Domestic water sprinkler systems

Water Sprinkler systems

Domestic water sprinkler systems are used to protect your property against fire. Domestic and residential water sprinkler systems can be fitted to new and existing properties. Most rooms require 1 or 2 water sprinkler heads to afford complete protection. All water sprinkler heads are individually heat-activated and connected to a network of water pipes. If a fire starts, the nearest sprinkler will react automatically and extinguish. This can also control the fire before it becomes out of control.

There are two main types of domestic water sprinkler system. These are the full domestic sprinkler system and the partial domestic sprinkler system. With a full water sprinkler system all fire related areas are protected with sprinkler heads. Whereas, a partial water sprinkler system is used when a property only requires a small number of rooms to be protected. This may also include a primary root of escape.

Domestic water sprinkler systems are commonly used in as listed below.

  • Sheltered housing.
  • Multi-storey townhouses.
  • Houses with open plan living.
  • Multi-occupant houses.
  • Loft conversions without an escape route to a safe outdoor area.
  • Single escape route buildings e.g. windmills, and buildings with no access route or one which is very narrow.

If you would like to have a domestic water sprinkler system fitted, there some requirements that you will need to be aware of.

What is required for a domestic water sprinkler system?

With all domestic water sprinkler systems a network of water pipes need to be fitted. All this is because each sprinkler head is attached to the Mains Water Supply. Wet systems should be used in domestic properties because they are the simplest, easiest to maintain and are also the most cost-effective. The pipe work can be in copper, steel or in CPVC. CPVC standing for (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) which has been approved for this purpose.

water sprinkler systems

Fitting a water sprinkler system is similar to having your Central Heating System fitted. The difference is,  there is a lot less pipe work to install. With full domestic water sprinkler systems each room in the house is fitted with sprinkler heads. The heads are connected through the water pipes to the water source. Whereas, part systems require much less pipe work as they cover less rooms.

Sprinkler heads are fitted into the ceiling or high up on the wall. At the point where the water enters the sprinkler system there is a valve. This can be used to shut off the system for maintenance. For safety reasons it is kept locked open and only authorised persons should be able to close it.

With both full and partial domestic water systems you may require a Water Pump.  Pumps can be necessary, in a residential area where there is low or erratic mains water pressure. This will maintain a steady flow of water to the sprinkler heads. Water pumps are powered by a mains voltage supply which needs to be provided on its own circuit breaker.

Domestic water sprinkler system pump

Water storage may also be necessary to ensure the sprinklers are provided with water at a consistent rate. Domestic water sprinkler systems require a tank with a storage capacity of between 500 and a 1000 litres. Water storage tanks can be used in conjunction with a pump.

Water sprinkler systems have to meet building control regulations. Often they need to be installed alongside fire resisting partition walls and fire doors. This is especially important in an open plan living area or when converting a loft.

No fire escape in a loft conversion! Sprinkler systems are used to control the outbreak of fire so that the occupant can escape through the fire door. Occupants can also escape out through the window. Water sprinkler systems are essential for those who are disabled or less able to escape.

It is estimated that installing a sprinkler system within a property will reduce fire related casualties. This can be reduced by around 70%. Over a 10 year period, 99% of fires were controlled by sprinklers alone. 60% of fires were controlled by the spray from no more than 4 sprinklers. (Source: European statistics) For these reasons. Fire resisting partition walls and fire doors are not a suitable alternative for water sprinkler systems. Houses with sprinkler systems should still have fire alarms.

As most will think this is a specialist job you will still require a Plumber.


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