Water & Foam Sprinkler System
It is best to have protection in commercial buildings in case of fire or smoke. Installing a sprinkler system is a good preventative measure to take. There are various types of fire sprinklers and below are descriptions of these so you know which one is best suited for your commercial building.
Wet Sprinkler Systems
A wet pipe sprinkler system is fixed fire protection using piping filled with pressurized water supplied from a dependable source (either municipal or connected to a fire pump). Heat sensitive automatic sprinklers spaced and located in accordance with recognized installation standards are used to detect a fire. When a fire occurs, the heat sensing device (located on the sprinkler head itself) operates (fuses) allowing the flow of water. Upon operation, the sprinklers distribute the water over a specific area to control or extinguish the fire. As the water flows through the system, a flow alarm is initiated to indicate the system is operating. Only the individual sprinklers activated by heat immediately over or adjacent to the fire operate, minimizing water damage. Since the piping system is normally pressurized with water, the system piping temperature should be maintained above 32°F [0°C].
Dry Sprinkler Systems
A Dry Pipe Sprinkler System, as are the other systems noted above, is an automatically operated sprinkler system. The system piping from the Dry Pipe Valve to the heat actuated sprinklers is filled with pressurized air or nitrogen. The system enables the system piping to remain dry until an automatic sprinkler is actuated.
A Dry Pipe System is primarily used to protect unheated structures or areas where the piping may be subjected to freezing. The system can be installed in any structure to automatically protect the structure contents and/or personnel from loss due to fire as with a wet pipe sprinkler system. When a fire occurs, the heat produced will operate a sprinkler causing the air pressure in the piping system to escape. When the pressure trip-point is reached, the dry-pipe valve opens allowing water to flow through the system piping and through the actuated sprinkler. At the same time, a water motor alarm or electric pressure switch to sound an electric alarm. The water will continue to flow and the alarm will continue to sound until the system is manually shut off.
Preaction Sprinkler Systems
These systems require independent detection systems to be used in conjunction with closed pipe sprinkler systems. The detection system may be hydraulic, pneumatic or electric, and may be actuated by smoke, heat, optical detectors, or by manual actuation. Detection systems typically operate before the sprinklers fuse and give an alarm. Preaction systems are usually supervised with air pressure. The purpose of the supervision is to monitor the integrity of the system. If the sprinkler head is broken or fused, or the piping is network is broken, the pressure will be reduced in the piping and an alarm will sound. There will also be an alarm due to low air supply pressure.
Types of Preaction Sprinkler Systems
An automatic sprinkler control valve (typically a deluge valve) is activated, by either a sprinkler head opening or the detection system activating. Water is discharged into the piping and is discharged out of the now open sprinkler (if it has opened).
The detection system activates the automatic sprinkler control valve (deluge valve), allowing water to flow into the piping system. However, if no sprinklers have activated the water remains in the piping without discharging. If sufficient heat is created by the fire, on or more sprinkler heads will activate. This will allow the water to flow out of the sprinkler and begin to control or extinguish the fire. In addition to a sprinkler opening, a supervisory signal is provided to the control panel indicating a loss of air pressure.
Water is only discharged after two operations have occurred. Both a sprinkler head must open (loss of air pressure) AND a detection device must activate. When both of these things have occurred, then and only then with the automatic sprinkler control valve (deluge valve) open and begin discharging water into the piping system.
Deluge Sprinkler Systems
Deluge systems are used where there are typically fast growing and/or high-risk hazards. These types of environments are best suited for the use of a deluge type sprinkler system or spray system. A deluge system consists of a fixed piping system, an automatic sprinkler control valve (deluge valve) and open-head sprinklers (sprinklers without a heat-sensing device like the aforementioned systems). When the detection system is activated, typically by heat detectors (due to the type of environment), the automatic sprinkler control valve (deluge valve) will open and introduce pressurized water into the piping and all nozzles will discharge onto the hazard. There is a greater risk of water damage should an accidental discharge occur, as all the nozzles are open.
Standard sprinkler heads are used, but they are all open. The activating elements have been removed so that when the control valve is opened water will flow from all of the sprinklers simultaneously and deluge the area with water.The deluge valve is normally closed. The valve is opened by the activation of a separate fire detection system.
Deluge systems are used where large quantities of water are needed quickly to control a fast-developing fire. Deluge valves can be electrically, pneumatically or hydraulically operated, and often opened by a fire detection system installed in the same area.
Foam Sprinkler Systems
Foam liquid concentrates are suitable for use on fires involving ordinary hydrocarbon petroleum products, and some foam liquid concentrates may also be suitable for use on fires involving polar solvent fuels.
A Vanguard fire protection system designer first identifies the fuel load and selects the foam liquid concentrate according to its ability to be used for a given fuel load. Upon selecting the foam liquid concentrate, the designer then selects equipment, including discharge devices, based on listing/approval compatibility of the equipment with the concentrate.
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