Sprinkler FAQ

What is a fire sprinkler system?

A fire sprinkler system is an active means of fire protection, meaning it responds to heat. There are several integral parts to a fire sprinkler system – a main water supply, distribution piping system, and fire sprinklers. The main water supply has to provide a certain amount of pressurized water to allow the system to work. When there is a fire, the pressurized water flows through the distribution piping system and out through the activated fire sprinkler(s). The fire sprinkler(s) disperse water AT THE AREA OF THE FIRE only to help control the fire.

This entire process begins when a fire sprinkler is activated by the heat from the fire. Each sprinkler head contains a heat sensitive glass bulb. The glass bulb acts as a plug, containing the water inside the piping system. When the ambient temperature around the sprinkler head reaches a pre-determined temperature, the bulb will burst allowing the water to disperse over the fire.

A fire sprinkler system is extremely effective. In 2012, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that, “Sprinklers decrease the fire death rate per 1,000 reported home fires by 83% and the average loss per home fire by 71%.” In the United States, there is one fire related death every 2 hours, for a total of 4,380 a year. The NFPA has no record of a fire resulting in more than 2 deaths in a building with a proper fire sprinkler system.

If you are interested in learning more about how a fire sprinkler system can protect you or your business, please call Prairie Fire Sprinkler at (217) 877-3333 to set up a consultation, or click here for answers to more FAQs.

How do I Properly maintain my fire sprinkler system?

An automatic fire sprinkler system is the best way to defend life and property against fire. The National Fire Protection Association indicates, “that sprinklers perform exceptionally well. However, when systems do fail, 65 percent of those failures can be directly attributed to lack of proper maintenance.”

To ensure that a fire sprinkler system is working properly, routine maintenance and inspections must be performed. Inspection, testing, and maintenance items must be performed by a contractor licensed in Illinois. The contractor must have a National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) Level ll in inspection & testing or have completed a five year apprenticeship.

An annual inspection is the minimum frequency required by law to ensure proper functionality. Insurance companies will deny a fire claim if the building is not up-to-date on inspections. In 2011, the NFPA reported $6.9 billion in direct damage by fire. If you have not had an inspection, you may have to pay these damages out of pocket.

Let us take care of your systems inspection, testing and maintenance! Please call Prairie Fire Sprinkler at (217) 877-3333.

What are some common myths about Fire Sprinkler Systems?

There are many common misconceptions about fire sprinkler system. I have listed some of the common myths below.

Smoke can activate a fire sprinkler system.

  • Smoke cannot cause a sprinkler to operate. A sprinkler will only be triggered if a fire increases the heat beyond the sprinkler trigger point. The typical point is between 135 and 165 degrees fahrenheit.

All sprinkler heads are activated at the same time causing more water damage than fire damage.

  • All the sprinklers are not activated at the same. Only the sprinklers that are closest to the fire will activate. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that ninety percent of the time, one sprinkler head will contain the fire. The water damage caused by a 15 gallon per minute sprinkler is nothing compared to the damages from a 500 gallon per minute fire hose.

A smoke detector provides enough protection.

  • Smoke detectors provide a warning signal in the case of a fire, but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire. According to the NFPA, “As the percent of homes in America that were ‘protected’ with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than seventy percent, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.” In house testing has actually shown a smoke detector will melt within 15 seconds of being exposed to heat/fire.

If you are interested in learning more about how a fire sprinkler system can protect your home or business, please call Prairie Fire Sprinkler at (217)877-3333 to set us a consultation, or click here for answers to more FAQs.