How Does A Fire Sprinkler Work?

How Does A Fire Sprinkler Work and How do Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Lives and Property

How Does a Fire Sprinkler Work?
How Do Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Lives and Property?

It is a proven fact that fire sprinkler systems are very important when it comes to fighting fires. They are actually so effective that death and property loss is 65% less in a building with fire sprinkler systems. But the question is how does a fire sprinkler work and how come they are so effective in firefighting?
Their effectiveness is one of the many reasons why we should have fire sprinklers in all commercial buildings. And not only. We should also have fire sprinkler systems in our homes. Imagine if all homes that caught on fire lately had fire sprinkler systems in place. People, property, and fire fighters would be safer.

And this brings us back to our questions: how does a fire sprinkler work? And how does the sprinkler system contain the fire? Does heat trigger a fire sprinkler? Or is smoke the trigger?

We are going to look at the picture of a fire sprinkler to understand what it's made of and what sets it off.

How Does A Fire Sprinkler Work

A fire sprinkler consists of:

  • Connecting Pipe Thread - connection to the water supply
  • Plug - upon activation, this plug frees the water
  • Glass Bulb filled with liquid - this bulb bursts at rated temperatures. The actual temperature depends on the sprinkler head type.
  • Sprinkler Deflector

How does a fire sprinkler work?

In order for a fire sprinkler to work as intended, it has to be part of a fire sprinkler system. To form a system, individual sprinklers are placed on a network of piping filled with water. Because the water is under pressure, we can say the fire sprinklers are always on standby.

Let's examine how fire sprinklers work step by step:

  1. Fire breaks out
  2. The air temperature above the fire raises
  3. When the temperature is high enough, the liquid-filled bulb bursts
  4. The sprinkler plug frees the water
  5. The sprinkler sprays water on the fire. Sometimes the fire is completely extinguished. Sometimes the sprinkler contains the fire, meaning it controls the heat and minimizes the amount of toxic smoke that develops.

Since the air temperature raises fast in a fire, the fire sprinkler is also activated fast. This is why fire sprinkler systems are so effective in controlling a fire. Or assisting fire fighters in combating fires.

Key Takeaways from our review of how a fire sprinkler works

  • Smoke does not activate fire sprinklers
  • Heat from a fire activates a fire sprinkler
  • Only the fire sprinkler closest to the fire activates and sprays water
  • The amount of water discharged by a fire sprinkler is minimal (10-15 gallons per minute). If this was not the case, we'd be trading fire damage with water damage. But that is not how a fire sprinkler works.
  • Fire sprinklers almost always extinguish the fire. If the fire is not extinguished, it is contained until the fire department arrives
  • Unlike what you've seen in movies, fire sprinklers don't all activate at once
  • Fire sprinklers are a great addition in residential buildings as well, not only commercial ones

In Conclusion

Fire sprinklers are effective in extinguishing or containing fire because they react fast after a fire breaks out. They reduce the risk of injury and death because they reduce the flames, heat and smoke of a fire. Fire sprinkler systems give people the time needed to evacuate the building. They reduce property damage because they contain or extinguish the fire before the fire department arrives. Fire sprinklers are one of the best tools we have to fight fires.


fire protection tampa - services provided by sprinklermatic florida

Fire Protection Tampa Florida: Extending Our Services:

Extending Our Services: Fire Protection Tampa Florida

Go west young man, Go West!

In a small office in the corner of a home, with a pipe rack and fittings in the garage, Sprinklermatic sprung from its humble beginnings in 1987. With long nights of accounting, estimating, days of turning wrenches and honoring clients, little by little, a formidable brand has been built in the South Florida market, building some of the tallest towers and most complex projects in town. 

The team of now more than 210 members has decided to go west. Our client base of contractors and developers has asked that we push into the Gulf Coast market so we will follow the road map that made us successful some 30 years ago: hard work and humility. It is imperative that our successes on the East Coast transition west, bringing years of experience in leadership to a growing market, and offering design-build delivery methods and knowledge of systems to an area that will soon require multiple zone pumps in its quest for taller structures. Sprinklermatic’s team will be an obvious answer for the coming challenges.

