Fire sprinkler systems are an essential part of building design as they save lives in the event of a fire. Along with other fire protection measures, both active and passive, a well-maintained fire sprinkler system can lessen the spread of the fire by suppressing flames and smoke – giving people time to exit the building safely while the emergency services arrive.
There are four main types of fire sprinkler systems that can be adapted to meet the needs of various locations in order to ensure the protection of assets and employees, and maximise response time.
#Deluge sprinkler system
Deluge sprinkler systems have sprinkler heads that are always open, meaning there is no heat-sensing element in the sprinkler head and so they require an external heat or smoke sensor to activate. Once heat or smoke is detected, the pipes are filled with water and this is then released to all sprinkler heads creating a flooding effect across the entire area that is covered. The deluge sprinkler system is most commonly used by industries with flammable liquids that are likely to rapidly spread.
#Dry pipe sprinkler system
Dry pipe systems don’t store water in the pipes, in a similar way to deluge systems. Instead, the pipes are filled with pressurised air or nitrogen which is released if the valves in the sprinkler head are activated by fire. The pipes then fill with water and this is discharged over the flames or smoke.
While the dry pipe sprinkler system is more expensive and complex than a wet pipe system, it is the most appropriate system for cold climates where there is a high risk of pipes freezing.
#Pre-action sprinkler system
Pre-action sprinkler systems are another type of dry pipe sprinkler, but they require a two-step activation process. When heat or smoke is detected, the pre-action sprinkler system opens and allows water into the pipes. The sprinkler heads can then be individually activated to release water over the fire.
This two-step process enables the system to be shut off in the event of a false alarm, which will protect assets from water damage.
Pre-action sprinkler systems are useful in places where accidental discharge could cause irreversible damage, such as data centres, libraries and museums.
#Wet pipe sprinkler system
Wet pipe sprinkler systems are the most common systems in use in both commercial and residential buildings. When a fire starts, the heat activates the nearest sprinkler head, releasing pressurised water that is stored in the pipes.
Each sprinkler head in a wet pipe sprinkler system is independently activated, which again reduces the possibility of water damage in the event of a false alarm. Wet pipe sprinkler systems are a low-maintenance and inexpensive option mostly used in commercial properties, offices and schools.
Installing fire sprinkler systems are an essential part of a complete fire safety protection plan for any building. If you have a project where you would like to use our services to transform your design into 3D to allow it to be collaborative with other services, then please don’t hesitate to contact us – we will be happy to provide you with any help you need.