SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

Overview

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Sprinkler systems are a vital aspect to any fire safety system.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides comprehensive information in NFPA 25 regarding the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems.  NFPA 13  is the standard for the installation of sprinkler systems.

AFP installs, tests and maintains a variety of sprinkler systems.

Wet Sprinkler Systems

  • The sprinklers in these systems are attached to pipes containing pressurized water. Individual sprinklers in the vicinity of a fire are activated by heat, allowing water to discharge immediately.
  • Wet-pipe systems are used wherever temperatures are high enough to prevent freezing, typically above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When water freezes it expands. Burst pipes may render a system inoperable and can cause significant water damage. Sometimes, an anti-freeze solution is added to certain sections in a wet sprinkler system to prevent freezing.

 Dry Sprinkler Systems

  • In a dry-pipe system, sprinklers are attached to pipes that contain pressurized air. When heat activates the sprinklers, the air pressure is reduced, allowing the dry-pipe valve to open (or trip) and water to flow to the sprinklers.
  • Dry-pipe systems are usually used only when temperatures are not high enough to prevent freezing (Below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  • In situations where only a few sections lack heat, it is recommended to use a combination of dry and wet-pipe systems.

Deluge Sprinkler Systems

  • In deluge sprinkler systems, sprinklers are always open. They are connected to a dry pipe that is connected to a main water supply. A fire detection device controls the main valve. When it is activated, the valve opens, allowing large amounts of water to flow through all of the sprinklers.
  • The purpose of a deluge sprinkler system is to quickly wet down an entire hazard area to prevent a fire from spreading. They are usually used in facilities that contain hazardous materials such as flammable liquids, chemicals, and explosives. Rooms with high ceilings sometimes use deluge systems, as it is difficult to direct water over the burning area from such a distance.

Pre-Action Sprinkler Systems

  • These systems contain an additional fire detection device that will recognize a fire before the sprinklers are activated. The sprinklers are attached to a pipe containing air that may or may not be pressurized.
  • When the detection device senses a fire, it opens the main valve, allowing water to flow through the pipes before the sprinklers are set off. When the heat activates the sprinklers, water flows through immediately, as in a wet-pipe system.
  • Pre-action sprinkler systems are usually employed in areas that are at risk for serious water damage due to damaged sprinklers and/or piping.

Foam Sprinkler Systems

  • A foam fire protection system should be used to protect buildings that contain flammable or combustible materials and other hazards that a normal water-based fire protection system could not suppress in the event of a fire.
  • The foam sprinkler system suppresses the fire by separating the fuel from the air and in some cases, remove heat from the hazard.
  • These systems typically inject a foam/water solution into a water-based wet or deluge system.

Antifreeze Loops

  • Antifreeze loops protect areas that are prone to freezing. A check valve or backflow preventer isolates the antifreeze loop from the rest of the fire sprinkler system. There is also a main drain and a fill cup to assist in the draining and refilling of the loop. Antifreeze loops are filled with a variety of different liquids, the most common being propylene glycol and glycerine.
  • Systems that are constructed out of CPVC plastic pipe should only be filled with glycerine. NFPA requires the testing of antifreeze loops on an annual basis. AFP tests the antifreeze solution with a refractometer to ensure that the solution will stand up to freezing temperatures.

Fire Pumps

Fire pumps are needed when the local municipal water system cannot provide sufficient pressure to meet the hydraulic design requirements of the fire sprinkler system. This usually occurs if the building is very tall, such as in high-rise buildings, or in systems which require a relatively high terminal pressure at the fire sprinkler in order to flow a large volume of water, such as in storage warehouses. Fire pumps are also needed if fire protection water supply is provided from a ground level water storage tank.

  • Fire pumps may be powered either by an electric motor or a diesel engine, or, very occasionally a steam turbine.
  • The fire pump starts when the pressure in the fire sprinkler system drops below a threshold. The sprinkler system pressure drops significantly when one or more fire sprinklers are exposed to heat above their design temperature, and opens, releasing water or alternatively when other firefighting connections are opened, causing a pressure drop.
  • Types of pumps used for fire service include: horizontal split case, vertical split case, vertical inline, vertical turbine, and end suction.
  • A jockey pump is a small pump connected to a fire sprinkler system which maintains pressure on the system piping.

Inspection

Sprinkler systems should follow a monthly, quarterly, and yearly structured inspection. Each inspection should address different aspects of the system for proper function. Every five years, an internal diagnosis of the sprinkler system should be performed and records of each inspection should be kept. A test of the sprinkler system should follow the same schedule. We keep track of when your system are due for inspection so you don’t have to. We will call and/or email when equipment is due for inspection.

Repair

Our technicians are experienced, and qualified to repair any problems with your sprinkler system. If your system needs servicing, AFP can be there quickly to correct the problem. Even if it’s an unexpected repair, you can be assured we’ll do the job right and have you operational and safe again.

Install

We partner with architects, building supervisors, business owners, and general contractors to ensure the correct fire protection system is installed for your building. We are thorough with each project and always test the system for optimal functionality. We also provide on-site training to those in charge of the system and remain a resource for them to reach out to any time.

Backflow Preventers

Fire Hydrants

Underground Work

Whether we are installing, repairing, or maintaining your wet sprinkler system, a deluge sprinkler system, a dry sprinkler system, foam sprinkler system, or fire pump, Associated Fire Protection follows the highest standards and guidelines to ensure your building is safe.
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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides comprehensive information regarding sprinklers in NFPA 25 which is the standard for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems and NFPA 13 which is the standard for the installation of sprinkler systems.

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