The team, led by Robin Collier in estimating and sales and Timothy O’Brien in operations looks forward to bringing solutions to a new marketplace. We offer training and education on estimating of fire protection as it relates to the most current standards and state requirements, along with best practices in closeout of projects that minimize stretched dates on certificate of occupancy. Sprinklermatic’s goal is to not only deliver our discipline on time but to assist the team in bringing all of the life-safety systems across the finish line in a well-sequenced, collaborative manner. In addition, we maintain a high bonding capacity ($20 million single and $50 million aggregate) with Liberty Mutual and an A+XV A M Rating, with additional job references available upon request.

Fire Protection Tampa Florida offered by Sprinklermatic

Moving West - Fire Protection Tampa, Florida

The obvious concern for all parties pushing west is manpower. Our solution is simple: We will only sign up for what we can do. Our success in South Florida has simply been following through with our word. Sprinklermatic’s goal is to personally come and meet with your team, introduce our highly qualified West Coast team, and determine how we can partner with you in making your next project a success with the same humble, hardworking approach that has given us the opportunity to do so.

For more information, please feel free to reach us at 813 508-2776, Robin@sprinklermatic.net or Tim@Sprinklermatic.net


Echo Brickell Miami - Fire Protection System by Sprinklermatic

Echo Brickell Miami - Fire Sprinkler System Design

Fire Sprinkler System Design for Echo Brickell Miami

Capturing the Imagination at Every Turn with Echo Brickell Miami Project

When a project comes across a fire protection designer’s desk that is 612 feet tall, with 3735 heads, and 3 fire pumps, some guys would one-click a large bottle of Advil from Amazon. This is what Echo Brickell Miami was for the Sprinklermatic fire protection engineering team.

Brian Reynolds design team leader for the Echo Brickell skyscraper in downtown Miami certainly didn’t take that approach. He was super excited to continue his quest to design the most complex fire sprinkler system for Echo Brickell Miami at the highest of heights in Miami. Supported by his team of designers and BIM (Building Information Modeling) team we worked closely with the John Moriarty team to provide multiple iterations of owner units and deliver the best possible fire protection design to the field for installation. With PMG as owner/developer the pressure was on to provide a high level of collaboration to integrate unique features such as automated parking as well as the lobby shark tank.

A big thanks to our entire Sprinklermatic team and the trade partners, Power Design, Olympia Plumbing and Cailis Mechanical for working day and night to bring this design and project to fruition!

Fire Sprinkler System Design for Echo Brickell Building


5-year Fire Sprinkler System Inspection

5-Year Fire Sprinkler System Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance

Under NFPA 25 guidelines, there are several frequencies for a fire sprinkler system inspection, testing and maintenance. One of the most important and overlooked inspections is the 5-year fire sprinkler system inspection. This article will touch on key points about the 5-year inspection and why it’s so important. So let’s dive right into the 5-year fire sprinkler system inspection, test and maintenance.

We must first note who is responsible for the 5-year fire sprinkler system inspection. The building owner or the owner's representative have the responsibility for the inspection. They are also responsible for accessibility to the building and fire sprinkler components.

There are several different types of fire sprinkler system. Each type of system has different requirements for inspection, testing, and maintenance. What we need to determine first is what type of system is in the building. A qualified fire sprinkler contractor can do that for you. Once you know what type of sprinkler system you have, the inspection requirements can be laid out.

We must also note that the building owner must keep all records of fire sprinkler inspection, testing, and maintenance. These records will inform the qualified fire sprinkler contractor of the type of inspection and services needed.

Fire Sprinkler System Components. How They Relate to the 5-Year Fire Sprinkler System Inspection

There are 4 types of fire sprinkler systems: wet, dry, pre-action and deluge systems. These system have several similar components that need a 5-year fire sprinkler system inspection, testing and maintenance.

Gauges

You should replace gauges every 5 years or test them in comparison to a calibrated gauge. In general, it is more cost effective to change the gauges every five years.

Fire Sprinklers

Another common component are the sprinklers. In a fire sprinkler system inspection, we test the sprinklers exposed to harsh conditions and replace them where needed. A qualified contractor can determine these environments.

Sprinklers that need testing and sometimes replacing:

  • Solder-type sprinklers with a temperature rating of 325 exposed to ambient temperatures. Test a sample sprinkler to determine if they still function as they should.
  • Sprinklers in service for more than 75 years. Test a sample sprinkler to determine whether they need replacing or not. In general it is more cost effective to replace such old fire sprinklers.

