An important part of the fire protection system is a fire sprinkler. They are regarded as an active component of the domestic or commercial building’s fire protection system. It has been observed that fire sprinklers are in huge demand and it is widely used by the seniors who feel safe and secured using it.
Although fire sprinklers are simple, but they form a key component in the fire protection system. Without it, the fire protection system remains incomplete. Fire sprinklers are generally installed inside walls or ceilings and the sprinklers have a consistent supply of water. It also contains sprinkler heads coupled with water distribution piping system.
When a fire is detected even if it is not triggered by smoke, the sprinklers discharge water. As it extinguishes or controls the fire, hence it works as a suppression and fire detection system. Many people say that smoke can set off the fire sprinklers. However, this is not the case; because high heat can only trigger the head of the sprinklers.The heads of the sprinklers usually have a glass bulb with coloured liquid inside it. The sprinkle head is sealed by this bulb and water is prevented from flowing out.
The advent of the sprinkler systems dates to the late 19th century. Hiram Stevens Maxim pioneered the sprinkler systems. They are in wide use and an estimated amount of 40 million sprinkler heads are fitted every year. There are many fire sprinklers companies that sell fire sprinklers in huge quantity worldwide.
- Different Types of Fire Sprinklers: Broadly, the fire sprinklers can be categorized into four main types and they are as follows:
- Dry Pipe
- Wet Pipe
The dry pipe sprinklers are generally used in unoccupied/unheated apartments where pipes have the tendency of freezing and bursting. They generally take longer time to activate compared to the other sprinklers. The storage of pressurised air or nitrogen air is found in these pipes and they are usually connected to a water tank. When there is a fire, the dry pipe sprinklers activate, and the air starts to leak out of the pipe. As a result, the water flows though the pipes and reach the sprinkler heads.
Fire damage is a major problem in many places, so deluge sprinkler system is used in such areas. Areas such as high-rise buildings or warehouses use these types of sprinklers. The nozzle of these sprinklers is usually open. Whenever there is a fire, an alarm triggers fire and opens a water release valve.
In wet fire sprinklers, the overhead pipe is connected with the water which is under pressure. When one or more of the connected sprinklers activate due to a fire, the water starts to discharge from the sprinkler head. They need less maintenance and they can be installed easily. They are the most recommended fire sprinklers and the first choice of many. As wet fire sprinklers are easy to use and easy to modify, it is one of the best sprinklers to install in the houses. However, the fire sprinkler companies do not recommend to install the wet sprinklers in environments were temperature is below 40 degrees F.
A combination of dry and wet pipe systems is pre-action sprinklers. Typically, they are used in places of high risks of water damage.
Some fire sprinkle companies also deal in automatic fire sprinklers and they are mostly used in workplaces and shopping centres.
How do the fire sprinklers work? Irrespective of the type of fire sprinklers, they are made to work for fulfilling the same purpose of extinguishing fire. The fire sprinklers are designed in such a way so that it saves the life of people and give them enough time to escape their houses in case there is a sudden fire. The fire sprinklers companies prioritize saving the lives of occupants over the property and that is the reason why a general guideline is given while fire sprinklers are sold to the customers. There should a provision of at least 10 minutes stored supply of water and an audible local alarm. Most of the fire sprinklers are able to reduce the damage caused to a house until they have a complete control over a fire.
There is a specific amount of water flow in every system coupled with pressure specs to attain the 10-minute demand of water. There are several factors that are responsible for proper working of these fire sprinklers.
- A fire sprinkler should be installed in accordance to the size of your home. Hence, if the house is large, then it would need a bigger fire sprinkler with a greater number of sprinkler heads.
- The kind of pipes that are used in the fire sprinklers; more specifically the diameter of the pipe and the materials used.
- The source of water and whether it can provide enough pressure to meet the water flow requirements.
- The fire sprinkler system operates using a network of pipes that are placed vertically mostly within the closets and walls. The network of pipes also run horizontally within the attics or ceilings. The sprinkler heads are joined at regular intervals in the network of pipes and it is done so that the heads can deliver water from the walls or the ceilings. Generally, the fire sprinkler companies install adequate number of sprinkler heads to cover the essential areas and there is a difference of around 8 feet between the placement of the heads.
Most of the houses prefer to use wet home sprinklers because the water remains in the piping network.
Installation of the fire sprinklers: Selecting the right contractor to install the fire sprinkler is one of the most critical aspects of any home installation. The installations are not very complicated however the contractor must know how to design the fire system with the help of hydraulic calculations and make sure that there is enough flow and pressure.
The article gives an overview about fire sprinklers and how they are made to work by different companies.
Author for local newspapers and national magazines in the greater midwestern area, loves sailing with his wife Deb.