FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM
Fire Sprinkler systems are a very effective and reliable way to protect almost any building or asset from fire. They can be adapted to cover any situation, from industrial and commercial applications through to residential use. Their role in asset and life protection is gaining recognition in the eyes of the authorities and insurance companies.
Whatever your fire sprinkler system requirements, please get in touch today and we’ll be glad to help. From design and installation, through to repairs, upgrades and maintenance, our experienced engineers will be able to ensure your system is working properly to protect your business and assets.
How do Fire Sprinklers Systems Work?
Fire Sprinkler Systems operate via a network of pipes mounted at roof/ceiling level, lined with discharge nozzles. Each nozzle has a heat-sensitive glass phial in the discharge aperture which prevents the valve from opening. This phial is designed to burst at a certain temperature, the most common being 68°C, although a range of temperatures are available for the different applications.
When the heat radiated from a fire causes the glass phial to burst, a pin, no longer held in position by the phial, drops and allows the valve to open. Often the sprinkler pipework is pressurized with air and, when the pressure is released, this change is identified by a pressure sensor. This sends a signal to start the pump, the water flows through the pipework, out of the nozzle and suppression commences.
In the event of a large fire, there is a high chance that multiple nozzles will be open simultaneously. The more nozzles open, the more water is required to supply them. A standard sprinkler system should be designed to cover around 300m2 of floor area, which accounts for a significant amount of nozzles and therefore a large water requirement. As a result, water supply is normally stored onsite in a large water tank. This ensures that there will be a sufficient supply of water for the sprinkler to extinguish the fire, or at least keep it under control until the fire service arrive.
Pro’s and Con’s of Fire Sprinkler Systems:
- Fire sprinklers are a long term, low maintenance investment and are often an insurance requirement in high-risk areas.
- However, fire sprinklers only activate on detection of the heat from a fire. This is fine in low level applications around machinery or in office areas, but at the heights commonly encountered in many high-bay buildings, the fire would be an established blaze before being detected.
- It should be remembered that sprinkler heads are activating at roughly the same temperature as point type heat detectors. Heat detectors are not considered suitable above 7.5m. For this reason, we recommending taking logical and risk-based approach when specifying or installing sprinkler systems. They may not necessarily be the best solution for every risk area.
- Sprinkler systems are good for dealing with surface fires. However, if the fire is deep seated (for example, in waste recycling applications), the falling water may not adequately penetrate into the mass of material to actually extinguish the fire.
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