Hailed as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages, Fire Sprinkler systems have been in use for the last 150 years. At Rymechanical we understand the need to ensure that if they do break out, office or home fires are quelled quickly and efficiently. Rymechanical are accredited installers of ‘Wet’, ‘Dry’ and ‘Pre-Action’ Sprinkler systems and are happy to assist domestic and commercial clients in choosing the most appropriate configurations.
What Fire Sprinkler Options are there?
Wet Sprinkler Systems
Used in properties where there is no risk of water within the pipes freezing, ‘Wet’ system pipework is filled constantly with pressurized water. When a sprinkler is activated by high temperature as a result of a fire, water is discharged immediately on to the seat of the blaze. In an adequately maintained sprinkler system within building or dwelling, 99% of fires are controlled by sprinkler systems alone.
Dry Sprinkler Systems
Where there is a distinct possibility of water within pipework freezing, ‘Dry’ systems are employed. The pipework in ‘Dry’ systems are filled with an inert gas and when activated by high temperature, a drop in air pressure causes an inside valve to open and water to fill the relevant sprinkler, discharging on to the seat of the fire.
Pre-Action Sprinkler Systems
Designed for areas where unintentional sprinkler discharge would be highly problematic, ‘Pre-Action’ Sprinkler Systems are used in facilities with high levels of electrical equipment, carbon-copy document storage or warehouses. These require a series of pre-conditioned ‘activation’ events to begin the sprinkler process and allow water to fill pipework which when dormant is normally filled with compressed air. ‘Activation’ events are suited to client request but could include the activation of a smoke detector and heat activated sprinkler head in unison.
Benefits of Sprinklers
Unlike traditional methods of fire detection, which are only designed to alert building occupants to the danger of a fire, Sprinkler systems actively work to extinguish a fire at its root, and can therefore assist those too vulnerable to escape a fire independently. They do not depend on knowledge of escape routes and fire escape accessibility. The BAFSA (British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association) estimates the chances of surviving a fire when sprinklers are present as 95%, compared to a 60% survival rate if only traditional smoke detectors are present. The BAFSA also advises the use of sprinklers can reduce overall fire damage by 97% and reduces water required to extinguish a fire from a third party source (like the fire and rescue services) by 90%. Furthermore, the installation of fire sprinklers can reduce the likelihood of a building being destroyed by fire damage, or of fires becoming fully formed and so contributing to pollution of the environment through the emission of carbon monoxide and other fumes.
How does it work?
Fire vulnerable areas are divided into subsections and grids of pipework are installed with sprinkler heads fitted at regular intervals. Sprinklers can be fitted on ceilings as well as storage units on walls or even into floor ducts to ensure all areas are protected.
Dependent on the type of sprinkler system fitted, pipes are then filled with the relevant gas or water. In the event of a fire, thermal elements on the sprinklers are activated by hot gases, causing water to be discharged extinguishing the fire. Only sprinkler heads situated in the immediate fire area are discharged, ensuring areas not affected by fire are preserved, reducing potential damage and overall water required.