How Do Fire Sprinklers Work?

Fire Sprinklers are a great way to protect your property from a fire. Fire sprinkler systems automatically respond a fire, reacting quickly and limiting property damage. If you own a commercial or residential building, chances are you’ll want fire sprinkler systems for occupant safety and to protect your building.

First, a Fire is Detected

In order for a fire sprinkler system to activate, a fire must be detected. Typically, fire sprinkler systems are activated by heat, not smoke. There is a common misconception that smoke will activate your sprinklers. This is not true. Depending on the type of system, when the temperature in a room reaches 135 – 155 degrees Fahrenheit, the sprinklers will react quickly to extinguish the fire.

A lot of sprinkler heads have a glass bulb containing a glycerin-based liquid that expands as the temperature rises. When it gets hot enough, the bulb shatters and the sprinkler system activates.

Sprinklers Use Water to Control Fire

After a sprinkler system is activated, it reacts very quickly. Within seconds, a valve opens, releasing pressurized water from the sprinkler system’s pipes through the sprinkler heads. A fire sprinkler system is usually connected to a water source outside of your building, and sometimes utilizes a fire pump to increase the water pressure. When the sprinkler heads open, the pressurized water flows through the heads and douses the flames to extinguish the fire.

What About Water Damage?

A concern many people have when it comes to fire sprinklers is water damage. Some people are worried that damage from the sprinkler system’s water will cause just as much damage as the fire itself. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

1. Only One Sprinkler Head Activates at a Time.

When a fire is detected, only the sprinkler head that is closest to the fire will activate to put out the fire. Many people think that all the sprinkler heads will go off at once, causing water to flood the entire building. However, since only one activates at a time, the fire can be extinguished while limiting the amount of water used.

2. Fire Sprinklers Use a Fraction of the Water Used by Fire Departments.

If you choose to forego the fire sprinklers and count on the fire department to put out a fire, chances are you’ll end up with more fire damage and more water damage. Fire department hoses utilize much more water than a fire sprinkler system.

3. There are Waterless Alternatives.

If you have delicate equipment or assets that would be completely ruined by water, you can install a fire suppression system that does not use water in these areas.

Fire Sprinkler Systems Installations

Reliance Fire Protection is ready to assist you in the design and installation of a fire sprinkler system for your commercial facility. We can install sprinklers in new construction or provide retrofits for your existing building. Our team has experience with many types of sprinkler systems, and we can help you determine which system will be the best for your application. Reliance also provides service plans and regular inspections to keep your fire sprinkler systems in their best condition. Contact Reliance to learn more!