1. How do fire sprinkler systems work?

Most sprinkler heads contain a small, colored liquid filled bulb. The bulb acts as a plug and prevents water from escaping out of the sprinkler head. Heat from the fire causes the colored liquid in the bulb to quickly expand. Once the pressure in the bulb gets too high, the bulb bursts allowing the water to stream out of the sprinkler head and put out the fire.

The liquid inside the bulbs come in a variety of colors. Each color represents the temperature at which the bulb will burst. See below for chart:

  • Orange – 135°F
  • Red – 155°F
  • Yellow – 174°F
  • Green – 200°F
  • Blue – 286°F
  • Purple – 360°F
  • Black – 440°F

Sprinkler systems are carefully designed to activate early in a real fire (responding to heat not smoke) but not to activate in a non-fire situation. Each sprinkler reacts only to the fire conditions in its area. Water release in a fire is generally much less than would occur if the fire department had to suppress the fire.

2. Why do I need a fire sprinkler system in my building?

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, building that have a working fire sprinkler system have a reduced property loss and risk of death by up to 66% compared to buildings without a fire sprinkler system.

Fire sprinkler systems save property owners money, but more importantly, save lives.

3. What can I do to maintain my fire sprinkler system?

The single most important thing you can do to keep your fire sprinkler system in good condition and up to code is to have it inspected and maintained by GC Fire Sprinkler at least on an annual basis. The more frequent your system is inspected, the better chance there is of catching any problems that could prevent it from operating properly in the time of an emergency. Some insurance companies will lower premiums for properly maintained and inspected fire sprinkler systems.

Here are a couple of “can do’s” and “don’t do’s” that will help keep your fire sprinkler system in good condition:

Can Do’s

  • Know the location of all the components of your fire sprinkler system
  • Make sure the fire sprinkler control valves remain open
  • Keep an eye out for leaks coming from sprinkler heads or pipes
  • Know how to shut your system down in cause of a line breaking or a head activating due to breakage
  • Keep your fire sprinkler system routinely maintained and inspected by a fire protection professional

Don’t Do’s

  • Paint the sprinkler heads
  • Damage the sprinkler heads (a broken head can release up to 100 gallons of water a minute)
  • Damage the sprinkler piping with forklifts. Make sure your employees are trained
  • Don’t leave damaged piping or heads to be fixed another day.
  • Hang anything from the fire sprinkler system pipes, sprinkler heads or any other component
  • Block or cover any of the sprinkler heads (each head is designed to overlap each other for complete coverage)
  • Build structures (offices) inside your building without also putting fire sprinklers inside those structures. Follow your local building codes.

If you have any other questions, and/or issues related to your fire sprinkler system, or if you want to schedule an inspection, call the premier fire protection professionals at GC Fire Sprinkler (714) 998-9982.