Private Service Water Main

A private service water main provides water for your fire sprinkler system. It can be underground or exposed piping. Every 5 years, you should perform a flow test on your water main. This test will determine the condition of the piping. A licensed contractor will perform a flow test on a hydrant. They will check the a main drain and the hose and fire department connection condition. They will compare results to previous testing and the original one. This way they'll investigate deterioration of water demand. This testing will determine if the private service water main provides the correct amount of water for your system.

Water Storage Tank

If a storage tank provides water for your system, the 5 year requirements are as follows.

  • Unless you have a non-corrosive protection tank in which case a 3 year internal inspection is required by the standard.
  • Every 5 years you should inspect the interior of the water storage tank.
  • It is not necessary to drain the entire tank
  • NFPA 25 allows certified commercial divers or remote video as an alternative means. D

During this 5 year inspection, the inspector will look for signs of pitting and corrosion. He will also check the tank coating, pin holes, cracks and wall thickness. The tanks that are ring type foundation sand in the middle are inspected for voids beneath the floor.

The inspector will check the heating system piping and components. He will also inspect the anti-vortex plate for deterioration or blockage. This inspection identifies failure points or weakened areas of the tank. The level indicators are also tested every 5 years. This test ensures this component works as intended and your tank has the correct water levels. Failure of this can cause a tank to over flow or you may have an empty tank at some point.

Mainline Strainer

(if applicable)
If your system has one, the inspection team will remove and inspect it for damage and corroded parts. This can affect the flow of demanding water for your water protection system.

The neglect of these items can be damaging and costly. But most of all, it causes your fire protection system to be completely compromised.

Valves

All systems equipped with alarm valves need a 5-year inspection. The inspector will verify the operation of the clapper and the valve seat. He will also look for corrosion or obstruction materials. Any foreign materials can clog up the system, not allowing to function as it should. The inspector will also make sure there is no re-pressurizing of areas where it is not needed. Or the system doesn't release pressure where it is needed.

The inspector will also test pressure reducing, pressure relief, and fire hose valves. This test ensures the system is not over pressurized or under pressurized. This testing information shows if the system is receiving the designed pressure.

Obstruction Investigation

One of the most important parts of a 5 year inspection is the obstruction investigation. This investigation consist of the piping and branch line. The inspector will open a flushing connection at the end of one main. He will also remove a sprinkler towards the end of one branch line. The reason for this inspection is to detect the presence of foreign materials.

MIC (Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion)

The presence of MIC in piping is a serious problem. MIC creates leaks, pin-hole leaks and spreads throughout the entire system. Other common foreign materials are zebra mussels, rust, work gloves and scales. Zebra mussels are present in systems with a natural water supply such as lakes and rivers.


To Conclude
The 5-year fire sprinkler s ystem inspection is important for the performance of your fire protection system. Sprinklermatic inspectors know the importance of the NFPA 25 standard. We also know how neglected components of a system can impair its performance. If a 5-year inspection is not performed correctly, it can cost loss of lives and property damage.
 
Future Articles:
In future articles we will look at the 5 year inspection of standpipe and fire hose.

Echo Brickell Fire Sprinkler System Design and Installation

Echo Brickell Fire Sprinkler System Design and Installation

Being selected by John Leete and Rick Schuerger of JMA as the fire sprinkler design and installation contractor to work with their team on the amazing PMG project Echo Brickell, was quite an honor. This projects design team led by Brian Reynolds of Sprinklermatic included 3 pumps in series to achieve the required 100 psi flow at the roof which measures 612 ft., we were fortunate to work with Sam Wayland and his coordination team along side of Stantec to solve the design requirements with multiple owner unit changes. This type of collaborative effort with incredible trade partners such as Power Design, Olympia Plumbing and Cailis Mechanical translated into a well-run machine for our team in the field. Adam Crowell as superintendent and Eli Dawson as foreman communicated and worked with John Daniels of JMA who brought his multiple years of experience in the High Rise space to the table. We have now completed the building and began testing for finals. We look forward to Echo Brickell opening in the coming weeks.

