What is the minimum fire rating to protect paper and money?

money and paper fireproof safe

Fireproof safes are designed to keep the personal belongings you put inside them.  Commonly, people buy one to store and secure their extra cash and important documents. The insulation within the safe releases moisture when exposed to extreme heat which keeps the temperature below the level of paper ignition. And when it comes to safeguarding valuables, I know you want to invest in a high-quality safe that can surely protect them.

Fire Protection Standard

fireproof safe money and papers

These safes have been certified according to a particular set of standards, and are extensively measured through tests carried out by testing authorities. The longer the period in minutes, the greater the fire resistance that is offered by the product. There are several different fire ratings that are said to be fire resistant from a range of half an hour to three hours. So, which one is the minimum fire rating to protect paper and money?

Fire Protection Paper and Money Temperature

cash fireproof storage space

Before we answer this question, it is important that we know first at what temperature paper or money completely combusts. The critical temperature before they burn is 350° Fahrenheit or 177° Celsius. This simply means that you’ll be needing a safe that should not exceed 350° Fahrenheit for at least an hour. So, now, let’s compare Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) Fire Ratings and see which one is good to go for protecting papers. UL have officially labeled fire safe products as UL Class ½-hour, 1-hour, 2-hour, and 3-hour.

Adequate Fire Protection For Paper or Money

fire resistance rating for cash and papers

Typically, a safe with less than a 1-hour fire rating will not provide adequate protection for paper or money in the event of a fire. And it is mostly advised by experts that fire resistant safes should have a minimum of a 1-hour fire rating. In addition, most fires will be put out in under an hour.

Now that we know that the 1-hour fire rating can just protect paper and money, we can just disregard the UL Class 2-hour and 3-hour fire ratings to answer the question.

Different Classes of Fire Protection

fireproof safe fire endurance test

But, it does not end here because there are two different classes for the 1-hour fire rating. These two are what UL identifies as UL Class 350 1-hour and UL Class 125 1-hour. So what do these two mean? The first one means that when exposed to external temperatures of 1700° Fahrenheit, the internal temperature safe will not exceed 350° Fahrenheit for at least an hour. While for the UL Class 125 1-hour, the internal temperature safe will not exceed 125° Fahrenheit for at least an hour.

Minimum Fire Protection for Paper or Money

paper assets fire protection

Looking at the two different classes and considering the critical temperature at which paper or money burns which is said to be 350° Fahrenheit, the minimum fire rating needed to protect your money and paper documents is the UL Class 350 1-hour.

 Conclusion

getting and keeping passports safe

Although it has been stated that most fires are put out in under an hour, this isn’t always the case. The problem is, you don’t know where a fire could start – it may start right next to your safe and continue to subject your safe to higher temperatures.

Just remember that any fire resistant safes have limited amounts of time to endure the fire. Most importantly, they are not recommended for protecting large amounts of cash.

What we just answered is only the minimum fire rating which can protect your money and important documents. So, there are other fire ratings that can do more of what the UL Class 350 1-hour is capable of. But, of course, the prices are unsurprisingly higher.

However, if you’re someone who does not really think about the expense when it comes to the protection of your valuables, you can opt to buy for the higher class.

If not, just make sure to at least have a minimum one-hour fire rated safe and it has stated that the internal temperature does not exceed 350° Fahrenheit for at least an hour. That’s all you need to know about fireproof safes!