Frequently Asked Questions
How do sprinklers work?
A system of pipework runs through a building with sprinkler heads at various intervals throughout the property. The pipes are ready filled with water acting instantaneous should a fire break out. Only sprinkler heads closest to a fire will operate, usually just 1 or 2, this limits damage to areas a fire has not reached and the operating heads can quickly suppress the fire. Sprinkler heads have been very well designed and developed to be very effective in stopping a fire.
How do sprinklers protect people?
When a fire breaks out, people often panic, don't know where to exit a building and may not be able to use fire extinguishers. In contrast sprinklers respond automatically and autonomously to quickly suppress, extinguish and stop the spread of fire and smoke, allowing a buildings inhabitants to escape safely.
Other than where there has been an explosion, there has never been multiple fatalities in a fully installed fire sprinkler system building in the UK.
Worldwide, the total number of deaths in a installed fire sprinkler system building is just 50, compared to thousands in an unprotected building.
Will a sprinkler system falsely activate?
No, Sprinkler heads require a lot of heat from fire ceiling jets, everyday heat sources or smoke will not activate a fire protection sprinkler system.
Can you fit sprinklers into older properties?
Yes, We specialise in retro fitting systems, this is perhaps the most challenging installation type we fit, we work alongside and around clients and inhabitants of buildings to make the job run smoothly with minimal disruption.
How long does a sprinkler system installation take?
Sprinkler system installations are generally very quick and only require a few visits for the most basic systems, installation all depends on the system size and type required, so times can vary.
If the system activates will all the heads open and flood the building?
No, the sprinkler heads closest to a fire will operate, usually 1 or 2, heads require hot ceiling jets from fires to activate. Systems operate until manually shut off at the Control Valve or until pumps deplete tank stores or are also manually deactivated after a fire is extinguished.
How big will a tank and pump be and where would it go?
The size of a Fire protection sprinkler system storage tank all depends on the size of the sprinkler system it is feeding. Generally tanks start at only 1 metre square (1m3) for small domestic systems and can be installed outside in a purpose built tank house.
Can a sprinkler system run off my existing water main?
Yes, if it proves to be adequate to supply your system, this is fine and we can weigh up the costs of either a new main or water tank and pump system to see which is more cost effective for you. If a new connection is required, we can liaise with the local water authority and self certify the installation as Southwest Sprinkler Systems is WRAS approved for this.