Maintenance and repairs to fire sprinklers are performed by Fire Protection companies, not Plumbers. Check out the Vendors We Like page for company recommendations from your neighbors.
How do fire sprinklers work?
Automatic fire sprinklers are individually heat-activated and attached to a network of piping with water under pressure. When the heat of a fire raises the sprinkler temperature to its operating temperature (usually 186o F), a solder link will melt or a liquid-filled glass bulb will shatter to open that sprinkler, releasing water and sounding an alarm. By acting automatically at the origin of a fire, sprinklers prevent a fire from growing to a dangerous size.
Automatic Sprinkler Systems supply water to a network of individual sprinklers, each protecting an area below them. These sprinklers open automatically in response to heat and spray water on a fire to put it out or keep it from spreading. Contrary to popular belief, only those sprinklers near the fire are activated and discharge water.
Do sprinklers go off accidentally?
Accidental water damage caused by automatic sprinkler systems is relatively rare. One study concluded that sprinkler accidents are generally less likely and less severe than mishaps involving standard home plumbing systems. It is possible for a sprinkler to discharge accidentally, but this is an extremely rare occurrence in systems which are properly maintained. Records indicate that only 1 in 16,000,000 sprinklers per year will open accidentally.
Do fire sprinklers cause widespread water damage?
Fire department hoses typically discharge ten to a hundred times more water than that discharged by sprinklers. Since only the sprinkler closest to the fire is activated, the total amount of water is limited. Fire damage is also limited; most fires are put out quickly, by only a few sprinklers, in areas with a fully functional sprinkler system.
Dispelling Myths About Automatic Sprinklers
Despite the proven effectiveness of automatic sprinkler systems in slowing the spread of fire and reducing loss of life and property damage, many people resist the idea of home sprinkler systems because of widespread misconceptions about their operation.
Myth: The water damage from sprinklers is worse than a fire.
Truth: A sprinkler will control a fire with a tiny fraction of the water used by fire department hoses, primarily because it acts so much earlier. Automatic systems spray water only in the immediate area of the fire and can keep the fire from spreading, thus avoiding widespread water damage.
Myth: Sprinklers are ugly.
Truth: Sprinklers don’t have to be unattractive. Pipes can be hidden behind ceiling or walls, and modern sprinkler fixtures can be inconspicuous – mounted almost flush with walls or ceiling. Some sprinklers can even be concealed.