The basic components of a fire sprinkler system are the sprinklers, system piping and a dependable water source. Most systems also require an alarm and system control valves.
Other major sprinkler system components include:
- Control valves – A sprinkler system must be capable of shut down after the fire has been controlled, and for periodic maintenance and modification. Control valves provide this function. In the simplest system a single shut-off valve may be located at the point where the water supply enters the building. In larger buildings the sprinkler system may consist of multiple zones with a control valve for each. Control valves should be located in readily identified locations to assist responding emergency personnel.
- Alarms – Alarms alert building occupants and emergency forces when a sprinkler water flow occurs. The simplest alarms are water driven gongs supplied by the sprinkler system. Electrical flow and pressure switches, connected to a building fire alarm system, are more common in large buildings. Alarms are also provided to alert building management when a sprinkler valve is closed.
- Drain and test connections – Most sprinkler systems have provisions to drain pipes during system maintenance. Drains should be properly installed to remove all water from the sprinkler system, and prevent water from leakage onto protected spaces, when piping service is necessary. It is advisable to install drains at a remote location from the supply, thereby permitting effective system flushing to remove debris. Test connections are usually provided to simulate the flow of a sprinkler flow, thereby verifying the working condition of alarms. Test connections should be operated every 6 months.
- Specialty valves – Dry-pipe and preaction sprinkler systems require complex, special control valves that are designed to hold water from the system piping until needed. These control valves also include air pressure maintenance equipment and emergency operation/release systems.
- Fire hose connections – Fire fighters will often supplement sprinkler systems with hoses. Firefighting tasks are enhanced by installing hose connections to sprinkler system piping. The additional water demand imposed by these hoses must be factored into the overall sprinkler design in order to prevent adverse system performance. Double check valve assembly backflow preventer for automatic fire sprinkler system
- Backflow preventer – The normal backflow requirement for an automatic fire sprinkler system is a double check valve assembly. When chemical additives are a part of the sprinkler system, such as anti-freeze, the backflow protection is typically by a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. A backflow preventer prevents the backflow of polluted water into the potable water supply.
- Manifold – Manifolds are used to run direct water lines to each plumbing fixture. The manifold system saves installers time by eliminating the number of connections required in the system. Pressure fluctuations are also reduced.