A flexible fire sprinkler drop with a bracket

Variable lengths, flexibility, and orifice sizes allow flexible drops to ease a common struggle for fire sprinkler contractors

Exact placement of sprinkler heads can prove challenging for installers. But it's an important task, both for the safety of the building and for smart use of water supplies. Before flexible drops, installers had only a handful of options available to them when design requirements or installation errors made small adjustments to sprinkler head placement necessary. Today, those contractors can make those changes in far less time.

But that's not the only benefit to flexible fire sprinkler drops: to get a handle on the need-to-know basics and benefits of a simple, yet surprisingly useful product, read on.

Browse our catalog of flexible fire sprinkler drops from industry-leading manufacturers.

Flexible fire sprinkler drops provide a useful alternative to straight, fixed piping

Flexible drops connect the rigid piping framework of a fire sprinkler system to a sprinkler head. Often, the sprinkler head's supply line features rigid pipe with a pipe nipple. When installers want to extend the length of that pipe, the standard solution involves a sprinkler extension. This small metallic fitting features threads—both for the pipe and the sprinkler head—connected by a length of what's essentially metal pipe.

One common alternative to a flexible fire sprinkler drop is a small sprinkler extension

One common alternative to a flexible fire sprinkler drop is a small brass sprinkler extension like this.

If instead, installers need greater lengths, or have more complex design requirements, they can install a flexible fire sprinkler drop. This device has a relatively flexible stainless steel hose that looks and functions much like the braided metal lines used in faucet installations.

A flexible fire sprinkler drop as it's installed in a system

When assembled, a flexible sprinkler drop looks like this.

The advantage of flexible drops is that they are much faster to install. Further, the threaded fitting end reduces the chance of leakage. And since they are furnished in lengths ranging from two feet to nearly seven, the sprinkler head can be positioned more precisely over the area to be covered by the sprinkler.

Versatility and ease of installation can make drops a cost-and-labor-saving purchase

Flexible fire sprinkler drops can be used in both wet and dry systems. They include a bracket that holds the sprinkler head in place. This helps contractors position the sprinkler head accurately in the center of tiles in drop ceiling applications. These drops also provide the adaptability to the movement required in earthquake-prone areas.

They must be matched to the supply pipe diameter, which governs total gallons per minute (gpm), so that they do not exceed the ability of the system to deliver equal water pressure to all sprinklers. There are also guidelines for the number of bends allowed, governed by the length of the flexible line.

The higher initial cost relative to a solid pipe style may be a deterrent. But in light of the much lower assembly time, price becomes less of a consideration when assessing costs throughout an entire fire sprinkler system. A sprinkler fitter can install flexible drops four or more times faster than rigid alternatives.

For seismic protection, ease of installation, and a look at leading brands, read on

For a more detailed look at these useful fittings, check out our in-depth articles on the topic, including:

If you'd like to compare flexible drops now, our supply of FlexHead and SprinkFLEX assemblies includes:

  • FlexHead assemblies in 24", 36", and 48" lengths for 3/4" sprinklers
  • SprinkFLEX assemblies in 28", 40", 48", and 71" lengths for 1/2" heads
  • 59" SprinkFLEX assemblies for both 1/2" and 3/4" fire sprinklers
A bracket-side view of a flexible fire sprinkler drop

With a variety of manufacturers getting in on the action, flexible fire sprinkler drops have become more varied and more affordable.

Shop our selection of FlexHead and SprinkFLEX flexible sprinkler head drops.

Can't find the information you need online? Call us at (888) 361-6662 or email [email protected].

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