Home Improvement

FIRE SPRINKLER: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

FIRE SPRINKLER

Fire Sprinkler – I would like you to know that Fire sprinkler are a defense to fire accidents in our homes. For the safety of our family, we purchase and apply a lot of measures. From intruder devices to health insurances, and even security cameras; we do this just to assure their security. Not to mention the fire defenses installed in our homes.

However, people believe that installing fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are enough defenses for fire accidents. This is definitely false. Aside from the two mentioned, fire sprinklers are vital factor of any fire management process. Apparently, there are two classifications of fire sprinklers; namely the industrial fire sprinklers and the domestic fire sprinklers.

If you are installing fire sprinklers in private houses, it is recommended to use the domestic types. On the other hand, industrial fire sprinklers are suited for office areas. The edge of fire sprinklers lies on how it acts once there is fire. It has an automatic process which means it is not dependent on either batteries or electricity.

It releases water supply once it senses that there is an abnormal increase in temperature in the house. This process assures us that the fires are successfully extinguished before it becomes uncontrollable.

When you already installed your fire sprinkler, it does not necessarily mean to get rid of other defenses. If there are vast fire accidents, it can work together with the smoke alarm and fire extinguisher. Making use of the three defenses raises the success of complete firefighting to almost 98%.

It is advisable to install domestic fire sprinklers during the construction phase of your building rather than later stage and also, it saves on costs. There are plenty of fire sprinklers to choose from, but still the best way to choose before purchasing on any merchandise provider is to conduct survey.

The installation is being done by experienced people in this field. You can easily identify if the fire sprinkler is installed properly when the sprinkler heads are placed inside the ceiling; since there are pipes behind the wall and ceiling, it must be connected to these areas. One advantage of domestic fire sprinklers is that only sprinklers on the affected part of the house are activated; hence, you can save water.

It is clear to us that safety comes first to our family. Installing these devices may seem costly, but what can money do if the safety and security of our family is at risk. Thus, fire sprinklers is a defense to fire accidents in your home and are as essential as any other security devices. You should regularly check and repair it just to guarantee that it responds quickly in case of emergency.

Also read: Find Sprinkler Repair Services

Why Do I Need Fire Sprinklers?

need-fire-sprinklers

The idea of a fire breaking out in your house or business is a frightening one. If a fire begins to spread it could destroy home, or worse still, could harm your family. Fire damaged items can always be replaced, but families cannot. Fire prevention safety measures are a must.

In 2010 there were more than 300 recorded fatalities caused by fires in the UK. British residential and commercial safety regulations require that fire alarms are installed inside all properties. As the statistics show, these cannot be effective all of the time.

You May Not Be Fully Protected

Although smoke alarms can alert you to the presence of a fire, they aren’t capable of protecting you against fire damage or fatal accidents. These alarms can fail if the battery powering them runs out. There is also no guarantee that the alarms will wake you if a fire ignites whilst you sleep. Then there is the worry that you won’t be able to reach your fire extinguisher if it is in a room that is inaccessible because of the fire.

A fatality from a fire has never been reported when the home has been fitted with a sprinkler system. These systems are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to protect their home long term. Their track record has undoubtedly been proven and it is most likely just a matter of time before they become standard additions to newly built homes.

Benefit of Fire Sprinklers

Reduced Home Insurance Prices

Installing fire sprinklers in your home can considerably reduce the amount of money you pay for your home and contents insurance. As the sprinklers reduce the amount of damage that will be caused in the event of a fire your premiums will be reduced by around 15 to 20%. Make sure that you let your insurance company know when you’ve had them installed.

Increased House Value

In this economy it can be extremely hard to finalise a sale on your home. Any added extras that your house has can push up its price. Having a sprinkler system fitted will appeal to those looking for a home as it will be extra safe.

It will also appeal to those buying for the rental market as they’ll be able to achieve higher rental rates on it. People will prefer to rent homes that they know are safe, so if you are a landlord installing them, it is a great thing to consider.

