System Fire Protection

Fire protection piping systems store and/or transport fire extinguishing media.

The most common systems use water as the fire extinguishing media. These systems can be wet pipe or dry pipe. The most common is the wet pipe system, which contain water all the time. Because of this, the building must be kept above freezing. The piping supplies sprinkler heads, which are installed at designated spacings throughout the building. These sprinkler heads are typically held shut with a glass bulb or a fusible link. The glass bulb is filled with a liquid that will expand and burst the tube on a temperature rise. Fusible links are two pieces of metal soldered together with a solder designed to melt at a certain temperature. When the temperature rises to a certain point (typically 135°F, 155°F, or 250°F is common), the tube will burst or the link will melt and water will flow from the head. In these systems, only sprinklers that experience high heat will deploy.

Dry pipe systems are the second most common system and contain pressurized air or gas which holds water back until a sprinkler opens. When a sprinkler head opens, the pressure in the pipe drops allowing water to flood the system. These systems have a slightly longer delay than wet systems, since it takes time for water to flow through the pipes. These systems are typically used in unheated buildings, such as parking garages and warehouses.

Pre-Action systems are a hybrid wet/dry pipe system. The pipes are dry and charges with pressurized air or nitrogen. If a heat or smoke detector detects a fire, the pipe is flooded with water. Then, if/when a sprinkler activates, water will be dispersed over the fire. This two-step activation helps to prevent accidental releases of water in sensitive areas such as museums, libraries, etc.

Deluge systems do not use glass bulbs or fusible links at the sprinkler heads. They are dry pipe systems and every sprinkler head is open. When a fire is detected by something like a smoke alarm, water floods the pipes and every sprinkler is used to suppress the fire. These systems are used in highly flammable or hazardous areas.

Wet Chemical or Chemical Foam suppression systems are commonly used in kitchens, where grease fires can occur, or any place where there is a liquid fire hazard. Foam mixes with water and expand over the fire, cooling it and eventually smothering it by eliminating the oxygen supply. Foam is stored in a tank and mixed with water in the case of a fire.

Inert pressurized gas systems use nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, or a mixture of these gasses to lower the concentration of oxygen to put the fire out. The advantage is the complete lack of water, chemicals, or foam. However, lowering oxygen levels hazardous to occupants.  Additional safety systems must be deployed to warn occupants about the impending suffocation hazard before the gas is released.

Dry chemical systems release a powder that is capable of suppressing various classes of fires. The type of chemical used depends on the class of fire hazard. These systems store the powder in a tank and use a pressurized gas cartridge (typically nitrogen) to propel the powder through the pipe and out of nozzles in the system. 

Compatible Materials

Carbon Steel Pipe

Manufactured as welded or seamless, and in a variety of wall thicknesses, (Light, Standard,...


 Copper is a long lasting, corrosion resistant, lightweight and strong material that...


 Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) is a thermoplastic pipe and fitting system made with...

Galvanized Steel Pipe

 Steel pipe that has been dipped into a molten zinc bath is commonly known as "Hot...

PEX Tubing

Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX) is a thermoset material made from medium or high density,...