How a Commercial Fire Sprinkler System Works

A close up picture of a fire alarm sprinkler system in action with smoke

Commercial fire sprinkler systems are not household smoke detectors. Smoke detectors, for example, will activate in the presence of smoke so that members of a household can take proper action in the event of a fire. At times, they may also sound due to cooking or smoke from lit candles. Commercial fire sprinklers, conversely, serve more of an emergency role of extinguishing or containing a fire that has already begun, however, these advanced systems too can activate inadvertently or accidentally. Based on the different roles they play, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that they each work quite differently. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how a fire sprinkler system works:

How Are Fire Sprinkler Systems Activated?

Now that we’ve established that they aren’t activated by the presence of smoke, you’re likely wondering how they do operate. The answer: by heat.

Most of today’s fire sprinkler systems are activated by excessive heat, usually anywhere from 155-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Many contain glass bulbs with some sort of heat-sensitive liquid within them. When temperatures consistent with fire-like conditions are detected, the liquid will expand, breaking the glass bulb and activating the fire sprinkler system. Keep in mind that fire sprinkler systems are designed to extinguish or contain active fires, and minimize the amount of property damage in a commercial building caused by a fire. And while they’re ideally activated when the glass bulb breaks from the heat, they can be accidentally activated as well, whether it’s via tampering or just an outdated, ill-maintained system. Accidental activation can be a major problem for commercial buildings if the system isn’t shut off promptly. It’s why we suggest investing in a sprinkler shut off tool.

Why You Need a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

Accidental activation – whether it’s from a malfunctioning or poorly maintained sprinkler system, or from hanging items from sprinklers that inadvertently break the glass bulb – can be a major problem for commercial properties. Keep in mind that just one sprinkler head can release up to 60 gallons of water every minute. Also keep in mind that oftentimes properties need to rely on the fire department to properly shut off the system. By the time firefighters arrive, you could have hundreds – or even thousands – of gallons of water flooding the property and leaving it in a water-damaged mess. That’s where a sprinkler shut off tool comes in handy, as it enables a facility manager to quickly turn off an accidental activation in seconds, greatly minimizing property damage and water usage. For more information on how a sprinkler shut off tool can help safeguard your property in the event of accidental activation, contact us today

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