Free Quote
Reliability + Quality + Consideration = Nationwide Fire Protection
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00pm

Types of Fire Sprinklers: A Comprehensive Overview

Different Types of Fire Sprinklers in Denver, CO

There are many instances in which the implementation of a suitable and effective sprinkler system can be the difference between severe damage to your property or just a simple inconvenience, which is why it is important to know about different types of fire sprinklers.

Using fire sprinklers has become a necessity in every household and is even considered to be a regulation enforced by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) dictating that each residential building must use a fire sprinkler system.

Here in this blog, we’d like to talk about several types of sprinklers that might suit your needs, both for residential and industrial purposes.

Do you need any consultation related to choosing the right sprinkler? Contact us so we can help you make the right choice!”

Different Types of Fire Sprinklers 

Throughout this overview, we have decided to present different sprinkler systems for various purposes, while some may think choosing a sprinkler system is easy, after reading this list you might actually need to rethink your decision. 

Wet Pipe Sprinklers: How They Work and Where They Are Used

Wet pipe sprinklers can be referred to as the most typical form of fire suppression system and the most common sprinkler type in the market.  It is one of the water-based sprinkler systems in which sprinkler heads are attached to pipes that are full of pressurized water.

Heat-sensitive activation ensures that These sprinkler heads are equipped with automatic fire protection, discharging water with force at the first hint of temperature abnormality.

Where to use wet pipe sprinklers?

Due to this form being the most basic and common form of fire sprinkler, it is usable in any building. Although there are several factors that one might need to consider before choosing this form of sprinkler:

Pros and Cons of Wet Pipe Sprinklers:

Most Basic Types of SprinklersPossibility of Freezing in Low Temperature 
Very Low MaintenanceAny Leak May Result in Water Damage
Simple Installation
Extremely Effective

Dry Pipe Sprinklers: Ideal for Cold Environments and Freezing Temperatures

Contrary to wet pipe systems, dry pipe sprinklers are full of pressurized nitrogen and air. By keeping the dry pipe valve closed, the air pressure system does not allow water to enter the system. 

Automatic water release occurs when the sprinkler identifies an increase in temperature and in return decreases the pressure in the system, allowing the valves to open and water to run in the system which activates the sprinkler. 

What is the benefit of Dry pipe sprinklers?

Containing pressurized nitrogen and air instead of water, the main plus side of this system is freeze protection. Unlike wet pipe sprinklers, you no longer have to worry about a burst pipe or any water damage due to freezing temperatures.  

Considering all these facts, there are several factors to consider when purchasing this form of safety measure.

  •  Since dry pipe sprinklers are a fairly complex system, it is not by any means low maintenance.
  •  Following the previous fact, you can also expect a costly installation due to its complexity.
  •  Although the lack of water inside the pipes offers protection against freezing, it also means a somewhat longer response time to fire.
  • Even though these facts might cause a customer to reconsider their purchase, you need to also keep in mind the benefits of the dry pipe sprinklers.
  • As we have previously mentioned the air pressure system offers freeze protection, therefore, making this option suitable for various locations such as warehouses, attics, garages, and any place without a proper heating system. 
  •  Dry pipe sprinklers can be installed in addition to a wet system to offer protection against freezing in certain areas of your own choice.

Pre-action Sprinklers: Enhanced Protection with Added Safety Measures

Similar in many aspects to the dry pipe sprinkler system, pre-action sprinklers contain pressurized air or nitrogen instead of water. Activation of this type of sprinkler is however different. Using double interlock systems allows this model to have an additional safety measure compared to previous models.

The two-step activation first requires the heat or smoke detector to detect fire, sending a signal that opens the water control valves. Once the system has been filled with water, an increased temperature which is received by the sprinkler causes the water to be discharged, minimizing accidental discharges.

This complex form of fire detection integration is especially applicable in museums, libraries, server rooms, and generally any place that requires high-value asset protection

Any questions or concerns about sprinklers or other safety measurement systems? Read about different types of fire extinguishers or  Contact us for further information

Deluge Sprinklers: Rapid Fire Suppression for High-Hazard Areas

Deluge sprinklers can be considered closely similar to pre-action sprinklers, other than the sprinkler heads being open and the lack of air pressure inside the pipes. This system requires a direct water supply for it to use in case of emergency.

Having a dedicated water supply, which is usually stored behind a control valve, and with the detection system implemented in the same place as the sprinkler, a hint of smoke or heat results in instantaneous water discharge. 

Deluge sprinklers are typically used in areas that require special hazard protection such as power plants, aircraft hangers, chemical plants, and any facilities that require such strict safety measures.

The importance of the dedicated water supply is because in these types of fire sprinklers, the sprinkler heads are constantly open which means water is discharged from every single sprinkler head instead of doing so one at a time. Making Deluge Sprinklers a great choice for high-hazard environments.

Foam Sprinklers: Effective Suppression for Flammable Liquid Fires

Foam sprinklers Use a mixture of water and foam to extinguish fires in buildings, the foam is a low-expansion Foam Concentrate that is mixed with water moments before being discharged. The combination of water and the agent causes expansion and allows the foam to cover large areas.