Reduced Damage In The Event of a Fire

If you have sprinklers installed in your home and fire does strike, you will sustain 90% less damage than you would if you did not have a sprinkler system installed. If you are unlucky enough to be affected by fire you’ll still be able to take comfort in the thought that it could have been much worse. As well as saving you money in repairs it’ll also reduce the risk of a drop in your home’s value.

You’ll Be Helping the Fire Brigade do their Job More Effectively

Home fire sprinkler systems only use about 1% of the water that the fire brigade would use to extinguish a fire, because the water is concentrated over the heart of it. Installing one of these systems won’t require a larger water system either.

By reducing the amount of work that the fire brigade has to do, you’ll be helping them to get out to more people in a greater need than you, people who perhaps don’t have fire sprinkler systems installed.

They Can Be Cost Effective

You can either use a dry or wet pipe system. If you are interested in saving money with your sprinkler systems, you may wish to consider alternating the type of pipe you have seasonally.

Having a dry pipe system during the winter months also reduces the risk of water freezing in your pipes which could cause numerous issues in the event of a fire. You simply have your wet pipe systems drained after the summer months.

You can save money here and on your insurance payments. The system costs around £1500 to install and will last you between thirty and fifty years. You won’t have to pay for batteries to keep it working and it isn’t connected to your electric supply. With the savings you make, the system would have paid for itself over its lifetime.

Common Misconceptions About Fire Sprinklers

A lot of people put off buying fire sprinklers, because they worry that they will go off when there is no fire. The occurrences of this are extremely rare, and have become even rarer over the last couple of years due to improvements in the technology used.

The sprinklers will not go off unless there is a substantial amount of heat that would come from a large fire; the gases that are released in such cases also trigger the system. Lighting your fireplace or burning your toast isn’t going to flood your home.

There’s another common misconception that once one sprinkler is triggered all of them will be triggered, causing substantial and unnecessary water damage. They only go off in the areas of your home where the heat and gases are detected.

You’ve probably seen numerous films where someone triggers a fire sprinkler by putting a lighter closer to it, only to trigger all of the sprinklers in the entire building; put this down to artistic license, as it is completely inaccurate. People also worry that they will spoil the look of a home. This needn’t be the case any more. Sprinkler systems can now be integrated within your ceiling whilst still maintaining the same usability.

So don’t just think of fire sprinkler systems as fire prevention measures, they can also be an incredible investment into your home. Hopefully you’ll never have to rely on them to save your life, but you may be able to rely on them to help you sell your home or at least reduce your outgoings. They can help you to gain peace of mind in a number of different ways.

History of Fire Sprinkler Systems

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Fire extinguishers can dramatically increase the safety of your home. Although fires in the home are sadly still a common occurrence in the UK, they were much more common in the past. Open fires and candles had to be used because electricity had yet to be invented and unsurprisingly it was a lot easier for fires to start back then.

Fire safety is rather more comprehensive now and although fire sprinklers may not be the oldest advancement in personal safety they may have been around a bit longer than you think. They were first introduced in the early 19th Century. For more information related to the history of fire sprinklers continue reading our overview below.

The First Fire Sprinkler Systems

The very first sprinkler system was invented in 1812 in London. The system was devised for use in the Drury Lane Theatre. Numerous candles and open flames were required to illuminate the stages so that the theatre goers could enjoy the action on stage. Obviously this posed a rather serious fire risk.

Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet is named as the sprinkler system inventor on the patent documents. The first system differed radically from the systems we are familiar with today.

First of all, they weren’t automatic. He connected a reservoir of water to a distribution pipe which had a number of smaller pipes attached to it with numerous holes all over it. When water from the reservoir was dispatched to the distribution pipe it would send water through the smallest holes to put out any fires.

Of course the system would have been used much like we use fire extinguishers today, as a method of stopping fires as soon as they have been noticed. These sprinkler systems were later implemented in textile mills across America.

