The installation of domestic / residential sprinkler systems in homes will extinguish the risk - and prevent the spread of fire with its fast response. Fire sprinkler systems are designed to protect you and your family from terrible injury or loss of life. Fire can also severely damage or completely destroy the building in which it started, and any neighbouring (surrounding) buildings in close proximity to it.
Residential sprinkler systems are designed to fight fires at the early stage in their development thereby controlling the fire and allowing you to get to safety. The cost of installing a domestic/residential sprinkler system is nothing compared to the safety of you and your family.
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There are three different ways of supplying (configuring) water to domestic / residential sprinkler systems:
Note: If using water from a stored water supply for residential sprinkler systems then it is absolutely important that the storage capacity of the cistern/tank is calculated (sized) and installed correctly to provide the right pressure and flow rate to the sprinkler heads (minimum 10 minutes for domestic and 20 minutes for residential properties) according to the manufacturers recommendation.
Water can also be automatically pumped to the sprinkler system from a stored supply, a pressure tank or vessel, or an automatic booster pump which can draw water from either the water main or storage cistern/tank. However, the direct connection to the water main where possible is the preferred method.
All domestic / residential sprinkler systems rely upon a continuous water supply at the right pressure to operate.
There are three types of residential sprinkler systems:
Generally copper and stainless steel pipework is used for domestic/residential systems, however, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe is also suitable. The melting point of copper is around 1083°C - this means copper pipework will not be adversely effected by the heat of a domestic fire.
A domestic/residential fire sprinkler system should have:
Sprinkler heads are the water outlet points from a sprinkler system and they are designed to discharge water in a predetermined pattern. Different types of sprinkler heads produce different patterns.
The sprinkler head operates when (depending on type) a predetermined critical temperature level has been reached. This critical temperature is known as the 'temperature rating' of the sprinkler.
For example, in the UK the residential sprinkler systems temperature rating for a sprinkler head under normal conditions will be 57°C or 68°C. However, the temperature rating should be at least 30°C above (greater than) the anticipated ambient room temperature and a rating within 79°C to 100°C if installed under glazed roofs where temperatures can be elevated in the summer months.
There are two basic types of sprinkler heads:
The silica or quartzoid type bulb is filled with liquid that expands at a predetermined temperature, this expansion breaks the bulb thereby opening the valve in the sprinkler head allowing the water to flow.
With the solder strut type the valve is held shut by the solder strut, this solder melts at a predetermined temperature therefore allowing the valve to fall open and the water to flow.
Table below shows the different liquid colours and their breaking temperatures
The maintenance of residential sprinkler systems is the responsibility of the property owner. You must make arrangements for the system to be regularly (annually) checked and tested by a qualified installer, and you should pay particular attention to the maintenance instructions provided to you by the installer.
Domestic / residential sprinkler systems are not as common as they should be in households and as a result of this there are some misconceptions associated with sprinkler systems. For example:
Smoke alarms will provide enough protection
Sprinkler heads can accidentally go off
In a fire all the sprinkler heads go off
Sprinkler systems can cause a lot of water damage
A fire can only start and exist if three basic essential ingredients come together, and they are:
This is sometimes referred to as the 'Fire Triangle'. If any one side is removed the fire will be extinguished as a result. All forms of fires are extinguished by using this basic principle.
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