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How Does a Fire Sprinkler System Work

As part of any fire safety system, sprinklers are one of the most useful tools a building can have to fight against flames. Fire sprinkler systems have been around for over two centuries and continue to dominate the idea of fire safety, especially in commercial and industrial settings.

Fire sprinkler systems are known to reduce the chances of a fatality due to a fire, reduce property damage or loss, and extinguish a fire without the need for further action. Fire sprinkler systems are popular fire safety tools, yet there are still many myths about them that cause misconception on how they work and what happens after they go off.

Call your local fire protection company in Toronto to schedule your fire sprinkler system installation today. Add another element to your fire safety plan to ensure the safety of everything inside the building, whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial.

How Does a Fire Sprinkler Work?

Fire sprinklers work because of heat, not smoke. Since heat rises, the flame below heats the air, which will gravitate to the ceiling of the room. The heat incites a chain reaction that causes a glycerin-based liquid to expand, break, and activate the sprinkler head.

There’s a common misconception that the smoke from a flame is what triggers fire sprinkler systems. However, smoke will only activate a smoke detector and not the sprinkler. Imagine having a fire sprinkler system in your kitchen. Anytime you accidentally burned something, the sprinklers would go off. That is why it’s essential to have both preventative measures in place.

The standard sprinkler system has a glass bulb that contains a glycerin-based liquid. When it comes in contact with heat between 135 and 165 degrees, the liquid will expand, causing the glass bulb to shatter. This reaction activates the sprinkler head.

How Do Sprinklers Douse the Fire?

Most sprinkler systems use water to douse the fire. It needs a connection to a reliable source of water that is typically outside of the building.

Each sprinkler head has a valve inside that opens to allow water flow. The heat that activates the sprinkler head will also cause the valve to open. The water inside the pipes is pressurized, which then forces the water through the sprinkler head upon the valve opening.

The water pressure in the pipes is essential for the system to work properly. You want the water to shoot out of the sprinkler head in an arc to douse the fire in different sections to prevent it from reigniting. If there is no pressure in the pipes, the water will trickle out of the sprinkler head, making it ineffective.

Does Every Sprinkler Head Activate?

Another common misconception is that when one sprinkler head activates, so too do the rest of them throughout the building. This is why many do not like sprinkler systems for the myth that the water will damage areas of the building that isn’t engulfed in flames.

The truth is that only the sprinkler head activated by the fire’s heat will go off. The rest remain pressurized and ready to go. It’s an effective and efficient fire extinguishing system that won’t cause unnecessary damage to the building.

As little as one or two sprinkler heads can douse a fire completely, meaning the system uses less water and you won’t have to call the fire department. If the fire continues to spread to other areas of the building, each sprinkler head in the fire’s path will activate and release water.

Fun fact: fire sprinklers use up to six times less water than a fire hose does. So, if you’re fire sprinkler system can douse the fire quick enough, you’ll save yourself from more damage between the flames and water.

Fire Sprinkler Installation and Inspection

A fire sprinkler system is an essential part of any building’s fire protection system. However, they are not something that just anyone can install. The same goes for inspecting and maintaining the system.

Your local and provincial government will have regulations on how and who can provide fire sprinkler inspection services, and how often you should have someone come and maintain the system. Failing to comply with those regulations could lead to a serious emergency occurring during a fire, leading to catastrophic repercussions.

Always follow the regulations for inspecting and maintaining your fire sprinkler system. The Ontario Fire Code states that fire sprinkler systems should undergo inspection regularly. Contact a certified fire sprinkler system repair service to ensure your system is up to code.

CrownFire – Your Local Fire Protection Service

Fire sprinkler systems are a crucial step in any fire safety plan. Whether you live in a residential building or own a commercial or industrial business, a fire sprinkler system will serve to extinguish any fire and protect every person and property within.

If you’re ready to set up your fire sprinkler system or have your existing one inspected, contact us today.


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