safes come with a Palusol Intumescent Door Seal..."


Intumescent door seals are activated by heat. They swell and keep the steam from the insulation from escaping from inside and the heat from penetrating as fast as it normally would. A 2 hour unit would definitely have to have them in order to pass a 2 hour UL test.

Please realize that any thing that will be ruined by water will not fair well in a fire proof safe that survives a fire such as one in a1abdj's post.

guggep
March 31, 2013, 05:56 PM
My unit definitely does not have the seals. That is what I will be taking up with AMSEC on Monday.

heeler
March 31, 2013, 06:21 PM
guggep,I certainly hope you post your results of your inquiry with Amsec.
I have a number of Amsec product catalogues dating back to 2007 and every picture I have seen that shows the interior of the TL rated safes do not show any sort of seal on the Amvault series.
However,looking at my 2011 catalogue there is a picture of the HS7943 and the HS6743,which are both TL-15 rated, and the picture clearly shows a Palusol seal on it's door.
The RF model is in gloss black so I cant tell if it shows one or not.
That being said even using my strong magnifying glass I cannot see the silicon seal on the door jamb of the safe such as the one my BF model has in conjunction to it's Palusol seal on the door edge.

guggep
March 31, 2013, 09:51 PM
Hi Heeler,

The edge of the RF door is actually curved - its an arc of maybe 15 degrees. Not even an angle but an arc.

To seal the RF to my satisfaction will require a gasket on the frame of the safe where it contacts the door (paralell to the door) like what Sturdy does, and A fire/smoke seal similar to what graffunder uses could also go on the door edge or better yet on the frame/body perpendicular to the door.

I will be calling AMSEC first thing on Monday to find out more.

jim357
March 31, 2013, 11:27 PM
I have the same safe and had the same issue and questions. The safe seller told me that none of them (the RF model gun safe or the Amvaults, a commercial jewelers safe) had the seal, but I had trouble believing him. I spend quite a lot of time on the phone with AMSEC and finally spoke to someone who really knew the issue and was able to answer my question. He answered my questions and I felt that he knew exactly what he was talking about. To make a long story, that I have mostly forgotten, short this safe does not need it. AMSEC does not put it on any of these safes, yours and mine were not missed, none of them have it and work fine without it. Looking at many of the AMSEC catalogs, I see that the folks who write the catalogs are a bit fast and loose with what is in the catalog. I later met a fellow who used to work for AMSEC and he confirmed that this is the case. I feel fine with mine not having it. I feel confident that you will get the information you need and be fine with your safe. I feel that it is one of the best safes you can get. Jim

guggep
April 1, 2013, 07:07 PM
Hi Team,

AMSEC Customer Service indicated that door seals are not needed due to the water content of the composite which releases water vapor during a fire creating internal pressure. They said that so much water is release during a hot fire that the contents would be all wet especially at the bottom. They implied that tightly sealing the safe could result in popping the door. They really didnt have much of an answer about smoke intrusion other than the positive pressure from the water vapor keeping it out.

My AD called me this afternoon after they heard back from AMSEC Inside Sales that the specialized shape of the door edge creates an effect which combined with the composit negates the need for door seals.

I still have my doubts so I am going to keep pushing to see if I can manage to get an Actual Engineer on the phone. If I can get one on the phone I will ask (among other things) about partially sealing the door - Top & sides against smoke while leaving the bottom to breath.

heeler
April 1, 2013, 07:19 PM
Well at least you got an answer,sort of.
I still find it somewhat peculiar that the HS TL-15 models in the Amsec photo's clearly show a Palusol seal near the door edge.
But the TL-15 gun safes and the Amvault type gun safe are two different birds and the doors are different.

CB900F
April 1, 2013, 08:48 PM
Guggep;

So you get your wood gun stocks steamed? Wonderful!

900F

heeler
April 1, 2013, 09:45 PM
Perhaps they will get steamed and maybe not.
If it's any comfort guggep,you are far more likely to become a burglary victim than a fire victim according to the statistics.
And it's not likely Cecil Meth and his buddy Jimmy Crank are getting into that safe.

guggep
April 3, 2013, 01:11 PM
Hi All,

I have what I believe to be the official answer from AMSEC. Moderators please let me know if its within the rules of the forum to place this update up into the beginning of the thread so that its easy for others to find.

I spoke with a contact at AMSEC Sales and asked to speak directly with a Design Engineer - not customer service but a real Engineer. While he did not let me speak directly to the Engineer my contact indicated he knew the exact right Engineer to ask (a 20 + year employee) and that he would relay my questions. He listened carefully and then went directly to the Engineer ASAP.

The Engineer replied that the RF6528 does not need additional door seals to meet its given raiting. The water vapor released from the composite during a fire provides sufficient pressure & cooling to meet the requirement. The Engineer indicated that it releases a very large amount of water compared to safes constructed of other materials.

That said, a door seal could be added to further improve the units performance against smoke and heat intrusion through the door spacing. It will not break the safe or pop the door. The Engineer indicated that I can seal the door with an intumescent seal strip on the safe body Paralell to the door edge up against the corner. Placing the strip on the body paralell to the door face would result in it getting crushed. AMSEC provided me a part number for the correct seal strip to use which I ordered through my local AD for a smalll cost. Anyone who has an RF and wants the part # can PM me for info.

