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Do Fire Sprinklers Damage Your Building?

We’ve talked endlessly on this blog about how important fire sprinklers are to your building. Yet many people still have reservations about installing these vital pieces of fire protection equipment. It’s not that they don’t want their businesses to be safe from fires. The problem is, many people think that the water will damage their buildings more than an actual fire!

So the question is, do fire sprinklers damage your building? The answer is – a little. But think about this:

A fire that starts in a trash can or on a curtain may seem small at first, easy enough to put out with a fire extinguisher. But what happens if you’re not around to witness it? In minutes, what was once a small fire could (or, more likely, will) escalate into an inferno that could consume your whole building.

As soon as that fire gets hot enough (usually in a few seconds to a minute, tops), the fire sprinkler located directly above it will go off, putting it out with a water flow of about 12 gallons per minute (compared to at least 100 gpm from a fire department attack line!). Best of all, if you have a fire alarm monitoring system in your building, the fire department will be able to shut the sprinkler off before it has time to cause extensive water damage!

Common Fire Sprinkler Misconceptions

When one sprinkler goes off, they all go off – actually, fire sprinkler heads are individually activated by heat. This means that each sprinkler head only goes off in direct response to a fire in its radius – you’ll almost never have unnecessary activation!

Fire sprinklers can go off accidentally – because of the way fire sprinkler heads are designed, it’s almost impossible for them to go off randomly (unless they’re tampered with). Fire sprinkler heads are held in place by a bulb filled with a liquid that expands when it heats up. If it gets too hot (i.e., when heated by fire) the bulb bursts and the water comes off. If it stays below that heat threshold, however, there’s almost no way for the sprinkler head to activate. In fact, the margin of error for fire sprinkler head activation is about .0001%!

Fire sprinklers do more damage than fires – when a fire starts in your building, there are basically two scenarios – in one, your fire sprinkler goes off, everything gets wet and you have to replace a few papers and potentially some equipment and carpeting. The other has the fire escalating out of control, consuming your building by the time the fire department gets here, so all they can do is prevent it from spreading to other buildings.

If you’ve read enough and want to learn more about how you can protect your building with a fire sprinkler system in New Jersey, call Confires today!

Category: Fire Sprinklers