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How Fire Sprinklers Work

In order to understand why fire sprinklers are imperative to help protect your business or building from fire, it is important to know how they work in the first place. A fire sprinkler has a plug that is held in place with some sort of trigger, usually a glass vial filled with liquid. When the liquid is heated by the flames and vapors of a fire, it expands and breaks the vial when it reaches a certain temperature. Once the plug has been broken, water begins to flow from the system.

During a small fire, only the fire sprinklers above the fire usually activate. This is because as a fire burns, it steadily increases the temperature of the air that is directly above it. As the hot air rises, it spreads across the ceiling. When the hot air reaches a fire sprinkler head, the sprinkler trigger activates in order to activate the water flow. This release of water usually immediately cools down the heat source so that other sprinklers will not activate.

Often, only one or two sprinkler heads are actually needed to contain and control a fire. However, if the fire continues to burn, more sprinkler heads may activate.

Types of Fire Sprinklers

There are two main types of fire sprinklers:

  • Control mode sprinklers: Control the fire and prevent collapse of the structure by cooling down the fire and wetting surfaces to prevent the fire from spreading. The fire is fully extinguished once firefighters intervene or once the burning object has been consumed.
  • Suppression mode sprinklers: Reduce the temperature of the fire quickly and then extinguish it before intervention by firefighters.

Depending on the type of building, control mode or suppression mode systems may be installed. An Austin fire prevention specialist can help you make the right choice for your building.

Contact Us

To learn more about fire sprinklers, contact the Austin fire sprinkler inspection professionals at Ace Fire Equipment today by calling 512-835-2020.