Why Are There Different Types Of Sprinkler Heads?

Construction & Contractors Blog

When you see a fire sprinkler system, do you ever actually look at it and see if it is different from any other one in the building? Probably not. However, knowing and understanding the different types and styles of fire sprinkler heads can be crucial to understanding how the system will react in the case of a fire.

How sprinkler heads work

Sprinkler heads are connected to the sprinkler pipe lines. These pipelines are fed water through a main pump system. This system can either be wet or dry, depending on whether the overall system has water in its pipes (wet) or air that will transition to water once the sprinkler heads open (dry). Sprinkler heads have a small glass rod inserted between the top metal 'hat' and the bottom piece that connects to the rest of the pipe system. When a fire in the area gets hot enough to raise the ambient temperature to a certain heat, the glass melts or fractures, which allows the water to spray out of the connecting piece, hit the hat, and disperse in the general sprinkler shape.

Different colors mean different things

You may have noticed that some sprinkler heads' glass pieces are differently colored. The color of the glass tells you how high the ambient temperature of the room has to be for the glass to shatter or melt. An orange glass means it has to be 135F, red means 150F, green means 200F, and blue means 286F.

Different shapes for different purposes

You may have also noticed that some sprinkler heads are not shaped the same as others. This is because there are special sprinkler heads that are made for very specific areas. Sprinkler heads are always supposed to overlap a little. This allows them to make sure that they cover the entire area with water to put the fire out.

But, one big sprinkler in a stairwell may not cover the whole thing well. So for stairwells, for example, there are sprinkler heads that mount sideways and only have half of the normal design. This allows for one to be placed on one wall and another to be placed across from it to ensure maximum coverage. Other areas, such as mechanical rooms where you need even more coverage, also have specialized types of sprinkler heads to make sure that their job is done to the best of their ability.

There you have it, a quick and dirty summary of how sprinkler heads work, and why their colors and shapes are different depending on where you are. Hopefully this will help to inform you of your fire safety protection in your own building!

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16 June 2015

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