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What are the Differences Between Dry and Wet Fire Sprinkler Systems?

Every business and really every household can benefit greatly by installing a fire sprinkler system. Tulsa and Oklahoma City business owners know the importance and often the code compliance requirements for having a fire sprinkler system in their building.

But when choosing the right system for your facility, you may have some questions. For instance, you may hear the terms “wet fire sprinklers” and “dry fire sprinklers.” What do these terms mean and what are the pros and cons of each system?

Well, let’s start with wet fire sprinkler systems. In wet pipe systems, the overhead sprinkler piping connected is filled with water under pressure. When a fire causes one or more of the connected sprinklers to activate, water immediately discharges from the sprinkler head.

Wet pipe systems are the most common type of fire sprinkler system and the simplest. Because of their simplicity, they are very reliable and require less installation and maintenance. These are usually the first choice in fire sprinkler systems because they’re easy to work with, modify, and are often more reliable.

However, these systems cannot be installed in environments were the temperatures reach below 40 degrees F. And of course there can be severe property damage if there’s a leak or other malfunctions in the piping, especially if the area the sprinklers are protecting has sensitive equipment or documents.

Dry fire sprinkler systems, on the other hand, do not have water in the direct non-heated sprinkler piping, but only pressurized air or nitrogen. The pressurized air holds back the water supply at a main dry-pipe valve. When a fire occurs and the sprinkler activates, the air pressure drops and the main dry-pipe valve opens to release the water into the piping system to discharge from the sprinklers.

These fire sprinkler systems are thus designed for environments with freezing temperatures like walk-in refrigerators, loading docks, and warehouses. Because of its special air pressure needs and other components, dry pipe sprinklers are more complex than wet fire sprinklers and are thus more costly to install and maintain.

Because water must travel from the valve to the piping and sprinklers, there can be a delay of up to 60 seconds in fire suppression. Dry fire sprinkler systems also have certain design restrictions as to their individual system size and thus can make additions to the system very difficult or not possible. These systems can, however, be an addition to a larger wet pipe sprinkler system and just used in the environments that see freezing temperatures.

These are just two of several fire sprinkler system options available to Tulsa and OKC business owners. There are also fire sprinkler systems designed specifically to protect sensitive areas or equipment like data rooms or museums. Contact the fire sprinkler system experts at Mac Systems, Inc. for more information. We can take care of all your fire suppression needs including system design, installation, testing, inspections, and maintenance.

What are the Differences Between Dry and Wet Fire Sprinkler Systems? Every business and really every household can benefit greatly by installing a fire sprinkler system. Tulsa and Oklahoma City