The First Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems

The sprinkler systems we use today are automatic. The first design of an automatic sprinkler system was created in 1872 by Phillip W. Pratt. The first of their kind was fully realised in the United States in 1874. The designer was Connecticut born inventor, Henry S. Parmalee, who himself was inspired by Pratt’s earlier patent. Those who have studied both patents agree that Parmalee improved upon Pratt’s design.

This automatic sprinkler system was first installed in a piano factory owned by its inventor. The device was reconfigured by Pratt numerous times between 1874 and 1890, when he added a glass disc which would shatter at certain high temperatures to allow water to flow freely putting out any fires.

This design has been the basis of the same design we use today and without it these sprinklers may work in a completely different way. These early automatic sprinklers were particularly popular in factories and large businesses which had a number of staff working there, alongside many large and extremely expensive machines and production lines.

Fire Sprinkler Systems in Common Use

Fire sprinkler systems were only used in business up until 1940. However, following this period new laws were passed in the United States that made it a mandatory requirement for a certain number of sprinkler systems to be installed in any buildings with a large enough number of occupants.

The types of buildings that implemented these changes included schools, hospitals, hotels and most other major public buildings, such as libraries and law courts. They were also installed in buildings and areas that were at a higher risk of fire damage than most places. These buildings included petrol stations, shopping malls, factories and power stations.

People began to see that these systems could reduce the work of the emergency services across the country, freeing them up to help more people in worse situations. The United States use sprinkler systems much more than we do in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

However this has changed over the last decade or so. Following a fire, which had a number of fatalities in Düsseldorf airport in 1996, German law now states that all airports and high occupancy businesses and areas across the country need to have fire sprinkler systems fitted.

There has never been a recorded instance of a fatal fire in the home of anyone that had a sprinkler system in place. There are now similar systems in place all across Europe, due to a number of similar instances. The last reported case of fatality due to the lack of sprinkler systems was in 2005, when eleven illegal immigrants died in the Netherlands, when the detention centre at Schipol airport went up in flames. It is now a legal requirement across Europe that any correctional facilities have sprinkler systems fitted.

The Sprinkler Systems of Today

Sprinkler systems are now coming into more common use in domestic settings. More and more home owners and landlords are investing in fire sprinkler systems in the home to ensure that their families and their property are secure.

The statistics associated with fire sprinkler system implementation speak for themselves. You are infinitely safer in your home if you have a sprinkler system fitted. The first country in the world to make it a legal requirement for all new builds to have sprinkler systems fitted was Wales.

The UK has since inspired a number of other countries to follow suit, including North America and most of Europe. This law includes all buildings, from university residences, hospitals, apartment blocks, airports, schools and public buildings.

It may only be a matter of time before it is a legal requirement for all buildings, regardless of age, to have sprinkler systems installed. Interest has been renewed in this cause all across the world thanks to the National Fire Sprinkler Networks of Britain and Europe.

As the years go by and the track record of these sprinkler systems continues with such impressive results, more countries will follow the Welsh example and make it a mandatory requirement to fit sprinkler systems in all new builds. Most countries across Europe have made it mandatory that all commercial buildings are fitted with fire sprinklers. They are obviously more effective and useful than smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

Know About Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire sprinklers do a fantastic job. They detect when a room is too hot and activate a burst of water that can eradicate fires and reduce the risks that are associated with smoke inhalation.

To get a more in depth understanding of how these systems work, take a look at the information below.

Fire Sprinkler Types

Here are 4 main types of fire sprinkler system:

  • Wet pipe
  • Dry pipe
  • Deluge
  • Pre-action

How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work

Fire sprinklers are fire prevention systems that automatically protect your home when they are activated. Smoke alarms only alert you to the presence of fire and can be triggered by little things like burnt toast, whilst fire extinguishers are only effective if you can get your hands on one during a fire.

Fire sprinklers can help to reduce your problem before you even have the chance to call the fire brigade. You aren’t limited by choice with fire sprinklers. There are a number of different systems that you can have installed and whatever your requirements there should be something for you.