  • 57 Story Tower
  • 180 Condo Units
  • 1 to 3 Bedrooms Studios
  • Robotic Lifts Parking System
  • 3 Stories Height Gap Housing A Full-Floor Infinity Pool Deck

Echo Brickell Miami FL Fire Sprinkler System Design and Installation


Fire Protection Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management in Fire Protection - 7 Steps to Success

Supply Chain Management in Fire Protection - 7 Steps to Success

CPVC FAILURE DUE TO CONTAMINATION – HYBRID SYSTEMS (STEEL & CPVC)

SPRINKLERMATIC has created a unique Supply Chain Management system that utilizes a Single Source for all our material. Our Supplier manufactures the CPVC pipe, fittings and glue. They distribute through their own supply houses. They fabricate and deliver both steel and CPVC.
SPRINKLERMATIC emphasizes training trough our annual Best Practice training day. All of our team members receive proprietary CPVC training and certification. We are the only Fire Sprinkler contractor to have CPVC glue ASME Bonder qualification.

Supply Chain Managment-REV6-02

Supply Chain Management involves the handling and oversight of material, from the time it is manufactured to time of install. Here at Sprinklermatic we take pride in the SCM process we have implemented. Sprinklermatic works directly with our Trade Partners, a global leader in fire protection and life safety systems, to bring the highest quality product to every project in the most efficient manner possible.

COMPATIBILITY WITH CPVC PIPING

Through the observations and investigation of field installations, and with laboratory analysis, it has been shown that the exposure of certain chemicals and chemical combinations can affect the overall performance of CPVC products. This has become a noteworthy issue in regards to the reliability of fire sprinkler systems over the past several years. Laboratories and manufacturers have addressed this issue by releasing literature identifying products that are compatible with CPVC products, as well as literature listing specific products that are not compatible with these CPVC products. For a product to be considered “compatible” with CPVC it must be identified as suitable by CPVC manufacturers, or suppliers, for use with all CPVC products and combination (or hybrid) systems and/or it must be deemed suitable for use in such systems by a third party when tested to a generally accepted protocol. There are a number of these protocols available for the purpose of evaluating suitability.

WHEN ADDRESSING COMPATIBILITY ISSUES WITH CPVC, WE CAN ORGANIZE OUR CONCERNS BY VIEWING THEM IN THREE SPECIFIC AREAS.

1-MIC - Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (Whatch this video to find out what MIC is)

The first area of concern is the presence of internal antimicrobial coatings for steel pipe, when used in combination with CPVC products (i.e. hybrid systems). Our trade partners Fabrication shop has been audited and is responsible to provide a Blazemaster CPVC compatible fabrication facility; using only products that are Blazemaster CPVC compatible.

2-The second area involves ANCILLARY PRODUCTS used with CPVC such as cutting oils, thread sealants, and antifreeze.
By eliminating multiple vendors and working directly with a single source who Manufacturers – Distributes – Fabricates Steel and CPVC – Delivers – Trains and Certifies the installers; we feel like we have gone through great lengths to prevent CPVC contamination. As a sole source provider; we have eliminated the finger pointing as to the responsible party for contamination due to ancillary products. Our trade partner has audited the manufacturing, fabrication and distribution facilities and has documented that no incompatible products are present in either facilities.

3-The third area is the non-ancillary chemicals and products used by other trades and building owners. Non-ancillary products are those that are not directly associated with sprinkler system installations and include products such as lubricants, paints, and pesticides. Sprinklermatic and it’s trade partner offer a One Hour Lunch & Learn for all key subcontractors on the job, prior to construction, and discuss the general Do’s and Don’ts of CPVC use on the job. Our trade partner will provide the appropriate ongoing observations and ongoing training, as needed, for the duration of the project

Supply Chain Managment-REV6-01


BIM (Building Information Modeling) Design

3D BIM (Building Information Modeling) Design

Solitaire Brickell Fire Pumps

Having our design team, led by Scott Searing SET, work with Balfour Beatty and ZOM on the Solitaire at Brickell project has been an incredible pleasure. The viewpoints showcased here provide great insight to how complicated this building really is. With (3) Diesel fire pumps, fed in series, all trades had to be involved in coordinating the fire protection systems. Marcus Nicely, of Balfour Beatty, provided a collaborative environment leading the BIM efforts. He allowed the trades to use the overhead coordination, and clash detection, to its full capacity.

These early efforts, in design collaboration, have fostered a very successful field environment for all trades involved. Working with industry leaders such as Power Design, Rightway Plumbing and Jorda mechanical the project is currently tracking ahead of schedule, and will be ready to top out in late April. BIM efforts can often create a downside in the field when not properly applied. Ever Padilla has worked with the Team at Balfour Beatty, led By Jim Zupancic, Roman Orofino, and Jeremiah Sizer, to create an AS-BIM AS-BUILT deliverable to the owner.

