Fire sprinkler systems can be an important safety feature for your building, but it’s also important to understand how they work. There are over thousands of fires in Bethesda annually, and getting a fire sprinkler system can help you prevent severe accidents. Read on to learn more about the basics of purchasing a fire sprinkler installation in Bethesda, MD, and what needs to happen before you install a system in your office or home.
There are different kinds of sprinkler systems.
There are three main types of sprinklers:
- Water-based, which uses water to extinguish a fire.
- Dry sprinklers use chemicals to extinguish a fire.
- Wet chemicals use a mixture of water and chemicals to extinguish a fire.
Each type of sprinkler head has its own purpose regarding how long it takes for the system to put out the flames and where exactly those flames are located when you activate the system. If you choose a dry chemical system, it won’t work well on an electrical fire because dry chemicals won’t help much with electricity—only water can do that! Similarly, if your building has any combustible gases (like propane), then you should choose either a wet or dry chemical system because they’re more effective at putting out fires involving these types of fuels than water-based systems.
Building Hydraulic Demand
The first step in a fire sprinkler system installation is calculating the hydraulic demand. Hydraulic demand is the amount of water a building needs to put out a fire and must be calculated prior to installing any part of a sprinkler system. The calculation is based on three factors:
- The square footage of the building,
- The type of construction materials (concrete/timber/etc.)
- The height of the ceiling.
NFPA (the National Fire Protection Agency) Standards
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is a nonprofit organization that works to lessen the loss of life and property from fire, electrical, chemical and related hazards. Their standards are voluntary for use by manufacturers, builders and regulators in Australia. The NFPA standards are updated every three years.
Fire sprinkler contractors use these standards when designing their system to ensure it meets all local code requirements in Australia. Ensure that the contractor follows these safety standards while getting a fire sprinkler installation in Bethesda, MD.
Constant Line Pressure
If you don’t have a system to ensure there’s always pressure on the line, you’re going to risk losing all of your water when you switch off the main valve. Use a pressure tank with an automatic air vent that will automatically refill with water when it drops below a certain level. If you want to get fancy, consider installing a backflow preventer that’ll reverse any freezing or kinking in the pipes by using two independent systems—one for fire protection and one for potable water. Buildings in Bethesda often need additional pressure-maintaining systems.
Why Should You Get a Fire Sprinkler Installed?
While authorities in Bethesda don’t require fire sprinkler systems to be installed in a home, they’re still a necessity for the safety of residents. A fire sprinkler system can help save lives, property, and money. If you have an existing building that you’re renovating or building from scratch, it’s best to look into the requirements for your area before installing a fire sprinkler system.
If you live in an area where installation is not required by law but are interested in getting one anyway, there are plenty of reasons why installing one would be beneficial:
- Fire sprinklers can help reduce insurance premiums
- Fire sprinklers can reduce legal liability
Tips for Installing Fire Sprinklers
All fire sprinkler systems must comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard. This is an important step in making sure your system is installed properly, as it ensures that your fire sprinkler will be able to put out a fire in any room of your building.
There are three main parts to every NFPA-compliant fire sprinkler: a backflow prevention device, a water flow alarm and a smoke detection system. These all work together to detect fires and shut off the water supply before damage occurs or people are hurt.
If you’re installing new pipes for your system, make sure they have backflow prevention devices attached so that contaminants don’t get into your newly installed pipes!