The foam itself is an extinguishing agent that is mainly used to counter flammable liquid fires by surface sealing which means cooling them down and separating the source of flame from the surface. One of its main features is its prevention of re-ignition. It is also called “firefighting foam”.

These types of fire sprinklers are  mainly used in areas that may require heavy-duty anti-fire measurements, such as:

  • Aircraft hangers
  • Storage houses 
  • Marine operations such as oil rigs in which fuel vapor suppression is a necessity in times of crisis.
  • Any place with high fuel storage.

There are many more places where this system is applied due to its ability to smother the flame and eliminate the chance of re-ignition. 

Specialized Fire Sprinklers: Tailored Solutions for Specific Applications

This system is unique and is primarily applied to certain places that require specific fire safety measurements. Specialized fire sprinklers are used in certain areas in which the system is required to act quickly and apply certain fire suppression to unique fire hazards that prevent or minimize damage to materials and assets.

There are several factors that differentiate this sprinkler from the others:

  • Ability to better detect hazards and act faster
  • Minimal damage to the assets and harmless to people 
  • Complex systems and installations require well-trained personnel to handle repairs, services, and design.

As mentioned before, not every building needs this type of hazard-specific protection. There are a few instances in which specialized fire sprinklers might be the right choice to make.  

  • The building or facility holds valuable or sensitive materials: the best example for this could be data centers or museums where a special type of fire hazard protection is a necessity.  
  • The need to protect people during a fire hazard: although regular sprinklers are enough to protect your household during a fire hazard, places such as hospitals and laboratories, due to the presence of dangerous and highly flammable objects such as oxygen tanks, require special fire protection.
  • While most types of fire sprinklers are okay for the majority of residential buildings like apartment complexes, buildings like hospitals require special hazard fire protection to ensure that people are kept safe, especially when additional hazards, like oxygen tanks, are present.
  • Certain facilities that have a higher risk of fire hazard: power plants, manufacturing facilities, and industries have a higher tendency to be involved in a fire hazard. These situations naturally make special fire protection along with cooling systems necessary. 

Choosing the Right Fire Sprinkler System for Your Needs

While it is highly recommended to consult a professional when choosing the right fire hazard protection system, several factors might help you get a general understanding of what you need and what are the correct types of fire sprinklers for you.

This part of the overview is dedicated to helping you consider your options and get close to finding the right sprinkler system.

Fire sprinkler selection: 

Wet Pipe SprinklersFood and snack manufacturers
Processing plants
Packaging warehouses
Beverage manufacturers
Sugar Mills
risk of freezing in temperatures below 4.5oC.frozen water can burst the pipe and further damage your facility.
Requires the temperature to be maintained constantly within the facility.
Dry Pipe SprinklersBuildings that are not or only partially heated.
Freezers and cold storage facilities.
Structures outdoor 
Complex installation and maintenanceHigh cost of installation
Slightly longer response time to fire
Pre-Action SprinklersData Centers
Computer Rooms
Telecommunication Centers
Archives Room
Freezer Storage
Costly installation and maintenance
Difficult ModificationIn need of regular maintenance 
Deluge SprinklersPower Plants
Aircraft Hangers
Chemical Plants
Hazardous Environments
All heads are open and connected which means water is discharged from every head.
Needs a dedicated water supply source.
Foam SprinklersRefineries
Chemical plants
Flammable liquid Warehouses
Storage Facilities
Aircraft hangers
Recycling facilities 
Specific materials are required in addition to water, which increases the cost.
Difficulty in cleaning
Specialized Fire SprinklersSchools
Care Centers
Complex or SubSurface Structures such as Basements
Complex design and system
In need of regular maintenance by trained personnel

FAQs Concerning Fire Sprinkler Systems and Their Maintenance

We have covered the majority of details about what each sprinkler does and its different functions. You might have guessed by now that there are some similarities between some of the models which might be confusing. 

Here we try to answer some general questions regarding sprinklers.

Is It Possible to Personally Install a Sprinkler System?

Many of us want to minimize the cost of the installation of our facilities. However, sprinklers are called a ‘system’ for a reason. They are not limited to the heads visible in your facility and require a very complicated set of systems to work. We would not recommend self-installation for your safety.

What Is the Ideal Fire Sprinkler for My Home?

As mentioned above, you need to consider many factors regarding your house: The temperature, the environment, the number of residents, the cost of your assets and their sensitivity, and overall, how much you would like to invest in this fire hazard safety measure. 

How Often Do Fire Sprinklers Need Maintenance?

The answer again comes back to your facility and how important this maintenance is for you and your assets. Of course, all types of fire sprinklers require maintenance every now and then, but more complicated systems such as pre-action sprinklers and specialized sprinklers may need it more often than others.

 “Do you live in Colorado or Utah and need to speak to a professional? We can help you out! Contact us to receive professional advice regarding sprinklers and other fire safety measures.

I Can’t Decide Which Fire Sprinkler Best Suits My Needs

Nationwide Fire Protection offers various services regarding fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarm systems, and fire restoration services across Utah and Colorado (see all our fire suppression services here). Call 800-750-7313 for more information.

Tags: , , , , ,