Fire Sprinkler Types & Uses

fire sprinkler types

Fire Sprinkler Types & Uses

Fire sprinklers have been used for the protection of many business establishments for many years, but now they are also gaining popularity in residential houses. A fire sprinkler system can help suppress smoke and flames and can help to reduce the spread of fire. In buildings where fire sprinklers were maintained properly 99% of fires were controlled.

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Today Fire sprinklers have reduced death rates and property loss by more than 65%. Fire sprinklers can protect property and people from significant damage. Studies show that if fire sprinklers are installed then thousands of lives can be saved. Therefore, fire sprinklers are both important to people’s lives and properties.

Fire Sprinkler Types:
Since 1812 when the very first sprinkler system was invented, there have been major developments and there are now many different fire sprinkler types that have been developed to deal with emergency conditions. Fire sprinkler systems have been improving massively over the years. 

In this article we will discuss different types of sprinkler systems:

1. Wet Pipe System
These are the most commonly used in commercial and residential settings. Wet pipe systems are made up of steel that is filled with water. The water in the pipes is under a certain amount of pressure. When the fire begins the heat activates the sprinkler head and releases pressurized water stored in pipes.

The wet pipes system provides a faster reaction than any other system. The wet pipe system is the simplest and reliable and are suitable for offices, schools, and commercial buildings.

wet pipe sprinkler system


2. Dry Pipe System
In dry pipe systems, the pipes are not filled with water. They are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen. When there is a sudden increase in temperature the sprinkler head is activated. This causes the dry valve to open and release compressed air through the sprinkler head and then discharged over the smoke or flames.
This system is more costly than wet pipe systems. But it is most suitable in cold climates where there is a high risk of frozen pipes. It is usually installed in unheated buildings like garages & warehouses.

dry pipe sprinkler system diagram.10

3. Pre-action Fire Sprinkler System
In this type of system, the pipes are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen like the dry pipe system. The pre-action system requires two processes to activate.
First, when smoke is detected, the pre-action valve opens and allows water to fill in pipes. Then, the sprinkler heads are activated and immediately release water over the fire. Pre-action fire sprinkler system works in two steps and helps prevent accidental system activation.
These types of systems are ideal for libraries, museums, server rooms and so on.

pre action fire sprinkler system.11

4. Deluge Fire Sprinkler System
The deluge fire sprinkler system does not contain any gas or water. Once heat is detected the deluge valve opens and sends water to fire the sprinklers. It is different from previous systems because all of the sprinklers that are connected to the pipes are always open.
These types of systems are used in high hazard facilities where the risk of rapid-fire spread is high. For this reason, deluge systems are used in places such as chemical plants, aircraft hangars, and manufacturing companies that require a fast-acting deluge system to work.

deluge fire sprinkler system

How Do Fire Sprinklers Work

Now that we have taken a look at the different types, let’s look at how fire sprinkler systems work. Modern sprinkler systems have been shown to reduce personal and property loss by up to 70%. So how do fire sprinklers work?




1. They Detect Heat
It’s commonly thought that fire sprinklers are triggered by the presence of smoke. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality of it is, the heat is responsible for activating the system and not the smoke. If it were the smoke that was the trigger, it could be activated by simply burning some cooking. 
If there is a fire, the heat will rise and collectively gather and spread across the ceiling.

Once the air has reached a certain temperature and hits the sprinkler head, the system is activated and water is released onto the fire. Many sprinkler systems consist of a very small glass ball, filled with a liquid that is glycerin-based. When heat (135-165 degrees Fahrenheit) reaches the glass ball, the liquid expands and shatters the glass bowl thus activating the sprinkler.


2. Sprinklers Extinguish The Fire
Each and every sprinkler head is attached to a permanent reliable water source. if there is a fire, heat activates the sprinkler head and opens a valve. This allows the water to flow and be released from the sprinkler head and onto the fire.

It’s critical that fire sprinklers are connected to a pressurized water supply. This allows for the sprinkler head to “spray” the water in an arc form which works to extinguish the fire more thoroughly thus stopping the chances of the fire spreading or reigniting.


3. Sprinklers Reduce Water Damage

Many believe fire sprinkler heads are chained together and when one sprinkler is triggered, they are all activated. This would simply mean exchanging fire damage in return for water damage. Luckily, sprinkler heads operate on an individual basis.

Many fires are completely extinguished on the activation of only two to three sprinklers. This confines the water damage to only the affected area. It’s worth mentioning that sprinkler systems spray out around seven times less water than a common garden hose, this combined with the individual operation make sprinkler systems a must for any business.

fire sprinkler types save domestic lives vector

Fire Sprinkler Installation
Professional and effective fire sprinkler installation should be your number one goal when fitting a system. It is essential that your system is carefully installed and properly tested to give you peace of mind and total protection of your work premises. 

A sprinkler installation is not complete until the system has been tested and passed by the proper authorities. Prefabricated system parts are commonly offered which allows the sprinkler system to take place at the same time as minimizing any disruption.

Fire sprinkler systems are a complex string of components that are expertly engineered, installed, tested and maintained to effectively contain a fire. The very first steps fire sprinkler plan designers take is to identify the occupancy and the level of structural hazard loss that the sprinkler system is protecting. The designer will then look at what is required for the structure type.


Once the plans have been drawn up, installation can start. Once the sprinkler system has been tested and passed, it is the building owner’s responsibility to adhere to regulations regarding the testing and maintenance of the system.


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Fire sprinkler installations have several stages of completion:


Pre-installation meeting

  • Schedule of tasks with timings
  • Fire sprinkler blueprints
  • Review special materials


Delivery of materials

To deliver and store system materials to a pre-arranged location in order for an inspection to take place.


Fire sprinkler layout

Hangers, branch-lines, calculation plates, main, sprinkler heads, check valves, main drain, pressure gauges, alarms.


Fire Sprinkler Installation

Shall be installed by experience certified sprinkler installation professionals that are trained to work to the highest quality.

  • Completion
  • Completion of install
  • Hydrostatic testing
  • Final system inspection

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) click here.
If you would like to arrange a free fire risk consultation, contact us

My Fire Safety. Co-Space, 25 Town Square,
Stevenage, SG1 1BP. 0800 999 11 25

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