How do Automatic Wet-Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems Work?

Whether you are looking into having an automatic wet-pipe fire sprinkler system installed or already have one and are curious how it works, look no further! Automatic fire sprinklers work whether someone is present at the time of the fire or not. Their purpose is to help reduce the spread of fire or extinguish it entirely. This is important for all businesses but especially important if your facility houses a lot of inventory or contains expensive machinery. So how does a wet-pipe fire sprinkler system work?

How do they work?

The most common element used to extinguish fires is water, which therefore is most commonly what is used in automatic sprinkler systems. Other fire sprinkler systems can use other chemical or gas agents if your facility requires. But the main factor is that there is a network of pipes installed within your building to deliver these fire suppressing elements to areas needed. Wet-pipe fire sprinkler systems have water stored and ready to go in the pipes. In this sense, they are constantly ready if a fire were to break out. The pipes connect to sprinkler heads, which are what you probably think of when you think of a sprinkler system.

Sprinkler Heads

The heads themselves are visible on your ceiling, and they typically consist of a plug, glass bulb or fusible link, frame, and a deflector. The plug, in conjunction with the heat-sensitive element, is what seals the water in until it is needed. Sprinkler heads also come with different colored glass bulbs rated for different temperatures. This bulb will burst when temperatures rise above a certain level depending on their rating and releases the water. Sprinkler heads with a fusible link use a heat-sensitive alloy that melts when they reach certain temperatures. The metal elements then separate allowing the water to flow.

Only sprinkler heads nearest the fire will activate because of the heat affecting the bulbs. In a wet-pipe fire sprinkler system, the reaction is immediate because the water is already there stored in the pipe. The deflector is what helps the water spray outwards, which can come in an array of options depending on your needs for the best water distribution.


A certified professional needs to install your automatic wet-pipe fire sprinkler system. They are knowledgeable on NFPA codes and local requirements that must be followed. You don’t need to have a new construction building to install a system. Retrofitting a pre-existing building is always an option and can even qualify for tax incentives that provide tax credits where in some cases it can pay for itself.


A common fear about fire sprinklers is that they will accidentally go off, which is an extremely rare occurrence. Sprinklers go through rigorous testing before they reach your facility for installation. It is also mistaken that they work on the same premise as smoke alarms. Smoke does not set off fire sprinklers, but heat does. Also, if one sprinkler activates, all the rest do NOT follow. Only sprinkler heads activated by the heat of the fire will be activated.

If you need any automatic wet-pipe fire sprinkler system installation or repair, please contact us today!

Related Topics: Fire Sprinklers
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.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect With Us!

We are here to help! Please provide as much detail as possible so we can respond effectively to your request. We look forward to working with you.