Understanding How Fire Sprinklers Work and the Installation Process

Fire sprinklers have been the subject of many misconceptions and myths. Many of these result from people not really understanding how they work. These myths lead to fears among the public and affect the massive adoption of fire sprinklers as the most effective form of fire protection. One of the biggest fears is the sprinkler system can accidentally go off. In such an event, water will be poured in a room for extensive periods soaking up everything while preventing no fire. The loss could be massive since the sprinkler would not be fighting fire and thus the water may keep spilling until the pipes are disconnected from the source.

How Fire Sprinklers Work

A look at how the fire sprinklers work, will reveal why this is cannot happen. A sprinkler is basically a heat sensitive plug that is attached to a piping system connecting it to a water source. In the standard residential sprinkler, the plug is held in place by a glass tubing which also encompasses a liquid element inside. The liquid is sensitive to the temperature around the room. The range for most common fire sprinklers is from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

When a fire breaks out, it produces such heat in the early stages. The smoke and heat produced rise up and the liquid in the tubing begins to respond. It expands quickly and bursts the glass releasing the water. The deflector on the bulb distributes the water targeting the core of the fire to reduce the heat and prevent the fire from spreading.

Fire Sprinkler Systems Mechanism Trigger

Only heat from a fire can trigger the mechanism required to set the fire sprinklers off. The fire sprinklers do not respond to smoke, just heat and in their particular spaces. A sprinkler only goes off if the temperature in its room reaches the set temperatures. The sprinklers work independently of each other and in most cases only one, at most two sprinklers are needed to stop the fire or control it until the fire department arrives. Different studies have shown that chances of a well maintained sprinkler system failing is almost nil.

Successfully Functioning Fire Sprinkler Systems

A large part of the successful functioning of the fire sprinklers is their installation. Installation is only proper if it has been done by a trained and certified contractor. The contractors have to follow the guidelines and standards set by the regulation body. The installation process includes the following steps:

  • Pre installation meeting
  • At this stage the fire sprinkler blueprints are reviewed as well as the materials to be used.
  • Delivery of fire sprinkler materials including pipes at set storage spaces for inspection.
  • Layout of fire sprinkler systems and the various parts including sprinkler heads, control valves, check valves, main drain, hangers, pressure gauges, calculation plate, hangers, branch lines mains and others.
  • Installation of fire sprinkler system
  • Completion of the fire sprinkler system by conducting hydrostatic testing and final inspection.

The right installation and maintenance ensures your fire sprinkler systems do not malfunction especially when you need it most.