There are several different types of fire sprinkler systems, but the most common is the Wet system. It is important to note that in all systems, (other than the Deluge system), each sprinkler head remains closed until activated by a heat source. For example, if a house equipped with a wet/dry system experiences a fire in the garage, the sprinkler heads in that area will be discharged. The sprinkler heads in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, etc, will remain closed unless the fire spreads to those specific areas.
In wet systems, the water is stored directly in the pipes leading up to the sprinkler heads. When a sprinkler head is activated, water is immediately released and cannot be stopped until the system is shut off.
Dry systems are used in colder climates to prevent water freezing and bursting in the pipes by storing the water underground. The pipes are charged with nitrogen or air, and create a pressurized barrier that is released in the event of a sprinkler head engaging.
These are systems that hold water in the pipes during summer months, and then can be drained and set up as a dry system during the winter months.
Pre-action systems are like dry systems, but instead of activating through the sprinkler heads, the pipes charge only during the activation of a fire or smoke detector. These systems are used in areas that contain expensive, irreplaceable property to prevent accidental damages caused by a faulty sprinkler head.
This is a dry system that is activated with a smoke or fire detection alarm. In this system, all sprinkler heads remain opened and once activated, quickly dumps water or foam to quickly suppress any fire threat. Deluge systems are used in industrial, mechanical, or hazardous material conditions where it is crucial to neutralize the fire threat immediately.
Choosing the correct system for your residential or commercial property is important to prevent unnecessary damages to your property. Those who live in cold climates have to determine the risk associated with a regular wet system, particularly if the property is not always occupied. When a system is discharged from a frozen pipe bursting, the water in the system will continue to drain until the main is closed. Having your system serviced or upgraded before the winter months can save you money and prevent accidental damages from occuring.