An essential element of any fire safety system in a residential or business building is a sprinkler system. A sprinkler system is useful for fire protection as it helps stop fires from spreading and causing significant damage or loss of life.
However, there are various kinds of fire sprinkler systems available on the market. Let’s talk about some of the factors to be considered before installing a sprinkler system as part of your construction project.
Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems
Location is the first and most important factor to consider. It all depends if your building is a residential or commercial building, along with where your building project is located. Also take into consideration the buildings or structures next to your project, and how they would be affected in the event of a fire.
Currently, there are four main types of fire sprinkler systems available on the market.
- Dry Sprinklers
Dry pipe sprinkler systems are suited for industrial buildings or factories. They are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen instead of water, to prevent frozen and burst sprinkler pipes. When a fire is detected by the system, the air pressure is released in the pipes. A valve then opens to allow water to flow through.
We recommend dry sprinkler systems be installed in addition to a wet system in order to protect colder environments. Dry pipe installations are frequently done in commercial freezers, outside open loading docks, and in unheated attics and warehouses.
- Wet Sprinklers
These are the most common types of sprinkler systems, and they are the most cost effective and reliable sprinkler systems on the market. As the name suggests, the system is made up of pipes that are filled with water. When a fire is detected, the sprinklers go off and water is immediately released through the sprinkler heads.
They are simple to use and require little maintenance. They can be reset after they respond to a fire. However, these systems cannot be used in places where temperatures reach below 4 degrees. These systems are most commonly found in homes or residential buildings.
Deluge systems are used to deploy large amounts of water over a specific area for a short period of time. Also referred to as open sprinkler systems, they are activated only when a supplemental fire detection system, such as a fire alarm, is triggered. A deluge valve allows water to enter the piping, which uses atmospheric pressure to discharge water immediately. With this type of open fire sprinkler, a nozzle is open at all times, making it the fastest activating type.
These systems are commonly used in industrial buildings with highly combustible materials, or where thermal damage can occur. Buildings such as warehouses, loading bays, or laboratories are recommended to install deluge systems to prevent rapid fire spread and damage.
One of the best systems for commercial buildings. Pre-action sprinkler systems combine both wet and dry sprinkler systems, which means that water is not normally contained within the pipes. The difference is that water is kept from flowing through the piping by an electrically operated valve known as a pre-action valve. This system has an extremely rapid response time, and is a safe option for commercial areas.
The pre-action valve and sprinkler heads must both operate in order for water to be released. This feature adds an extra layer of protection against accidental water discharge. Pre-action sprinkler systems are also commonly used in water-sensitive environments. Examples include archival vaults, fine art storage rooms, rare book libraries, and computer centers.
Types of Sprinkler Heads
Another significant factor to consider before installing a fire sprinkler system is the type of sprinkler head – yes, it matters! The main distinction between sprinkler heads is how the trigger mechanism operates.
- Conventional Sprinkler Heads
Sprinkler heads that are connected to the ceiling from which water is discharged are ideal for residential areas. These are traditional fire sprinkler heads and are the common staple for any fire sprinkler system.
- Upright Sprinkler Heads
These sprinkler heads aim water towards any random, general direction. They are either recessed into the ceilings or covered with resin caps. They are ideal for commercial buildings or areas.
- Sidewall Sprinkler Heads
As the name implies, sidewall fire sprinklers protrude from the side of a wall rather than hanging from the ceiling. Sidewall fire sprinklers are ideal for use in situations where ceiling access is restricted or freezing is a risk. They offer more coverage than most types and are best suited for commercial or industrial buildings.
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