I will take some pictures once I receive and install the seal.

heeler
April 3, 2013, 03:19 PM
Most excellent.
Congratulations on sticking with this and now for a minimal cost and very little labor you can have peace of mind too.
I gave some real thought about this thread last night and was looking at various Amsec safes on the down loadable catalogue and again found it peculiar that all the gun safes have the seals as well as the TL15 rated gun safes and the imported CSC series and the smaller one hour UL rated BF units.
But not the Amvault units or even the UL rated two hour fire safes have the seals.
I am sure Amsec engineers know far more about this than I do or ever will but it does seem strange that the very best safes they offer in regards to fire and burglary protection do not.
Look forward to your pictures.
I have yet to see an RF safe in person.

guggep
April 7, 2013, 01:12 PM
After a good bit of work the door seals have been installed.

BACKGROUND: I ordered 3 strips from AMSEC based on their recommendation. The strips are 77 3/4" Long x 9/16 wide x 1/8" tall. They are a spot on color match to the black interior walls and come with a self adhesive backing.

PLACEMENT: Prior to installing I cut off several small pieces off of one of the strips to use for dry fitting. I quickly discovered that the location recommended by AMSEC was not going to work. It would not be effective. Due to the back angled door edges the cavity in the corner has a volume larger than would be filled by the expansion of the Palusol in the strip. It became obvious that the surface they recommended was correct but the strip location on that surface needed to be moved closer to the outer edge of the safe so that the gap between the strip and the door edge would be minimized. After several dry fits I determined that the best location was to have the inside edge of the strip 2" from the corner. And..... It almost worked.... Unfortunately the door is not perfectly symmetrical left to right (or top/bottom) and the angle is slightly less steep on the hinge side. This resulted in the strip contacting the door edge during closing. Not wanting to bind the door and have future mechanical issues, I re-located the hinge side strip so that its inner edge is 1.75" from the corner.

RESULTS: What I have now is fire seal on all 4 sides with a gap ranging between 0 - 4 business cards on the Top, Left, and Right sides. The gap on the bottom edge is about 5. The seals are out near the outer edge so they should expand soon enough in a fire to minimize smoke intrusion. The bottom gap is bigger than I would have hoped for but its also down low where there is the least amount of heat & smoke.

Abear
April 7, 2013, 02:07 PM
Guggep: Did AMSEC provide you a part number on the seals, how much $$$?

Thank you, thinking of purchasing the same safe and if I do I will upgrade like you recommend.

guggep
April 7, 2013, 02:30 PM
PM Sent to Abear

guggep
May 5, 2013, 12:45 PM
Hi a1abdj,

You recently posted some fantastic pictures (on a differnt forum) of an Amvault Composit safe (identical construction to an RF6528) that went throug a total burndown. You also had some closeups of the contents. Would it be possible for you to post into this thread as well. It would really round out this thread.

The pictures showed how well the safe perfromed but maybe equally important how much extra protection was provided by an uninsulated metal storage box (inside the safe).

Lesson learned - I have already purchased a fire resistant sentry box for use inside the safe and will use similar insulated containers or sealed ammo cans wherever possile. Also no bulk ammo or anything with lithium batteries allowed in the safe.

a1abdj
May 5, 2013, 02:43 PM
Per the OP's request:

It wasn't that long ago that the AMSEC RF6528, and its lack of a fire seal was being discussed. I had some photos of similar composite safes that had been involved in a fire, but none of an actual AMSEC. This is a safe that I sold to a customer new. They called me the other day while the house was still on fire, so in addition to the photos, I know the specific details.

This safe was located in a walk out basement, in a utility room area where lawnmowers and ATVs were parked. The fire was caused by gasoline fumes ignited by the water heater. The owner was home at the time, and luckily, him and his family escaped without injury. The house and everything in it was a total loss. You can see the top of the safe in the middle of the photo:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault1_zpsa9eef0c2.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault1_zpsa9eef0c2.jpg.html)

The safe has a factory 2 hour rating. The fire department had a hose on the area that the safe was in to attempt to keep it as cool as possible. The fire burned for 8 hours, and the safe sat for another 2 hours until they could get a chain around it and drug it out of the smoldering debris with a tractor.. This is what was left of it:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault2_zps5f373748.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault2_zps5f373748.jpg.html)

As you can see, there was very minor damage to the contents. Not bad for a safe designed for 2 hours being exposed to 8 hours worth of heat. There was a bit of soot inside the safe, along with some minor water intrusion, likely from the fire hose. All of the important items inside the safe survived. The envelopes protected their contents from the soot, and all of the paperwork inside was in great shape. Paper money survived fine. Some jewelry and coins survived fine. Some of the plastic containers didn't do so well, and started to deform. Nothing melted. Note to those using plastic containers: Make sure they are microwave safe. The plastics on those containers require a much higher temperature before they begin to melt.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault4_zpsacd961c9.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault4_zpsacd961c9.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault5_zpsab2a5bec.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault5_zpsab2a5bec.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault6_zpse0e2ac3b.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault6_zpse0e2ac3b.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedamvault7_zpsf50ce71d.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/a1abdj/media/burnedamvault7_zpsf50ce71d.jpg.html)

Overall, in this case I do not think a door seal would have made much of a difference. The safe was exposed to heat for far longer than it was rated, and still peformed fairly well. Had the safe only been exposed for 2 hours, I suspect what little damage there was would have been less.

bruzer
May 8, 2013, 05:58 AM
WOW, thanks for sharing pictures of the safe and contents after a fire. I hope my Data Safe never has to prove itself but I did get it for the fire rating.
May God bless us all,
Mike

4v50 Gary
May 8, 2013, 09:16 AM
Thanks a1abdj for sharing those images.

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