Fire Sprinkler Systems
Water-based Systems
What types of fire protection systems are there?

Fire Protection Systems usually refer to water-based systems.

Fire Sprinkler Systems are the most common type of water-based fire protection system.  Automatic fire sprinkler systems can be Wet-Pipe, Dry-pipe, Pre-action and Deluge.  Another type of water-based system is the Foam-Water system.  Standpipe systems are not suppression systems but are networks of piping that deliver water to fire sprinkler systems and fire department hose valves which are primarily in multi-story buildings.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
Wet-Pipe, Dry-Pipe, Pre-action and Deluge Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems
The automatic fire sprinkler system has been around since the late 1800's.  Technological advances are astounding in valves, sprinklers, corrosion resistance and many other materials but the basic operation of the sprinkler has changed little since its inception.  Each sprinkler is individually heat activated making it an invention that is unparalleled in fire protection.
Bulk System Piping in a Warehouse
Wet-Pipe System
Automatic Fire Sprinklers 
The wet-pipe system is the simplest of the automatic fire sprinkler systems.  Water is present and under pressure at all times inside the piping system.  Once a sprinkler head fuses, water exits through the fire sprinkler head orifice and onto the fire below.
Wet systems protect many types of hazards from residential to offices to mercantile to assemblies and many types of storage occupancies. These systems are installed typically in areas not subject to freezing.
Piping can be black or galvanized steel, stainless steel, copper or CPVC pipe.
Dry-Pipe System
Automatic Fire Sprinklers 
Dry-Pipe fire sprinkler systems are typically installed in areas subject to freezing such as attics, docks, cold-storage facilities, un-heated warehouses.  Dry systems require more maintenance but can be the perfect system in some instances.  
Pressurized air is maintained on each dry system through the use of an air compressor.  Once a sprinkler head fuses, air exhausts the piping tripping the dry-valve which allows water to enter the system and then to control the fire area.  
Dry-Pipe fire sprinkler systems contain specialized drains referred to as drum-drips.  These drains are low-points where condensation can be drained without tripping the system.
Pre-Action System
Automatic Fire Sprinklers 
Pre-Action fire sprinkler systems are typically installed in areas where an inadvertent discharge of water is not desirable. 
We have installed pre-action systems in power center control rooms, electrical vaults, elevator control rooms, medical supply storage rooms, data centers and MRI rooms among others.
Pressurized air is maintained in each pre-action system similar to a dry-pipe system through the use of an air compressor.  The activation of the pre-action system however typically depends upon other detection means.  These secondary detection systems can be electric, pneumatic or hydraulic. 
Once a sprinkler head fuses, air exhausts the piping tripping the dry-valve which allows water to enter the system and then to control the fire area. 
Many new pre-action systems utilize nitrogen in lieu of air to preserve the integrity of the piping for longer lifespans. 
Deluge System
Automatic Fire Sprinklers 
Deluge fire sprinkler systems are typically found in industrial occupancies where a total flooding of water is desired. 
We have installed deluge systems in aircraft maintenance hangars, hydraulic press rooms, chemical tank storage areas, conveyor systems, steel mill machinery and other heavy industrial equipment rooms.
Deluge systems are open to atmospheric pressure and require secondary detection systems for activation.  These secondary detection systems can be electric, pneumatic or hydraulic similar to pre-action systems. 
In deluge sprinkler systems water is held back at the main deluge valve.  Once the detection system is activated, the deluge valve is tripped which allows water to enter the system and then to control the fire area. 
Deluge systems sometimes contain directional nozzles in lieu of conventional sprinkler heads.  This allows the water to be placed directly onto a specific area. 
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