Sprinkler Systems: What’s Better, Wet or Dry?

Fire is one of the most destructive forces in nature. Whether it’s caused by weather-related events like lightning or manmade forces like electrical problems, improperly discarded cigarettes or other causes, if left unchecked, fire will destroy everything in its path. It can also spread very fast and quickly get out of control. Aside from prevention, the best way to fight a fire is to get to it right after it starts. That means having an automatic response like a fire sprinkler system in place.

Fire sprinkler systems exist in nearly all commercial buildings. This is for good reason—these automatic systems turn on to suppress a fire at the first signs of it and are usually triggered by an extreme increase in heat. They won’t activate just because you lit a candle, and smoke will not trigger the sprinklers to activate.

There are two main types of fire sprinkler systems: wet sprinkler systems and dry sprinkler systems. Here is some more information about each to help you decide which is best for your commercial building:

Wet sprinkler systems

A wet sprinkler system uses water to put out flames. This is a network of pressurized pipes with sprinkler heads that are full of water and placed in strategic locations on the ceiling. At the first sign of a fire, the sprinkler system activates and sprays water over the area.

Many sprinkler systems will only activate in the area where the extreme heat is detected, so you won’t have to worry about excess water damage in other areas of the building. They do, however, carry an increased risk of water leakage since the pressurized pipes will be full of water at all times to activate immediately in case of fire. There is also the risk that the water will damage sensitive equipment in the area if activated.

Dry sprinkler systems

On the other hand, dry sprinkler systems do not contain water in the pipes at all times. These systems use pressurized air or nitrogen to keep water out of the pipes until it is needed. When a fire is detected, a release valve is triggered, and the air is released, allowing the water to flow into the pipes and out of the sprinkler heads to extinguish the fire.

Though it can be more expensive to install and maintain a dry sprinkler system compared to a wet sprinkler system, that extra cost does come with some added benefits. One main benefit is that because water does not sit in the pipes, they do not run the risk of freezing and potentially bursting. It also means that this type of system will not leak and drip water in the building.

Whether you need a wet sprinkler system or a dry sprinkler system, or if you need more information to make your decision, get in touch with the experienced, licensed professionals at Carpet Capital Fire Protection Inc. to get started on solidifying the safety of your commercial building today. We look forward to helping you protect your property.