If the idea of a sprinkler system appeals to you, but you haven’t been completely impressed by the systems you’ve seen so far, read through the options below to find out if there are some better routes to take out there for you. You can have any of the following systems detailed below installed within your home.

The Different Fire Sprinkler Systems

When you choose to install a sprinkler system your first choice is between wet pipes or dry pipes. Wet pipe systems have a constant stream of water running through them, whilst dry pipe systems are connected to a water source but are filled with compressed air.

Wet pipes are the most commonly installed systems as people generally like to think that water would instantly be released in the event of a fire. Dry pipe systems still offer automatic protection, but their valves must first be triggered before water floods the pipes. If you have a home that isn’t constantly heated this may be the best choice for you, as it reduces the risk of your pipes overfilling and bursting.

Concealed Sprinklers

If you are worried about ruining the look of your home these could be the sprinklers for you. They are also known as decorator sprinklers and blend in with your ceiling, without ruining your décor. They usually feature a recessed head and can even be designed in different colours. The clue cover over the sprinkler head matches your ceiling and will dissolve when it comes into contact with enough heat.

Control Mode Sprinklers

These systems are the standard design that sprinkler companies will generally offer you. They protect you in the event of a fire by dousing it with a deluge of water. These are wet pipe systems that can dampen material that is closely located to any fires to reduce the risk of them catching fire too.

(ESFR) Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems are most suited to offices and storage spaces. If you have a small office in your home or have a utility room filled with storage boxes you may want to consider one of these systems. These are generally only chosen if you think there is a high risk of fire as they will suppress flames extremely quickly.

Extended Coverage Sprinklers

These systems cover a large area of space. They are probably not the best solution for a standard roomed home, but if you have a large open planned home they may be the best choice for you. These can be installed with the option to have quick responses from the fire service when they are activated too, but this is not an essential part of the design.

These sprinklers also dampen their surroundings to reduce the risk of fires spreading uncontrollably.

Fast Response Sprinklers

If you think that you home is only at limited risk from fires, this may be the best system for you. They respond to a lower level of heat than most systems so aren’t suitable within homes that have open fireplaces. They can stem fires at the earliest possible opportunity.

Low Pressure Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems are typically installed in multi storey properties that have water pressure that is more reduced the higher up they go. The pipe size in these buildings are smaller than typical systems and don’t require fire pumps either.

If you live in a large block of flats or in a penthouse apartment, this could be the best choice for you.

Residential Sprinklers

These sprinklers target bursts of water into only one room at a time, reducing the damage to any other non fire affected rooms and target the affected areas with a burst of water.

Suppression Sprinklers

These sprinklers work best against quick spreading, aggressive fires. They do not pre wet any areas. They simply release a large amount of water over the area that has triggered the sprinkler system to eradicate it fully and stop it spreading in that way. These are best suited to homes that are particularly vulnerable to fires (e.g. aren’t flame retardant or resistant at all).

Water Mist Sprinklers

These sprinkler systems aren’t typically used in domestic properties. The mist sprinkling systems don’t disperse a deluge of water; instead they suppress heat and fire by reducing any oxygen that may be feeding the fire in the room.

If you have a lot of electrical equipment this may be a better choice for you as the damage caused in suppressing a fire would then be substantially reduced.

Choose Carefully

The options available to you are certainly extensive, so consider them carefully. There’s bound to be a fire sprinkler solution that’s perfect for you.

Contact some contractors and ask them for a number of quotes, this will help you to choose between them all. The most important thing you need to know about fire sprinkler systems is that they increase fire prevention in the home by 90%.

Be sure to determine your needs; a system may catch your eye because of its fantastic features, but that isn’t what sprinkler systems are really about. Consider your home’s hazard level, design area and density, and the needs of the design.

Types of Fire Sprinkler Heads

How to identify different types of fire sprinkler heads.

