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Wet Pipe Sprinkler System A wet pipe sprinkler system is where water fills the entire system piping

and is up to the sprinkler heads. This means the valve for the wet pipe fire sprinkler system has water on both sides of it. When a sprinkler is activated and starts flowing water the main sprinkler valve will open and water will flow into the pipe from the fire water source. The source can be the municipal water system or a private fire water system of tanks and ponds, etc. The sprinkler heads have a fusible link which is made from two metal pieces and solder to hold them in place in the opening of the head to hold back the water. Most of the newer sprinkler heads today have a glass bulb instead of the fusible link made of lead. The fusible link is set at predetermined temperature to melt causing the two metal rods holding the cap over the orifice to hold the water back to fall out. The newer sprinklers have glass bulbs which are filled with a glycerin-based liquid that expands when heated, at a predetermined temperature causing the liquid to expand bursting the bulb allowing water to flow out of the head. Wet pipe sprinkler systems are used to protect the following types of buildings: Offices Hospitals Schools Stores Hotels Residences There is another type of wet pipe sprinkler system which a foam system. Foam sprinkler systems are used to protect flammable and combustible liquid storage areas. The foam sprinkler system consists of sprinkler piping with closed or open sprinkler heads and at the main valve there is a foam injection system and a foam tank. How automatic fire sprinklers work is simple. When the temperature of the ceiling over the fire reaches the temperature of the fusible link or the liquid in the glass bulb then the head is activated and water will flow out of the pipe on to the deflector of the sprinkler head. The deflector breaks the water into a spray to extinguish the fire. Sprinkler heads are upright, pendent, or side wall mount. Upright heads are used to protect the underside of the floor or roof decking and the name suggests the deflector is facing upright. Pendent heads are the ones you see hanging from the ceiling in most buildings with the deflector facing down toward the floor. The sprinkler heads have different size orifices with most heads in office buildings having

a 1/2-inch orifice. Some systems have larger orifices to flow more water, for example the Early Suppression, Fast Response (ESFR) heads have a 3/4-inch orifice. The ESFR fire sprinkler system is used in warehouses to eliminate the need for in-rack sprinklers. The ESFR heads are placed at the ceiling using pendent or upright heads. The ESFR system is a wet pipe system. The fire sprinkler systems are designed in two ways, either pipe schedule or hydraulic design. Pipe schedule systems are based on the piping size and each hazard classification listed below has a different pipe schedule for the design of the system: Light hazard Ordinary hazard Extra hazard Most fire sprinkler systems are designed using hydraulic calculations. A hydraulically designed system saves money because the piping sizes are based on flow and friction loss. The calculations used to be done using by hand, now they are designed using computer programs. The programs calculate the required flow and friction loss of the system. By calculating the flow and friction loss of the system the piping sizes are determined that will deliver the flow accounting for the friction loss. Dry Pipe Sprinkler System The dry pipe system does not have any water in the piping to the sprinkler heads. The piping system is filled with air. The sprinkler heads are closed and have fusible links or glass bulbs with liquid. Dry pipe systems are used in places where freezing temperatures are a problem. The purpose of the air in the system is to hold the sprinkler valve known as the clapper valve down to hold back the water from the source. There are two types of dry pipe systems: 1.Closed head 2.Open head or water spray systems

The closed head system is described above where there is air in the pipe and the sprinkler heads have a glass bulb with liquid at set temperature or a fusible link a set temperature. When the heat from a fire reaches the set temperature to melt the fusible link, or expand the liquid in the glass bulb bursting it, the air is released out of the open head opening the valve allowing water to flow into the pipe and out of the open sprinkler head. The closed head dry pipe system is used in areas where freezing temperatures are an issue. If the water freezes in the sprinkler pipe, ruptures of the pipe occur causing leaking. The system that has the open sprinkler heads

(nozzles) or water spray system has all the heads open and there is a pilot head (small diameter pipe filled with air with closed sprinkler heads) or detection system that when one head is heated by the fire to the pre-determined temperature, the air in the pipe of the pilot head system is released opening the valve to allow water to flow through the heads. The other detection system is either a rate of rise detector or protector wire also set at a pre-determined temperature. The valve is then opened electrically flowing water through the pipe. The purpose of the design of the dry pipe system is to have all the heads flow at one time since they are all open. Dry pipe systems are used to protect such things as: Large electric transformers Protection on tanks such as anhydrous ammonia Pumps The dry pipe system with open heads is sometimes called a deluge system since all the heads are open. The purpose is to get a large amount of water on the fire quickly or to protect an exposure from a fire. The exposure could be an adjacent transformer. If one transformer catches fire the adjacent transformer will be protected from the heat of the fire by the automatic dry pipe water spray system. Another system that uses the dry pipe concept is the pre-action system. In a pre-action system the piping is dry to the heads and there is a detection system that opens the valve to flow water to the pipes and sprinkler heads. The detection system used is usually smoke or heat detectors. For water to flow out of the sprinkler head the fusible link or glass bulb must be heated to the pre-determined temperature for the sprinkler head. Pre-action sprinkler systems are used to protect computer equipment and rooms.