Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems

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How Exactly Do They Work

Fire sprinklers are a part of a vital system that help protect your building against fire. They are a part of a complicated system and they can become even more complicated because there are numerous different types of systems. Fire sprinkler systems include:

For this week’s blog post we will be focusing on Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems. Pre-Action Systems are very specialized. They are used in locations where accidental activation would be detrimental. These systems are good in data centers and museums.

How Do They Work

Pre-Action Systems are a combination of wet, dry, and deluge systems. Their exact make up can often depend on the goal of the system. Within a Pre-Action System there are three subtypes: single interlock, double interlock, and non-interlock.

A single interlock system is very similar to a dry system. The operation of this system requires a fire detection event to take place before water enters the system. Usually a heat or smoke detector are one of the devices that activate the system. Once the system activates a mechanically latched valve is opens to allow water to flow through the system and out of the fire sprinkler heads. The goal of the Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler System is to reduce the time delay of the water being delivered to the fire sprinkler system.

A double interlock system is similar to a deluge system.  The main difference is that automatic fire sprinklers are used. The operation of this system requires two fire detection events to take place before water flows through the system. This means that both a heat or smoke detector and at least one fire sprinkler needs to be activated before water will flow. If only one of the fire detection events occur then water will not flow into the system.

A non-interlock system uses the same ideas as both the single interlock and double interlock systems. But, the operation of this system requires either the activation of detection devices or automatic fire sprinklers. This means that a non-interlock system activates by either a heat detectors, smoke detectors, or the activation of automatic fire sprinklers. Once one of these devices activate then the valve is opens for water to flow through the system.

Pros and Cons

Pre-Action systems are great for buildings that contain sensitive materials. Places like museums and data centers that have priceless artifacts or complex computer equipment cannot chance accidental discharge. This makes Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems perfect for them.

The biggest advantage to single and double interlock systems is that water will not flow if a sprinkler opens, the piping system develops an air leak, or there is a loss of air pressure in the piping. Instead, there will be a trouble alarm. This alarm will allow the building to be notified that their system needs to be fixed. This allows for the system to be operational when it is needed. Another advantage to single and double interlock Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems is that they will only flow water in the event of activation of devices. This protects valuable material from accidental discharges.

If you still need a Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler System, but want the activation of fire sprinklers to be a trigger for the system then non-interlock systems are for you. They still have the protection of a mechanical valve, but they require less detection devices to operate them.

A disadvantage to all of these systems is that they are complex which leads to high installation and material costs. Although, those high costs are worth it in buildings that need these systems. Another disadvantage is that there are many working parts involved in these systems. This means that regular maintenance is vital to ensure that your system is always in working condition.

Here at IFS we pride ourselves in our knowledge when it comes to the vast range of fire sprinkler systems. If you want more information about Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems or any of the other fire sprinkler systems give us a call at 888-987-5322.

-The IFS Team