You’ve probably heard all about fire sprinklers, and most likely seen them installed in businesses you frequent, but did you know there are different types of fire sprinklers? It’s true – there are a myriad of different systems, and each fire sprinkler system caters to a different environment. Where a home may require a wet pipe system, a industrial factory might need a deluge system. When choosing the right fire sprinklers for your property, it’s important to know the differences in the systems that are available.
Wet Pipe Systems
These systems are called “wet pipes” for one particular reason – water is always present in the pipes, prepared to be released whenever the system is triggered. This allows for quick release of much-needed water to a burning fire. You’ll often see these systems used, as they’re one of the more popular ones. Generally, it’s a bad idea to use these sorts of fire sprinklers in a location where the pipes have a risk of freezing.
Dry Pipe Systems
The dry pipe system is similar in most ways to the wet pipe system… except, of course, rather than storing water in the pipes constantly (as the wet pipe systems do), the dry pipes are, well, dry. When water is needed to put out a fire, a dry pipe system utilizes pressurized air to push the water through the pipes.
The delay between the activation of the sprinkler and the water actually reaching the sprinkler head is noticeable, but this system is the best for cold-weather regions. The risk of a burst pipe is far too great in places where the weather is consistently cold, so the dry pipe system will often be used in those places.
Preaction sprinklers are often explained as being a combination of the wet and dry pipe system – while water is not stored in the pipes during rest, once a fire is detected, water is rushed into the pipes prior to the sprinkler actually opening up. The sprinkler must then be activated externally by an additional trigger.
This system was designed with one purpose in mind – providing extra safety and security in the case of an accidental triggering or malfunction. Essentially, these systems are used to protect areas that might be thoroughly damaged if fire sprinklers were to go off by accident, such as a room full of expensive servers or computers.
Deluge systems, as the name implies, are designed to provide quick water to a space with little effort. Similar to a wet pipe system, water is stored in the pipes continually, but additionally the heads of the sprinkler are kept open at all times. What this means is that, rather than reacting to heat and then opening, this system will be hooked up to an external alarm system, such as a smoke alarm. Once that alarm goes off, the deluge system activates.
These systems are important in industrial areas, where the risk for fire is high and needs to be dealt with quickly.