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How fire sprinkler systems work

Fire sprinklers do a fantastic job. They detect when a room is too hot and activate a burst of water that can eradicate fires and reduce the risks that are associated with smoke inhalation.

To get a more in depth understanding of how these systems work, take a look at the information below.

How They Work

Fire sprinklers are fire prevention systems that automatically protect your home when they are activated. Smoke alarms only alert you to the presence of fire and can be triggered by little things like burnt toast, whilst fire extinguishers are only effective if you can get your hands on one during a fire.

Fire sprinklers can help to reduce your problem before you even have the chance to call the fire brigade. You aren’t limited by choice with fire sprinklers. There are a number of different systems that you can have installed and whatever your requirements there should be something for you.

If the idea of a sprinkler system appeals to you, but you haven’t been completely impressed by the systems you’ve seen so far, read through the options below to find out if there are some better routes to take out there for you. You can have any of the following systems detailed below installed within your home.

The Different Fire Sprinkler Systems

When you choose to install a sprinkler system your first choice is between wet pipes or dry pipes. Wet pipe systems have a constant stream of water running through them, whilst dry pipe systems are connected to a water source but are filled with compressed air.

Wet pipes are the most commonly installed systems as people generally like to think that water would instantly be released in the event of a fire. Dry pipe systems still offer automatic protection, but their valves must first be triggered before water floods the pipes. If you have a home that isn’t constantly heated this may be the best choice for you, as it reduces the risk of your pipes overfilling and bursting.

Concealed Sprinklers

If you are worried about ruining the look of your home these could be the sprinklers for you. They are also known as decorator sprinklers and blend in with your ceiling, without ruining your décor. They usually feature a recessed head and can even be designed in different colours. The clue cover over the sprinkler head matches your ceiling and will dissolve when it comes into contact with enough heat.

Control Mode Sprinklers

These systems are the standard design that sprinkler companies will generally offer you. They protect you in the event of a fire by dousing it with a deluge of water. These are wet pipe systems that can dampen material that is closely located to any fires to reduce the risk of them catching fire too.

(ESFR) Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems are most suited to offices and storage spaces. If you have a small office in your home or have a utility room filled with storage boxes you may want to consider one of these systems. These are generally only chosen if you think there is a high risk of fire as they will suppress flames extremely quickly.

Extended Coverage Sprinklers

These systems cover a large area of space. They are probably not the best solution for a standard roomed home, but if you have a large open planned home they may be the best choice for you. These can be installed with the option to have quick responses from the fire service when they are activated too, but this is not an essential part of the design.

These sprinklers also dampen their surroundings to reduce the risk of fires spreading uncontrollably.

Fast Response Sprinklers

If you think that you home is only at limited risk from fires, this may be the best system for you. They respond to a lower level of heat than most systems so aren’t suitable within homes that have open fireplaces. They can stem fires at the earliest possible opportunity.

Low Pressure Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems are typically installed in multi storey properties that have water pressure that is more reduced the higher up they go. The pipe size in these buildings are smaller than typical systems and don’t require fire pumps either.

If you live in a large block of flats or in a penthouse apartment, this could be the best choice for you.

Residential Sprinklers

These sprinklers target bursts of water into only one room at a time, reducing the damage to any other non fire affected rooms and target the affected areas with a burst of water.

Suppression Sprinklers

These sprinklers work best against quick spreading, aggressive fires. They do not pre wet any areas. They simply release a large amount of water over the area that has triggered the sprinkler system to eradicate it fully and stop it spreading in that way. These are best suited to homes that are particularly vulnerable to fires (e.g. aren’t flame retardant or resistant at all).

Water Mist Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems aren’t typically used in domestic properties. The mist sprinkling systems don’t disperse a deluge of water; instead they suppress heat and fire by reducing any oxygen that may be feeding the fire in the room.

If you have a lot of electrical equipment this may be a better choice for you as the damage caused in suppressing a fire would then be substantially reduced.

Choose Carefully

The options available to you are certainly extensive, so consider them carefully. There’s bound to be a fire sprinkler solution that’s perfect for you.

Contact some contractors and ask them for a number of quotes, this will help you to choose between them all. The most important thing you need to know about fire sprinkler systems is that they increase fire prevention in the home by 90%.

Be sure to determine your needs; a system may catch your eye because of its fantastic features, but that isn’t what sprinkler systems are really about. Consider your home’s hazard level, design area and density, and the needs of the design.

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In 2010-11, there were 388 fire-related deaths in Britain, 28 fewer than in 2009-10. The highest number recorded was 1,096 deaths in 1979. (Source).

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