There are many fire sprinkler systems that are best in different environments and circumstances. Since different circumstances give rise to different kinds of fires, sprinkler systems must be able to respond accordingly. Depending on the building and the activities performed inside, one type of fire sprinkler system is likely to perform better when compared to another. For this reason, Keystone Fire Protection Co. offers four different types of fire sprinkler systems. Each one has benefits that better serve different environments and customer needs. In this article, we cover the different fire sprinkler systems and the environments in which they work the best.
Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems
When you picture a fire sprinkler system, the image that comes to your mind is likely a wet pipe sprinkler system. A wet pipe sprinkler system consists of a system of pipes that perpetually contains pressurized water. If the system is activated due to the presence of a fire, the sprinkler heads located at the ends of the pipes will open, releasing the water inside. Since the water is essentially incorporated into the system, wet pipe sprinklers are very quick to respond to a fire and can extinguish or contain the flames before the damage spirals out of control.
Another benefit to wet pipe sprinkler systems is that they are extremely versatile and can be modified to fit almost any environment. With the addition of a fire pump, a wet pipe sprinkler system ensures that the water pressure and volume will always be adequate, making this sprinkler system suitable for warehouse, office complexes or other industrial buildings. Additionally, backflow preventers can be installed to prevent water from returning to and contaminating a potable water source, thus increasing the number of water sources that can supply the sprinkler system. Between these modifications, as well as the overall efficiency and reliability of this system, wet pipe sprinkler systems are among the most common types of fire sprinkler systems used.
Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems
Although wet pipe sprinkler systems are extremely effective against a spreading fire, they can present challenges in cold climates. When the weather is cold, the water stored inside the pipes of a wet pipe sprinkler system is susceptible to freezing, which can block the flow of water in an emergency. Furthermore, cold weather can damage the pipes that make up a wet pipe sprinkler system. As water freezes and turns to ice, it expands, causing so much pressure that the pipes can become warped or even burst.
It’s in these situations that a dry pipe sprinkler has the edge. Instead of water, the pipes in these systems are filled with pressurized air, such as nitrogen. When the sprinkler system is triggered, the air is released, lowering air pressure inside the piping. That decrease in air pressure allows water to then flow into the pipe system and through the sprinkler heads. While this results in a slight delay from when the fire starts and when the water is released, with dry pipe sprinkler systems, you can be sure that you will always have a properly functioning and undamaged fire sprinkler system in cold temperatures.
Foam Sprinkler Systems
Some warehouses and facilities store flammable liquids. Fires that break out in these kinds of locations can be extremely difficult to extinguish using water alone. Luckily, foam sprinkler systems are quite effective at putting out fires on spilled flammable liquids. These fire sprinkler systems contain a specialized foam mixture that is released when a fire is present. As the foam covers the flames, it blocks its access to the oxygen needed to continue burning. In other words, the foam completely smothers the burning liquid, preventing further damage to property and people.
Foam sprinkler systems can be equipped with different kinds of foam to address different circumstances. The two main types of foam are Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) and Film-Forming FluoroProtein foam (FFFP). AFFF foam has a significant water content, which forms an aqueous layer over the flames that not only puts out the fire but also helps cool the burning liquid and prevent re-ignition. FFFP foam is essentially a combination of AFFF foam and fluoro protein foam, a protein-based foam fortified with fluorocarbon surfactants. The result is a foam that combines the extreme burn resistance of a fluoro protein foam with the cooling and fast-acting aqueous layer of AFFF foam.
HI-FOG Sprinkler Systems
A rising option for homes and offices is the HI-FOG sprinkler system. These systems use a highly pressurized mist to contain fires early on while using less water than a wet-pipe suppression system. In the event of a fire, these systems release the mist at a high velocity that both cools the area affected by the flame and disperses air away from the source of the fire, depriving it of essential oxygen. HI-FOG fire sprinkler systems are not only highly effective at quickly detecting and suppressing fires, but also are extremely versatile and can use a fraction of the water compared to other fire sprinkler systems. The result is that damage is limited, both in terms of fire and subsequent water damage.
At Keystone, we offer our clients a wide range of fire sprinkler systems. We expertly evaluate every client’s needs and will make recommendations for a suitable solution based on a variety of factors. By matching a specific fire sprinkler solution to every client’s circumstances, we ensure that every client will have the best protection in the event a fire breaks out. Contact us to learn more about our fire sprinkler systems that will meet your needs.