Sprinklermatic has been drawing in 3-D for over 13 years. Should you be seeking design services or a trade partner that can bring this experience to the table, please reach out to our team to see the level of detail we can provide for your next venture. Visit our YouTube page, for some examples of this work.

Solitair Brickell FIRE PUMP-02Solitair Brickell FIRE PUMP-01


Inspecting. Testing. Maintenance.

Inspecting. Testing. Maintenance.

What's wrong with the picture above?

Don’t lose control of the situation when your fire protection system is impaired. Sprinklermatic has a 24 Hour Emergency Response TEAM that can get your system back in Service.

One Call Does It All (954.327.3686)

INSPECTING – TESTING – MAINTENANCE for fire protection systems and equipment

1. Fire Sprinklers

2. Fire Alarms:

3. Fire Extinguishers

4. Emergency Exit Lights

5. Fire Hydrants: Compliance with FS 633.082

6. Live Hands On Training: On site or at our Training facility- Sprinklermatic University

7. Fire Pumps:

8. Standpipes – Fire Hose valves – Fire Hoses

9. Engineered Life Safety System: Compliance with High Rise Retrofit Requirements FS 718.112(I)

10. Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC)

11. Temporary Fire Pump Trailer


Excuse me while I kiss the Sky

"Excuse me while I kiss the Sky"

James Hendrix, 1970

I believe Mr. Hendrix may have said it first, however the TEAM at the Panorama Tower can certainly feel confident in echoing that sentiment, having risen above the clouds this past January, the tallest building between here and NYC certainly is making a statement. This amazing 868 ft. tower, developed by the team at Florida East Coast Realty, and built by the Tutor Perini Building Corporation, is creating a race to the sky here in Miami. With recent FAA approvals, this community is about to see what we call in the marlin fishing community a “grander” at better than 1000 feet.

Our team, led by Scott Gorham and David Stewart, met the first challenge in early 2016 by getting the first 16 floors of parking open. The man‐hours that went into that effort alone was amazing, however to see the team pull together the next 66 floors has been a great deal of fun to watch. This fire protection system is intricate to say the least. When Robin Collier first met with the team he literally had to go to the drawing board to better understand the pumping systems and water requirements. He pulled in Design Team Leaders, Brian Reynolds and Scott Searing SET, while working very closely with Kris Singh at Steven Feller PE, it wasn’t long before we knew we could do it. With 5 pumps, a break tank, and 22,000 gallons of water held at the roof and pumping down the building, Miami had seen nothing like it. The collaboration between Developer, Builder, Designer of Record, and contractors has created a team that will deliver a monumental project here in Miami.


Best Practices Day - Family First

Sprinklermatic Best Practices Day - Family First

For all of my years, the Thanksgiving holiday has been a very emotional time. In my earliest years, it was a great family event where I learned to help others whether in school doing a turkey drive or feeding the homeless.  Those values have become tradition and each year I am reminded of how fortunate we are.   For the last several years, although grateful and thankful, I have struggled with the holiday season as it has reminded me of loss.  Having lost the two best men I have ever known during the holiday season, I cannot help but be reminded of loss at this time of year.

This week, as we celebrated Best Practices Day, I believe I had a breakthrough.  As I watched the team enjoy a great family first event and watched them help each other, I realized that the loss that I struggle with is the basis for what had been created in Best Practices Day.  When Robin and I first started to talk about Best Practices Day, it was a time to better the team; to build values and promote culture.  Yesterday, as I watched the men and women of Sprinklermatic interact, I was overwhelmed with the culture and values that we have become.

While talking to the team, I heard things like, “…Word on the street is that Sprinklermatic is the place to be”. I heard a young helper say that he will be in the superintendents’ picture in the coming years.  A superintendents told me that he would soon start in a CAD class to become a designer.  I witnessed a leader of 14 years get overcome with emotion when asked about our culture.  I saw pictures of family members being shared, presidents of local companies commented on how impressive the team is.  The Collier girls were met with big smiles from the team, my wife was amazed by how many of the men and women gushed over our soon to be daughter.

As I stood at the end of the day fighting back a tear and addressing the team in the pouring rain, a rainbow broke through the clouds.  At that moment, I was reminded that Robin and I have been groomed and mentored by the amazing men and women who have taught us about family and it is our purpose to promote those same values everyday with the team!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

FAMILY FIRST