If you're considering installing fire sprinklers in a new building or need to replace existing sprinklers, it is very important to understand the different fire sprinkler types. The form and shape, as well as the use and purpose, differs among sprinkler head types. Sprinkler heads are available in four primary types including pendent, upright, sidewall, and concealed.
Once you've selected a type, additional options become available including temperature, finish, and response type. While we will address the options throughout this article, it is important to know that each type of fire sprinkler meets a different need so therefore getting the right sprinkler is paramount. But don't worry, by the time you finish this article you'll know exactly which type you need!
If you already know the type of fire sprinkler you need, QRFS offers a full selection of Tyco, Victaulic, and Senju fire sprinklers.
How do fire sprinkler heads work?
Functionally, the way fire sprinkler heads work is fairly simple: the glass bulb is filled with a glycerin-based liquid which expands to break the bulb at a specified temperature. Once that happens, the flow of water held back by the bulb flows out towards the deflector which disperses it on to the fire.
While there are numerous options when it comes to a fire sprinkler head, they all perform the same basic function: containing and extinguishing fires. Additionally, nearly all fire sprinklers are composed of the same components: a sealing assembly or ‘plug’, a temperature-sensitive glass bulb, a deflector, and a frame.
Upright Sprinkler Head
Upright fire sprinklers stand upright...imagine that! An upright sprinkler sprays water upwards and the deflector, which is curved, deflects the water back down to produce a hemispherical spray pattern.
Don't they look like upside down pendent sprinklers?
Upright fire sprinklers are suited for areas that are difficult to access, like around beams, ducts, and other ceiling obstructions, or in ceilings without a finish (eg., no drop ceiling or drywall). These sprinklers are commonly found in buildings with exposed ceilings, like many chic restaurants or mechanical rooms. It may be useful to think of an upright fire sprinkler like an upside down pendent fire sprinkler, only with a concave deflector.
It's probably easy to figure out where a sidewall fire sprinkler is meant to be installed. They protrude through the wall and basically only have half of a deflector, which sprays water in a half circle or crescent shape.
They're designed to protect small rooms, hallways, and other areas where sprinkler pipes are running up walls but not in the ceiling. You've probably seen one in a hotel room, where they are most commonly found. They are designed to be installed on the wall, instead of in the ceiling, along or under a beam. However, sidewall sprinklers perform the same basic functions as other fire sprinklers.
Concealed Sprinkler Head
Concealed fire sprinklers are somewhat like pendent fire sprinklers; however, they're located within the ceiling and they're hidden by a cover plate. Once the cover plate is installed, you can't see the concealed fire sprinkler at all. The cover plate will fall off at a temperature about 20 degrees lower than the fire sprinkler, allowing the deflector of the concealed sprinkler to drop and be exposed to the heat from the fire.
While the finish of the cover plate might concern you more than the finish of the concealed fire sprinkler itself, these fire sprinklers are available in brass and are available in quick response and standard response. The cover plates are available in white, chrome, and black, with special colors available upon request. Word to the wise: whatever you do, do not paint fire sprinkler cover plates.
So now that we've reviewed the primary fire sprinkler types it is important to point out that these are far from the only types and options available. Over the years, fire sprinkler manufacturers like Tyco have developed many specialty sprinkler heads for very specific applications. Extended Coverage Light Hazard (ECLH), Extra Large Orifice (XLO), vertical sidewalls, and even mist systems are all different types of fire sprinklers. However, those are a topic for another day.
Fire Sprinkler Types
In conclusion, there are four primary types of basic fire sprinklers: pendent, upright, sidewall, and concealed. They are all available in a variety of temperatures, finishes, and size.
There is no "best" fire sprinkler, there is only the right fire sprinkler for your specific application. That is why, when considering adding fire sprinklers to a new building, it is critical that you hire a licensed fire sprinkler designer to make sure the sprinkler type, location, and temperature meet the room size requirements necessary to effectively protect the room.
If you're considering replacing fire sprinklers, note that the system must be drained in advance.
So now that you are an expert in the four most common fire sprinkler types, click the link below to explore QRFS' selection of commercial and residential fire sprinklers. We stock the four types from Tyco, Victaulic, and Senju Sprinkler. We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service, so if you have questions or concerns just give us a call at 888-361-6662. Otherwise, click the link, order your sprinklers, and we'll deliver them to you promptly!
This blog was originally posted by Jason Hugo and Courtney Montanye at QRFS.com/blog on December 29, 2016 and updated by Anna Hartenbach on July 30, 2017. If this article helped you find the right fire sprinkler head type to meet your needs, let others know on Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.