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Which Fire Suppression System Is Best for your Commercial Business?

Most Common Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems In Australia

Whether your business premises is divided into multiple levels or has a single level, you need a sprinkler system that can reach the furthest point of the premises, especially if it is multi-story building. But did you know that fire sprinkler systems have different types which have their own characteristics and uses? Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most commonly installed sprinkler systems in commercial environments and businesses in Australia.

Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems

Wet pipe sprinkler systems are the most common type installed, especially in commercial buildings. Wet pipe systems are the simplest and therefore the most reliable. In a wet pipe system there is water in the pipes at all times because the pipes are full or “wet.” As soon as a sprinkler head is exposed to a high enough temperature for long enough, the glass bulb or link holding back the water breaks and water will spray out of all of the open sprinklers. Wet pipe systems also have a quick response time, so they’re great for high-risk areas where fires can spread rapidly.

Wet pipe systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, maintain and repair

The installation cost is usually lower than dry pipe and pre-action systems.

Because they’re simple and reliable, wet pipe systems only require basic maintenance.

There’s no air pressure to release before water can flow through, so wet pipe systems can respond quickly to a fire.

Any damage to the system is usually easy to spot because of how quickly water will begin flowing out.

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dry sprinkler system install

Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems

Dry pipe systems are similar in operation with one key difference. Portion of lines leading to the fire sprinkler heads are filled with air. Only when individual heads exceed their activation temperature does the air pressure increase, causing a valve to open to allow water into the system and activating all heads simultaneously.

How Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems Work:

1) The water supply line valve is closed
2) Air pressure is introduced into the pipes via an air compressor or nitrogen tank
3) The air pressure activates an alarm relay switch (which can be used to trigger an alarm or activate a pump or auxiliary tank)
4) The air pressure holds the valve closed until…
5) Fire causes an individual sprinkler head to reach its activation temperature, triggering a heat-sensitive link within that sprinkler head. The air filling the line is expelled, then replaced with the water supply pushing in behind.

Dry pipe systems are often used in unheated warehouses or other facilities where temperatures can drop below freezing.
The intended purpose of a dry pipe system is to allow for freezing temperatures and greatly lowering the risk of a freezing water line causing a rupture. A system such as this type can be less effective initially in extinguishing a fire due to the delay of water reaching the sprinkler head and dousing the fire.
Increased cost of installation and maintenance, as well as complexity, can be a downside to installing this type of fire suppression system

Deluge systems and pre-action systems

Deluge systems and pre-action systems are similar to one another in that both are activated by some type of fire alarm system.

Deluge systems are common where the risk of fire spreading quickly is a concern. Deluge sprinkler systems, when activated simply spray water from every sprinkler head simultaneously instead of individual sprinkler head activation. Pre-action system can essentially be a combination of wet, dry and deluge systems. The advantage of a pre-action system is that it can send a trouble alarm should some problems occur without activating a sprinkler head. Some of this type of fire sprinkler system can also be set up for operation only when the temperature at a sprinkler head has exceeded the pre-set and a fire alarm is activated as well, essentially serving as a double check.

When comparing deluge vs pre action fire suppression systems, it’s important to consider:

The application – Dry, pre-action and deluge systems are used in applications that require additional hazard protection where accidental discharge may damage equipment or supplies.

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low expansion foam
AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam)

Foam water and “water spray” systems

Foam water and “water spray” systems are usually installed where potentially hazardous materials are located and sensitive equipment. A mixture of foam and water helps to suppress the fire while the latter system sprays water in a particular spray pattern. These last two systems are not necessary for the majority of commercial businesses.
Having any of these fire sprinkler setups is not enough.

A properly designed and installed fire sprinkler system is an essential component of any business’s overall fire protection program. It can help protect your employees, customers, and property from the devastation caused by fire. Fire sprinklers provide a basic level of protection that may prevent your business from going under. However, proper testing and maintenance must be performed to ensure that your system will operate as expected when you need it most.

In conclusion, based on the Australian Standard Requirements, a wet pipe fire sprinkler system is best suited to protect your commercial premises from fire. Despite recent developments in other sprinkler systems, the wet pipe system has been proved to be more effective in both commercial and industrial applications. A combination of active and passive systems is generally regarded as the best solution for businesses premises, however this could vary depending on the scale of your business and level of risk involved.  Need Help? Contact us Today!

Yours In Fire Safety

Alex

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