It is important that you understand why you have different fires sprinkler heads to protect life and safety. Especially if you are defining these heads for fire safety for kids. There is an open type of head or an automatic type of sprinkler head. The heads are set to go off at a predetermined heat index, which means that the fusible bulb or fusible link is triggered to activate the flow of water through the fire sprinkler head. The sprinkler head is designed to divert the water downward towards the heat signature, or fire.

fire-sprinkler-heads

It is not so important what kind of device that you use for the fire sprinkler head, what is important is that the fire sprinkler head is situated in a position to protect your life when a fire occurs. You can trust that these heads are good for you for life safety, as the power of the water that is released is so powerful that you will have major water damage as little as 15 minutes of the activation of the sprinkler heads.

So, knowing this you may be wondering what kind of sprinkler heads should you use and how different types of fire sprinkler heads can be identified.

Well one of the types that you should consider is the ESFR sprinkler.

It denotes a special type of sprinkler for fire suppression. It is an Early Suppression Fast Response sprinkler heads were to provide fire stopping with a design to be really quick, to protect the fires system and to protect water damage to the property. This is a really high tech. system and if you want to keep your property safe you should really think about this fire protection system as your main fire suppression system.

This is just a couple of different types of fire sprinkler heads identified.

Also read: Sprinkler Head Replacement

HOW MUCH?

The costs & work involved in fire sprinkler installation

If you’ve decided that you want to protect your home further from fire, why not consider installing a sprinkler system. For the protection they provide they are rather reasonable in price and the installation can be relatively straightforward, providing you go to the right company.

Work involved

Before the installation a few things need to be determined; the fire hazard level of your building, the design area and density and which design best suits your home/business.

The work involved in a fire sprinkler installation isn’t simple. You may think that because you installed protective smoke alarms in your home you’ll have no problem here, but you’d be wrong. This isn’t a DIY job. Don’t let your pride tell you that you can do it, remember why you wanted to install it in the first place – to protect you and your family.

If you are worried about your sprinkler system disturbing your décor, don’t be. They can be designed now to fit in with it without being too noticeable. A contractor will do all of this for you, all you need to do is choose the design of sprinkler and authorise the payment of it.

Fire Sprinkler System Installation

Obviously you should find a contractor who specialises in the right kind of installation for your building. You can find residential and commercial fire sprinkler installers all across the country.

Make sure that whoever you hire is fully certified to perform the installation. If at any point during the installation you are not happy or concerned about the level of work being produced, tell the contractor. With this type of equipment you have to be 100% confident in its abilities.

Fire Sprinkler System Costs

It may sound like a lot of money, but how much would you pay for peace of mind in your home? Fire sprinklers reduce the risk of fire damage in your home by 90%, surely that is well worth the £1500 price tag. It would cost a lot more to replace a damaged home, and remember some things that are lost in fires can never be replaced.

If you are installing fire sprinklers within a business the costs will be considerably higher, depending on the size and layout of your building. When you consider that the average lifespan of a fire sprinkler system is 30 to 50 years, this only equates to a rather small £30 to £50 annual spend.

If you are still unsure about whether or not a fire sprinkler installation is for you, call a contractor. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and you won’t be obliged to pay for any work to be done.

If you live in rented accommodation, speak to your landlord or letting agent. They may be interested in updating the fire safety in the building. If they aren’t, but you are adamant that you want to live in a home protected by fire sprinklers, offer to pay a small percentage of the price and explain that the sprinklers will push down the house’s insurance premiums and increase its value. Not many landlords could argue with that.

The Importance of Fire Safety at Home and in Business

Fires can be devastating. They can tear apart families and destroy homes. The worst thing about fires at home and within business is that most of them are entirely preventable.

By flouting general safety guidelines every day people put themselves at risk from third degree burns, smoke inhalation and in the worst cases death. Below is a run down of the fire hazards that are present within most homes and businesses.

Homes, Hotels and Care Homes

Over 72% of the recorded fatalities from fires occur in the home. Everyday, people start fires by falling asleep with cigarettes in their hands, leaving candles burning in unattended rooms and by leaving discarded items in front of open fireplaces. The fires that are started are careless and completely avoidable.

