Pre-Action Sprinklers: What to Know

Fire sprinkler systems are a necessity in commercial buildings. In addition to fire sprinkler systems that work as soon as a potential fire is detected in the building, there’s also pre-action sprinkler systems. Here’s what a pre-action sprinkler system does and why it may be necessary within your building:

What is a Pre-Action System?

A pre-action sprinkler system is a fire safety product used in buildings and rooms that house materials that shouldn’t get wet. Property owners who rent out their facility or use it for their own purposes may need a pre-action system. For example, a pre-action system can benefit museums, IT equipment rooms, and cold storage warehouses. This type of system has safeguards in place to ensure that the sprinkler system will not be activated unless necessary. This helps to protect the contents of the building and only release water when it has to be done to combat an actual fire within the room.   

How it Works

There are different types of pre-action fire sprinkler systems. In general, the pre-action fire sprinkler system has sprinklers and piping similar to a regular fire sprinkler system; however, the piping isn’t filled with water immediately. The water flow is activated only when the system encounters one or more actions, and the pre-action valve is engaged. Two types of pre-action sprinkler systems exist: single interlock and double interlock. 

Single Interlock System

The single interlock system requires fire detection, such as smoke detector activation or heat notification. If either of these events occurs, the pre-action valve will engage and let water enter the sprinkler pipes. This type of pre-action system prevents water from flowing out unless there is a specific alert, and this type of system doesn’t take too long to activate once a pre-action occurs.

Double Interlock System

The double interlock system has two safeguards, one being the fire detection event and the other being the automatic sprinkler activation. When both events occur, the water will enter the sprinkler pipes for sprinkler activation. The double interlock system is a good idea if you want an extra layer of protection to prevent false fire detection, as this system has to go through two safeguards before the water is released. On the other hand, since it does have to go through two layers of protection before the sprinklers are activated, there may be a delayed response compared to the single interlock system. 

If your building has items within it that need extra protection from premature sprinkler activation, a pre-action sprinkler system may be ideal. Consider whether a single or double interlock system is best for the needs of the building owner, occupants, and contents within. The Total Fire Protection team can highlight more information about both options and help you with your pre-action sprinkler needs. 

Contact Total Fire Protection today to learn more about pre-action sprinkler systems!