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.
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.
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.
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.
It is extremely uncommon for a fire sprinkler system to go off without warning or reason. To set off a fire sprinkler, either a heat source is required, such as an out of control fire, or a very hard knock that displaces the sprinkler heads fusible link, or glass trigger.
Unlike in the movies, sprinkler heads are not all triggered at once, and the fire sprinkler head will only be released if its in the same room as the fire.
Absolutely not - this is a common myth. As mentioned before, a sprinkler system needs a close heat source to set it off, usually around 70°C.
Not necessarily. Standard maintenance costs for fire sprinklers are between $150.00 and $200.00 per year. Depending on the type of system and how many you have.
In the Chief Fire Officers Associations Business Case for Sprinklers, it was established that it can take 20 minutes for the fire service to establish the resources required to safely deal with a fire on upper floors. Fire sprinklers buy precious time and therefore save lives.
It is a common misconception that fire sprinklers will cause more damage due to the water that comes out of the sprinkler heads once they are activated. While water is used to diffuse a fire, the main design of a fire sprinkler system is to use as little water as possible in as little of space as possible, controlling a fire in its early stages when less water is needed.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires annual fire hydrant inspections to make sure these fixtures remain in good working order. After all, while automatic fire sprinklers and suppression systems are the first lines of defense, they arent always enough to tackle raging flames. In this case, a hydrant is critical for firefighters to tap into when they arrive on the scene to douse the blaze.