Having the right sprinkler system in a building is a must. Just as there are many types of buildings in varying conditions, there are also different fire sprinkler system types. If you don’t have an adequate and proper system, your building won’t have the protection it needs.

A sprinkler system consists of a series of heads that are connected to a system of pipes, which are usually installed on the ceiling, although they can be installed on walls as well. Pipes are generally made out of fire-resistant plastic, steel, or copper. Depending on the system type, the pipes can be filled with water, pressurized air, or nitrogen gas.

Wet-Pipe Fire Sprinkler System Type

This is the most commonly used indoor sprinkler system. It’s also very simple to maintain and reliable. With this type of system, the water is stored under pressure directly in the pipes. When the sprinkler heads detect heat, they release the water immediately.

However, just because wet-pipe systems are the simplest and most common, they’re not always the best. In cold weather, the water can freeze and damage the pipes. They also require regular maintenance to ensure that there are no accidental leaks.

Dry-Pipe Fire Sprinkler System Type

Dry-pipe systems have similar designs to the wet-pipes, aside from the fact that the water is not stored in the pipes themselves. The pipes contain pressurized air or nitrogen. A remote valve is held in a closed position, and will not allow water to enter the pipe unless heat causes the sprinklers to activate. Once activated, the air escapes, the valve is released, and water then flows into the pipe and out through the open sprinklers.

Since dry-pipe systems are more complex, they require more maintenance and service. Also, unlike wet-pipe systems, these do not release the water instantly. There is a short delay as the valve is released and water flows through the pipes.

Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler System Type

This type of system has the basic concept of a dry-pipe system, as water is not typically stored in the pipes. In a pre-action system, however, the water is kept from the piping via an electronically operated valve. When a fire is detected, the device opens a valve located inside the pipes to allow the water to come in prior to the sprinkler heads opening. This means that two separate events must happen in order for the sprinkler discharge to be initiated.

The pre-action system may also be setup with a double interlock mechanism, which includes pressurized air or nitrogen in the piping. This feature monitors the pipes for leaks and holds water from the piping in order to prevent accidental or inadvertent detector operation.

Deluge Fire Sprinkler System Type

The deluge system is ideal for highly hazardous areas that contain a fuel hazard with a high rate of heat release. It brings multiple open sprayers into action at the same time in the event of a fire. This type of sprinkler system is typically found installed near warehouse bay entries, high rise windows, or in any place where a fire could spread rapidly.

The sprinkler heads, which are open at all times, are not activated by heat. They are operated by a fire alarm that activates the valve so that the water is released. The valve must be shut off manually after it is opened.

Each of these fire sprinkler system types has its use. A professional will help you determine which type would be ideal for your building.