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Fire Sprinkler Systems, What You Need To Know

A Fire Sprinkler System is a simple, but key active component of a Domestic or Commercial Building's Fire Protection System.

Close Up Of Fire Sprinkler System Head

They have been around since the late 19th Century, when they were pioneered by Hiram Stevens Maxim. They are now extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million Sprinkler Heads fitted each year in ceilings or side walls.


A Fire Sprinkler System consists of a Water Supply, a Water Distribution Piping System and Sprinkler Heads but, how do they work?


A Fire Sprinkler System discharges water automatically when a Fire is detected. Controlling and extinguishing a Fire, these are both a Fire Detection and Suppression System.


There are four main types of Fire Sprinkler System:

  • Wet Pipe

  • Dry Pipe

  • Pre-Action

  • Deluge

In a Wet Pipe Fire Sprinkler System, the most common type in Residential Buildings, cold water is stored under pressure in the pipes and is released immediately by Sprinkler Heads when the predetermined heat level is reached. This is different to Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems which take slightly longer to activate and are typically used in Unoccupied Buildings where pipes may freeze and burst.


A Pre-Action Sprinkler System is actually a combination of Wet and Dry Pipe Systems; great for areas at high-risk of water damage. Water is not stored within these pipes until a Fire is detected, when the water is then released to the Sprinkler Heads. The response time is as fast as a standard Wet Pipe Sprinkler System. Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems are also available and are effective in large areas such as Offices and Shopping Centres.


Deluge Sprinkler Systems are used in areas such as Warehouse Loading Bays and High-Rise Buildings. In these systems, the nozzle is always open and they are triggered by an alarm which opens a Water Release Valve.


A Fire Sprinkler Systems Head


A Fire Sprinkler Head is the component of a Sprinkler System that discharges water when the Fire has been detected. At Compco Fire Systems, we can hide Sprinkler Heads so they don't detract from the décor, but if you want them colour coordinated, we can do that too!


Each Sprinkler Head contains a trigger mechanism, which opens to release water onto the Fire.


The plug inside the head that holds back the water may be made of Wood’s Metal, also known as Lipowitz's Alloy. This is a mixture of Bismuth, Lead, Tin and Cadmium that melts at a relatively low temperature. Another alternative is for a small glass bulb to be fitted. This alternative contains Glycerin, a liquid which expands and shatters when it gets hot, releasing the water.


Despite what is portrayed in many famous films such as Die Hard, Sprinkler Heads actually activate independently. Only Sprinklers above the Fire will operate, maximising water pressure over the Fire, reducing damage to the building.


Why Choose Compco Fire Systems


Whether Residential or Commercial, a Fire Sprinkler System should only be installed by a company certified by a reputable body, such as ourselves. We are certified by the Global Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB).


We’re equipped with every skill you need. Our knowledge covers BS EN12845, NFPA, Factory Mutual, BS8489 and BS9251. Our Fire Suppression Systems also comply with BS9001 and External Auditing.


There is no doubt that Fire Sprinklers save lives and as one one of the UK’s largest Fire Engineering Companies, we provide the knowledge and support you need, right from the start.


Fire Sprinklers offer the fastest and most effective Fire Safety measure available, with buildings protected by them suffering just 10% of the losses suffered by unprotected buildings. An undoubtable choice, every time.



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