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What are the Different Types of Sprinkler Systems for Buildings?

There is a wide range of sprinkler systems available, and the right choice depends on many factors. Safety is of paramount importance, and businesses and homeowners should take the necessary precautions to prevent tragedy from striking and to uphold fire safety regulations.

There are actually numerous types of fire sprinkler systems but it might sound like a broad term. All sprinklers serve the same purpose – to protect and preserve – but achieve their objectives in different ways.

When working to safeguard life, safety cannot be ensured with standard fire detection equipment or generic smoke detectors. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of automatic sprinkler systems for buildings, their functionalities, and a closer look at the reasons for their popularity. 

What are the Different Types of Sprinkler Systems for Buildings?

There are different types of fire sprinkler systems in place to save lives in the event of a fire. They are designed to prevent any damage to the surrounding area and property. Fire protection systems help suppress smoke and flames and reduce the likelihood of a fire spreading. They reduce the overall damage and provide the chance to evacuate while the local fire services arrive on the scene.

There are four main types of sprinkler systems for buildings. Each type has been adapted to the requirements of various facilities, residencies, and complexes to maximise response times. They also ensure that all employees and assets remain protected. 

Let’s take a look at the main types of sprinkler systems.

red fire sprinkler in action

Wet Pipe System

Wet pipe systems are a common type of residential sprinkler system as well as a popular choice for most commercial buildings. When a fire breaks out, the temperature activates the nearest automatic sprinkler head, water is discharged from the pipe storage. Following the initial activation, the surrounding sprinkler heads follow the same process, but it is important to remember that they will only release pressurised water if heat is activated. This prevents water damage if the alarm has been raised by mistake.

Wet pipe systems are a typically inexpensive, low-maintenance option suited to office buildings, schools and commercial businesses.

Dry Pipe System

Unlike wet pipe systems, dry pipe sprinklers do not store water in their piping system. Instead, they are filled with air or nitrogen, which is released upon activation of the sprinkler head. The pipes then fill with water and are propelled into the smoke and flames. 

This type of system is slightly more complex and expensive than the likes of a wet pipe system. These systems are most adept in colder environments where frozen puppies can prevent emergency services from doing their jobs.

Pre-Action System

Pre-action systems are another type of dry pipe sprinkler. However, they are activated in two steps. When high temperatures or smoke are detected, the system prompts the pre-action valve to open, allowing water to enter the pipes. 

The sprinkler heads can be individually activated to pour water onto any flames or smoke nearby. The two-step process allows for the system to be halted in the event of a false alarm. This prevents any property damage from the copious amounts of water being released.

Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are used in places that are prone to accidental discharge which could lead to severe disaster and irreparable damage. Pre-action systems are commonly found in facilities that store high-value property such as: 

  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Data Centres
  • Banks

Deluge System

Like pre-action systems, a deluge system is another type of dry pipe system. The difference here is that the sprinkler heads remain open constantly. They do not operate via a heat detector element in the sprinkler itself. They include an external smoke or heat sensor. Once the sensor detects a rising amount of heat, the pipes fill with water and are diverted to all open sprinkler heads, creating a flooding effect across the coverable area. 

Deluge systems are commonly found in buildings containing highly flammable liquids. If flammable liquids are ignited, they could lead to devastating consequences and loss of life.

The Importance of Fire Sprinkler Systems

A National Fire Chiefs case study analyses the importance of fire sprinkler systems in residential homes, protecting vulnerable people. 

sprinkler detecting fire in room

In December of 2018, it is believed that a fire was started in a bedroom of a flat occupied by a patient in a Sheffield residential facility, which accommodates people with a range of physical and mental disabilities.

The facility has been designed and installed with a sprinkler system. The sprinkler system activated when it detected the fare and controlled the blaze successfully until the fire crews arrived on the scene to completely extinguish the leftover flames.

If the fire had spread without notice, It would have unleashed chaos on the residents of the home, putting lives at risk, obliterating property and resulting in the loss of life. Because there was a sprinkler system in place, there were no reported casualties and the damage to the property was kept to a minimum.

In instances where sprinklers had not operated, National Fire Chiefs report that there are 111 reported casualties. 

This amplifies the importance of upholding proper fire safety regulations and ensuring that a sprinkler system is installed to protect occupants and property.

For Further Support on Proper Fire Safety Measures

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If the information provided has prompted further questions or inquest into solutions for your business, or questions on different types of residential fire sprinkler systems, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to answer all of your questions.

Mist system was a great solution for our renovation needs and them team at RAD have been great. Always communicated clearly and been on hand to discuss over the phone as needed. Would highly recommend!
09:32 17 Jul 22
I have used RAD for a couple of projects and found them to be good to deal with. They did a pair of 3 storey open plan houses and seven three and four story town houses. The sprinklers were to improve fire safety, allow more flexible space and comply with building regulations. The sprinklers were far more cost effective than the mist type systems and look very discrete when installed.
Paul Jeary
15:50 11 Jul 22
It has been a pleasure to deal with RAD for installation of fire sprinklers at our site is Sevenoaks. They were fast, professional, working to time and quote, which made it easy to work with them.
Katrina Horobin
12:03 29 Jun 22
My requirement was a bit unusual for RAD in that I wanted a mist system in one room of a rented house. I had no drawings or technical back up. RAD were very helpful and repositioned the unit after the initial installation. Luckily with the help of Sonny, the engineer it all worked out very well.
Simon Gurney
16:16 12 May 22
I have used RAD for the last 10 years for all of my housing developments in need of a sprinkler system. Easy process from start to finish and no issues or problems throughout. Always someone at hand to answer a querie and we have a great working relationship with the team at RAD. Would highly recommend.
15:33 12 May 22
Diligent & a very professional team. A joy to deal with. Will certainly be calling on them to help with many more future schemes.
Jason Tema
22:17 08 Jul 19
Great team, fitting sprinklers, saving lives & property... What more could you wish for!!!
Colin P
17:53 01 Jul 17
Excellent company & great service... This company rocks! They sprinkle fires & save lives!!!
Music N Videoz
07:15 16 Dec 16
As somebody who feels that it should be a necessity for all properties to have fire sprinkler systems, I am a big fan of this company. I have used them numerous times to service my home system and they are very knowledgeable. I would highly recommend their service.
Kate Fraser
09:25 30 Mar 15
One look at Rad Fire Sprinkler's website will tell you that these guys know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to Fire Sprinklers and the legislation surrounding fire safety. A very trustworthy company.
Adam Hudson
16:45 15 Nov 13

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RAD Fire Sprinklers Ltd.
58A St John’s Road
Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9NY

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