Hold the Fire: Fire Sprinkler Systems 101

Oct 29, 2018

Since its invention in 1812, fire sprinkler systems have been saving lives. In fact, when sprinkler systems and hardwired smoke alarms are present, the home fire death rate is 90% lower than if there were no system.

This life-saving technology can quickly extinguish a fire in its room of origin. Since it uses less water and pressure than a fire hose, it causes little property damage. Fire sprinklers protect an array of buildings and properties, both commercial and residential.

How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work

Contrary to popular belief, fire alarms are triggered by high heat, not smoke. When hot air – heated to between 135 to 165 degrees – comes in contact with a glass bulb inside a sprinkler head, it heats up the glycerin-based liquid inside. Since this liquid expands when it is heated, it will eventually cause the glass bulb to shatter. This, in turn, activates the sprinkler head.

The water in a fire sprinkler system is pressurized, which allows it to spray outward to more thoroughly douse the fire and prevent it from reigniting.

Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems

There have been many different types of fire sprinkler systems developed over the years. These include the following:

Wet Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems

With this kind of fire sprinkler system, there is always water in the pipes. This allows for quick reaction times to fires inside the property. Wet pipe fire sprinkler systems are the most common type of sprinkler system installed in buildings.

Dry Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems

Dry pipe fire sprinkler systems use pressurized air in the pipes. When a fire is detected, this air exits before the water escapes, causing a little delay in the discharge of water. This type of sprinkler system is perfect for buildings with cold temperatures so that the pipes do not freeze.

Pre-action Fire Sprinkler Systems

A pre-action fire sprinkler system is like a combination of the dry pipe sprinkler system and the wet pipe sprinkler system. Like the dry pipe system, the pipes in a pre-action fire sprinkler system are full of pressurized air. A pre-action valve keeps the water from flowing into the pipes.

For water to be discharged from the sprinklers, two things need to happen: first, the system must detect a developing fire for it to open the pre-action valve, allowing water to flow into the pipes. Second, the individual sprinkler heads must open. Only then can water flow to the fire. This kind of fire sprinkler system is ideal for buildings like libraries and data centers, where there are items of high value.

Deluge Fire Sprinkler Systems

A deluge fire sprinkler system is much like a pre-action fire sprinkler system, except the pipes aren’t filled with pressurized air and the sprinkler heads are already open. This sprinkler system is connected to a water supply through a deluge valve that is opened by a fire detection system, which is installed in the same area as the sprinklers. When the fire detection system is activated, the water flows through all the sprinkler heads in the system. This type of fire sprinkler system is perfect for buildings that are considered high-hazard areas.

Fire sprinklers are an important part of any fire prevention system. When you need fire sprinkler contractors in Utah, you should turn to Certified Fire Protection. We are a full-service fire protection entity that has been providing high-quality equipment, service, and installation since 2002.

For more information on our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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