"...RAD ticked all the boxes and most importantly to include reliability, quality assurance, communication and of course common sense"
Jamie, Swilland Mill Luxury Hotel Accommodation
Concealed Fire Sprinkler Heads – the way forward
The Domestic and Residential Fire sprinkler industry have managed to reduce the visual impact of domestic fire sprinkler systems by developing concealed fire suppression systems which incorporate concealed fire sprinkler heads. Now domestic fire sprinkler systems have become more accepted, people have become more familiar with concealed fire sprinklers and realize how effectively these types of fire sprinkler heads can fulfil a very valuable function while merging into its surroundings.
Are people’s perceptions of Fire Sprinkler Heads correct or incorrect?
Most people only really notice fire sprinkler heads in places like warehouses or large department stores where the visual impact is considered relatively unimportant. After all, a large department store may have more of an interest in advertising the fact that their customers will be protected in the event of a fire than using Concealed Fire Suppression Systems in order to disguise them visually!
What is the difference between pendant sprinkler heads and concealed fire sprinkler heads?
(fig2) shows that pendant domestic pendant head needs to project below the ceiling level in order to ensure that the water can travel horizontally if the head is activated. Although this type of residential head was once popular they have been superseded by concealed sprinkler heads (fig 1) far more widely used nowadays.
A residential concealed fire sprinkler head is a ‘fast response’, two stage devise, the size of a down light. The cover plates of these units are normally coloured white. In the event of a fire reaching its operating point, the flat plate will drop from the devise and the deflector plate of the sprinkler head will then drop below the ceiling level. As the temperature at ceiling level increase to 74 degrees Celsius, a bi-metal strip activates and releases the seal which enables the full flow of water to be directed towards the fire.
Needless to say, these devises are very inconspicuous and, looking up at them, all you can see is a small, flat plate approximately 60mm in diameter which is the same colour as the ceiling.
Domestic Fire Sprinklers can remove the requirement for compartmentation in modern open plan design. However, the impact of such an open plan design would be lost if the areas concerned were
covered in unsightly fire sprinkler heads however, concealed sprinkler heads enable architects to provide a modern open plan feel to a design while at the same time satisfying the requirements of the building regulations to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of the building in the event of a fire.
The pipe work for a fire sprinkler system, as in any plumbing system in a house, is kept within the ceiling void and combined with concealed sprinkler heads, will ensure that the occupants are unaware that a Concealed Fire Suppression System has been installed in the property.
Are there any disadvantages in concealed fire sprinkler heads?
While concealed fire sprinkler heads have the advantage of being aesthetically pleasing, they are classified as ‘fast response’ heads and as such rely on the sprinkler system activating at an early point of development of the fire with a minimum quantity of water. This means that the cover plate must release at a carefully, pre-determined temperature – not too early which would result in false activations and not so late that the fire has grown too large to be successfully extinguished with the amount of water available..
The factors that would slow down the cover plate release could be something like decorators mastic applied around the cover plate or even a coat of emulsion paint applied at the time of re-decoration. If the cover plates of these fire sprinkler heads are painted, the result is to slow down the operation of the concealed sprinkler head. This has lead to an increase in popularity for the ‘semi concealed’ type shown in ‘fig 3’ especially in care homes.
This problem highlights the importance of having an annual service and inspection of any residential or domestic fire sprinkler system especially as a very large majority of them incorporate concealed fire sprinkler heads.
The RAD Fire Sprinkler Company Ltd is one of the top FIRAS accredited companies installing Concealed Fire Sprinkler Systems in London and the South East.
Phone 01892 680090 today to discuss your requirements with an engineer – not a sales person!