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Wet vs. Dry Pipe Fire Sprinkler System: Which is Right for You?

Every building, whether it is commercial, residential, or industrial

must be in compliance with the building code and often that means having a fire sprinkler system installed. When it comes to sprinkler systems, it is important to know the different types of systems and which one is right for you. Two terms you may have heard are wet pipe fire sprinklers and dry pipe fire sprinklers. Knowing the difference in these two systems may help you decide which fire sprinkler system is optimal for your unique needs.

Wet Pipe Sprinkler System

In a wet pipe system, the pipes are filled with pressurized water. When a fire occurs, the sprinkler system will immediately discharge the water to extinguish the fire. This is the most commonly used sprinkler system. Wet pipe systems are also easy to install and maintain which can mean a lower cost to the consumer. If you need basic fire protection, a wet pipe sprinkler system is a great choice for you. However, this system will not work in areas that fall below 40⁰ F. If you are located in an area that has cold winters, a wet pipe system may not work well for you. It is also advisable to keep in mind that wet pipe systems are always filled with water so if there is a leak in the pipe the water could cause damage to your property.

Dry Pipe Sprinkler System

A dry pipe sprinkler system is filled with air or nitrogen which is under pressure. This system works well in areas that have temperatures that fall below 40⁰F since there is no water in the pipes, so they do not have the risk of freezing. The pressurized air or nitrogen in the pipes prevents the water from flowing. When a fire occurs, the pressure in the pipes drops and a valve opens to allow the water to flow out and extinguish a fire.  This type of sprinkler system is typically costlier to install and maintain because it is more complex than a wet pipe fire sprinkler system. However, if you have areas such as refrigerators or loading docks that have freezing temperatures, you may need a dry pipe fire sprinkler system. One disadvantage to a dry pipe fire sprinkler system is that the response time during a fire is longer depending on the distance between the water source and the sprinkler head. Dry pipe systems are more expensive, so it is recommended to install a wet pipe system when it is possible, but a dry pipe system may be installed as an addition to a wet pipe system to protect colder environments.

Dry and wet pipe systems are two common fire sprinkler systems that are used for fire protection. There are many other types of sprinkler and suppression systems that you can consider when installing fire protection in your facility. Talk to a fire protection expert to figure out which system can best protect your building and the people in it.

 

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