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What are the Different Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems?

Posted on: April 25, 2011

When you think of fire sprinklers, what image comes into your head? For most people, “fire sprinklers” are those little sprinkler heads on the ceilings of most buildings. However, there are a variety of different types of fire sprinklers available, each suited for a different type of building. When you are thinking about fire sprinkler installation, it helps to know which type of sprinkler you’ll need for your building.

Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems

When you are thinking about fire sprinkler system installation, you have a number of options – each offering a slightly different level of fire protection and each suitable for different types of buildings.

Wet Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems – the most common type of fire sprinkler, wet pipe fire sprinklers are found in most homes and office buildings. With a wet pipe fire sprinkler, all the water is stored under pressure directly in the sprinkler pipes and is released by heat-activated sprinkler heads. The best thing about a wet pipe fire sprinkler system is that they activate instantly – there’s no lag time between the fire sprinkler heads opening and the water being released.

Dry Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems – dry pipe fire sprinkler systems are similar to wet pipe, except the water is not stored in the pipes. Instead, the pipes are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen gas. When the sprinkler heads open, the gas is released and a valve opens that allows water to flow out through the open fire sprinkler heads. This causes a slight delay (usually only a second) in water discharge, but it is useful in buildings where water could freeze if kept in the pipes.

Deluge Fire Sprinkler Systems – a deluge fire sprinkler system is very similar to a wet pipe fire sprinkler system, except the fire sprinkler heads are kept open at all times – they are not activated by heat. Deluge fire sprinkler systems are operated by a special fire alarm that opens a valve to release the water when activated. Once the valve opens, it must be shut off manually.

Because of the potential for water damage, deluge fire sprinklers are most commonly in places where rapid fire spread is a concern. You will most commonly find deluge fire sprinklers installed near high rise windows, warehouse bay entries or anywhere else where a fire could escape quickly.

Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems – a pre-action fire sprinklers are basically a combination of wet pipe and dry pipe fire sprinkler system. In a pre-action fire sprinkler system, water is not stored in the pipes until a fire detection device detects a fire. When it does detect a fire, the detection device opens a valve within the pipes to let the water in before the sprinkler heads open. When the heads open, the pre-action fire sprinkler system reacts as quickly as a wet pipe fire sprinkler system.

You will find pre-action fire sprinklers installed in areas that are at high risk for serious water damage in the event of  accidental fire sprinkler activation.

If you need fire sprinkler installation in your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building, call Confires today!

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