Dry Vs. Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems

Do you need a sprinkler system in your home or office? First, you need to decide which system to choose. While there are several fire suppression options, wet pipe sprinkler systems are the most common. However, there are instances when you should think about other options. If you are new to fire sprinkler terminology, the phrase dry sprinkler systems may seem contradictory. The difference lies mostly in where the water is stored while the system is not in use. Dry and wet pipe sprinkler systems have their advantages and disadvantages. It is best to be informed when it comes time to decide what system is best for your building.

Here is a brief overview of the two most common sprinkler systems:

Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems

In wet pipe sprinkler systems, pressurized water is stored in the pipes. In the event of a fire, the water is immediately released from the sprinkler head. These are the most common option, and assembly and maintenance are generally simpler. Wet pipe sprinkler systems are also known to be slightly more reliable. It is best to use these systems in buildings with many people (high rises for example). The problem with wet pipe is that they cannot be used in environments that reach below 40° F. Leaks in the pipes can occur due to freezing and thawing of the water.

Dry Pipe Sprinkler System

As we mentioned in our Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems section, dry pipe systems are used in areas that reach freezing temperatures. For example:

  • Parking garages
  • Walk-in coolers
  • Unheated warehouses
  • Anywhere without temperature regulation

These systems are more complicated to design and build than their wet pipe sprinkler system counterpart. Dry systems require more moving parts which in turn lead to more repairs. Another downside of a dry system is a delay between fire and fire suppression. The gases in the pipe must be released before the water can flow through the pipe. Avoiding a burst pipe however is well worth the differences.

Next Steps

Deciding on what system you need now depends on where you are putting the sprinkler system. In a temperature regulated indoor environment, a wet pipe sprinkler system is perfect. If there is no temperature regulation or you are installing a fire suppression system in a cooler, dry pipe sprinklers are your best option to avoid a burst pipe. If you are still unsure, a sprinkler specialist will gladly look over the plans and tell you what you need.

At Valley Fire Protection we can give you the expertise you need when it comes time to install a sprinkler system. Give us a call today and we can give you an estimate.

Related Topics: dry pipe // sprinkler systems // wet pipe
By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.


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