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You are currently viewing A Deluge or Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler System – Which One is Better?

A Deluge or Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler System – Which One is Better?

Which Fire Sprinkler System is Better?

A deluge fire protection system or a pre-action fire system – what’s the difference, and which one should you choose?
Each has its advantages and disadvantages – it depends on what you need.
Both of them can be used in a range of different applications, but they have two key differences: the amount of water needed to operate the systems and the distance both of these systems must be maintained from potential fire hazards.


So what is a deluge system and where are they used?

A deluge system is a dry fire protection system that has the piping for the system empty and at atmospheric pressure with the sprinkler heads all open. When the system detects heat and or fire, the deluge valve will release water, dry chemicals, inert gases, or foam. The type of agent that is used depends on the type of system for the hazard and location being protected. The system piping will then be filled with water or another agent and it will be released by all sprinkler heads simultaneously, blanketing the area to control the fire.

Deluge systems are primarily used in areas of high fire hazards and in areas with a very low sprinkler density and are commonly found in industrial buildings and facilities like refineries, chemical plants or petrochemical plants, shipyards, large storage areas, warehouses, factories, aircraft hangers, transport tunnels and other areas that are prone to large fires and need to be brought under control quickly. They are also found in high-rise buildings where sprinkler systems are not practical because of the increased cost associated with installing them in roofs and ceilings. Deluge systems are sometimes referred to as dry pipe systems, wet pipe systems, or preaction systems. These terms refer to how water is kept out of the pipes until it is needed. A dry pipe system has no water in the pipes until a fire is detected by a heat or smoke detector. This type of system is generally more expensive than a wet pipe system which has constant pressure, so it is less common. A preaction system uses water under pressure in some way to prevent accidental discharge during normal conditions.

Read also: AS 2118 – Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems


What is a pre-action system?

The purpose of a pre-action system is to eliminate water damage to the building during a fire. The system consists of two zones: one called the dry zone and the other called the wet zone. The dry zone contains all of the piping and sprinkler heads, and is filled with compressed air. The wet zone is composed of piping that is connected to a water supply and sprinkler heads that are open and ready to be activated by heat. The two zones are separated by a pre-action valve. When no fire exists in the building, the valve will hold back water in the wet zone and compress air in the dry zone. If a fire should develop in the building, it would activate this valve so that water from the wet zone would flow through the piping to the sprinkler heads in the dry zone. In this way, no water damage occurs from flooding when a fire occurs. In fact, there is no water damage at all except for what is produced by activation of sprinklers in response to fire conditions within the building. This type of system also allows for easier installation because it uses less piping than a conventional deluge system. It also requires fewer sprinklers because it has a larger capacity per sprinkler head than a conventional deluge system. This type of system is used in areas where accidental discharge of extinguishant could be detrimental such as, museums, art galleries, data centers, libraries, storage rooms, and more.

Read Also: 3 Tips for Fire Protection Optimisation

To put it simply, both pre-action and deluge systems aim to extinguish fires by reducing the risk of fire spread. It all comes down to choosing the best solution according to your building design/layout and budget.


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