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What Are the Components of a Fire Sprinkler System?

Posted on: February 7, 2011

How much do you really know about your fire sprinkler system? Knowing a little bit about the components of your fire sprinkler system can come in handy, especially when your fire protection services technician explains the results of a fire sprinkler system inspection. At Guardian Fire Protection Services, we want to clear up some of the mysteries behind key fire sprinkler inspection terms with a list of all the most important components of your fire sprinkler system:

Fire Sprinkler System Components

Control valve – the stop valve is usually locked in the open position and painted bright red so you can see it. It is used to stop the flow of city water coming into the fire sprinkler system when it is not active. The stop valve is paired with a supervisory switch, which is used to monitor the whether the stop valve is open or closed.

Alarm valve – the alarm valve controls the flow of water into the fire sprinkler system. It is a one way valve that is only opens when the pressure on the sprinkler side of the valve is less than the water supply pressure (i.e. when the fire sprinkler heads are open). When the fire sprinkler heads open in response to a fire, the valve opens and allows water to flow through the rest of the fire sprinkler system.

Sprinkler heads – the sprinkler heads are often the only parts of your fire sprinkler system that you see on a daily basis. They are essentially valves that open when exposed to high temperatures. The convenient thing about your fire sprinkler heads is that they allow for the flow of water only in the area under the heads – this means that if you have a small fire in your building, your fire sprinkler system won’t douse your whole office in response.

Alarm test valve – this valve allows you to test your fire sprinkler system without setting the whole system off. It is located between the alarm valve and the drain on the sprinkler side of the fire alarm and is designed to simulate the flow of water through your fire sprinkler system.

Motorized bell or gong – if your fire sprinkler system has ever been set off you’ll know exactly what this is. When the fire sprinkler system activates, the flow of water sets off a hammer that strikes against a bell, creating an audible alarm signal.

Ancillary Fire Sprinkler System Components

Pressure switch – the pressure switch monitors your sprinkler system for a fall in water pressure after the alarm valve. These switches are also used with dry sprinkler systems to indicate that the system has activated when monitored by a fire alarm panel that then alerts the fire department that your fire sprinkler system is going off.

Flow switch – flow switches monitor the flow of water through different sections of pipe within the automatic fire sprinkler system and determine when to set off the alarm. They usually include a mechanical delay so that minor fluctuations in water pressure won’t trigger the alarm.

Pressure gauge – the pressure gauge, as you might expect, measures the pressure within the fire sprinkler system. Usually there are two gauges fitted to the fire sprinkler system – one that shows the water supply pressure and another that shows the installation pressure.

Knowing something about all the different components of your fire sprinkler system can come in handy the next time your fire protection services technician explains the results of a fire sprinkler system inspection. And remember, if you need fire sprinkler system inspection in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, DC, call Guardian Fire Protection today!

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