Dry Pipe Sprinklers

A dry pipe sprinkler system is just as it sounds – a fire protection system with no standing water in its pipes. No water will enter the pipes until an emergency triggers its release from the valves to the pipes, and eventually to the sprinklers.

Dry pipe sprinkler system to protect unheated buildings

Unheated buildings like warehouses, parking garages, large refrigerated areas and outdoor pavilions need fire protection just as much as a heated structure.  The best option for such places is almost always a dry pipe sprinkler system.

The most common property types for a dry pipe sprinkler system are those that do not maintain an ambient air temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The dry pipe system is the second most commonly installed system and slightly more complex to design, build and install than wet pipe systems.

Dry pipe systems designed for buildings susceptible to freezing

Many property types that don’t require heat are susceptible to freezing, but they still require a fire protection system that will knock down any blaze. Garden or supply centers, exposed garages and attics are areas of buildings that will often face the brunt of cold weather in the winter. The dry pipe system is a perfect solution for such places as the lack of water in the pipes leaves no risk of freezing or ruptured pipes. In the event of an emergency during a cold snap, the force of the water running through the pipes and out the sprinklers will not allow it to freeze, giving the system the opportunity to extinguish a blaze quickly and effectively.

Dry sprinkler systems are mostly installed in unheated areas

Properties that are heated will most often use a wet pipe system, as they do not require the more complex and costly dry pipe system. However, its not only unheated areas that are the most appropriate for a dry system – water-sensitive areas are also good candidates. Furthermore, the dry system works well in active areas where exposed piping runs the risk of collision, such as with a forklift or other heavy machinery that could rupture a pipe on impact. While water will eventually come out of a ruptured dry pipe, the system can typically be shut down in time to prevent flooding, and repairs can be made to damaged areas.

Dry pipe system repair and maintenance for a variety of industries

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your dry pipe system has complex parts that need to be regularly maintained. Some dry pipe systems are under constant air pressure. Most systems have 1 psi of air pressure keeping up to 6 psi of water pressure behind the valve. Once the air/gas is released, the water flows to the sprinklers. The dry pipe valve is actually a simple concept, yet there are different options that must be considered with repair and maintenance.

Advantages and disadvantages to using a dry pipe fire sprinkler system

The most obvious advantage to using a dry pipe system is that it can be used in a building where freezing is a possibility. From unheated warehouses and attics to exposed landings and loading dock areas – they all benefit from the protection of a dry pipe system. Furthermore, dry pipe systems are a huge advantage to properties that have contents that are water sensitive.

Unlike with a pre-action system, should a dry pipe receive a significant impact, there is probably only a brief delay before the water will flow. There is no two-step initiation process or electric valve release as one would find in a pre-action system. Furthermore, the dry pipe system is more complex than most other systems, is costlier to install and maintain, offers less design flexibility and has the potential to suffer  corrosion if it is activated and not fully dried afterward.

Prevent water damage with a dry pipe fire sprinkler

Those relying on a dry pipe system know there will be a slight delay from the time an alarm or sensor triggers the flow of water to the sprinkler heads. However, this is a good tradeoff for areas where they would otherwise not be able to have a system installed. This is often due to the freezing temperatures in and around the structure. When water freezes in pipes, the result is often water damage due to a ruptured pipe.

At Valley Fire Protection, we have designed, built, installed and maintained a number of dry pipe systems for a variety of industries, so we know exactly how to tackle any project that requires this type of fire protection. Let’s talk about your fire protection needs and get started on installing the right system for your structure.

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