Another obvious place that fires can start within the home is the kitchen; leaving food unattended when it cooks, especially on a gas hob can have disastrous consequences. If you start a task, don’t get distracted, focus on it until it is done. That’s the best preventative measure in this case.

Fire sprinklers are an essential item in care homes and hotels. Care homes often house vulnerable people who may not be physically or mentally prepared for a speedy evacuation. When fire sprinklers engage, they give you an extra bit of time to get out safely. This also benefits hotels, as it can be hard to safely and speedily evacuate numerous guests, especially if it is a large multi story hotel.

It can seem like a good idea to celebrate a happy occasion with fireworks or by setting off a glowing lantern. If you do decide to release any of these items, consider the following:

  • Can you insure that you will not be endangering anyone around you?
  • Do you have enough room to set it out, unobstructed into the night?

Accidents are all too common where these items are concerned and you wouldn’t want to be responsible for any devastating consequences. Perhaps consider going to a staged event or an area away from the home to enjoy fireworks or glowing lanterns.

Schools

Unfortunately, many schools are the targets of arson attacks. The installation of fire sprinklers can at least reduce the damage caused in these cases. Regular fire alarm tests and training are an absolute must where children are concerned. Safety lectures should also be implemented in schools to make children more aware of the dangers and make them vigilant at spotting the signs.

Children should also be wary of the dangers present within the classroom. Science lessons should highlight the importance of lab safety. Playing around with bunsen burners and chemicals is extremely dangerous, as are the gas taps that are used to power the burners. These taps should be turned off at the mains whenever they are not going to be used and the mains cupboard should be locked at all times.

Within Business

Fire safety within business doesn’t just protect your staff, it protects your investment too and under current Health and Safety laws is a mandatory requirement. You won’t just be out of pocket if a fire strikes and work needs to be done to the building, you’ll lose time too, valuable time.

Make sure that you check that any electrical equipment in your business is functioning properly. Just because you don’t have open fires doesn’t mean that fires can’t start just as easily. Electrical fires are just as common, so if you notice a frayed wire or a loose connection, don’t ignore it, have it removed or fixed.

Restaurants obviously have dangers associated with their cooking equipment just as the home does, but remember that this is on a larger scale. If grease traps and vents aren’t properly cleaned they can leak onto your burners and cause grease fires. These are some of the most notoriously difficult fires to control and expand within seconds.

Fire sprinklers provide the best protection against fires, as they activate at the beginning of the problem limiting the damage that can be caused to property and life. Of course there will always be instances where they are not 100% effective, but with the installation of fire sprinklers in your home or business, alongside a healthy knowledge of fire safety and any applicable laws and legislation, you will be protecting yourself from unnecessary danger.

Below you will find a detailed list of safety advice that should be implemented at home and at work. Reading it will only take a moment and could end up saving someone’s life, perhaps your own.

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure.

The Essential Fire Safety Tips You Need To Know

At least one smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of your home. There should be at least one smoke alarm installed in every section of your office building/workplace.

Smoke alarms should be routinely tested to ensure that they are still functioning. This is a simple exercise which simply involves pressing the test button on the console. This should be done every two months without fail. Fire alarm tests should also be carried out regularly within businesses.

Emergency numbers should be clearly marked in a place everyone sees in your home. Emergency contact details should be visible in a number of places that are visible to all staff within your business.

Fire extinguishers should also be available on each floor of your home and within each area of your business.

Children should not be left unattended near open fires or around electrical outlets.

Any equipment or belongings that are not flame retardant should be stored away from open fires. It is best practice to not have any obstructions around an open fire.

Lit candles should not be left unattended when you leave a room and should always be snuffed out before you retire to bed.

Fire evacuation safety is extremely important within any business. All of your staff should know where the evacuation point is and a diagram detailing the procedure should be visible. You should also consider devising a fire evacuation procedure in your home, especially if you live in a large building or have a number of children/relatives living in your home.

Joe Robson

Fox News Flip for Fans. Online blogging platform to share the latest tech news, health, fashion, marketing, travel, technology, business, and other trending topics.

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