Go with the Flow – Benefits of Fire Sprinkler Monitoring

Marco Cardazzi

On April 28th In Fire
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System Sensor WFDN Series Waterflow Detector

Fire sprinkler systems play a very important role in fire protection for most commercial and residential buildings. Often fire sprinkler systems are used to provide fire protection by releasing water or other fire extinguishing agents to limit the damage to a building and its contents. There are various types of sprinkler systems available depending on the building requirements and the local codes, including wet systems, dry systems, deluge systems, and pre-action systems. It is recommended to first consult with a building owner and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to find out what level of protection meets the local requirements of the building before selecting a system.

Like any type of system, there are undesirable occurrences which can prevent the system from operating as it was intended to; therefore, proper maintenance and inspection is important. Common failures in the system could be caused by mechanical, electrical, or simply human error. Since sprinkler systems are often mechanical systems only, it can sometimes be very difficult to know if the system has activated somewhere in the building or if it has become inoperable. In response to this, many manufacturers now offer sprinkler system devices that can be fully monitored for alarms, troubles and other events such as pump failures, low pressure events, or even if an unauthorized person happens to tamper with the system. Many of the valves, pumps, and other mechanicals used in the system provide electrical contacts that change state when the system activates or becomes inoperable due to unexpected events. Similar devices such as System Sensors’ WFDN series of water flow detectors offers an adjustable and field replaceable mechanical time delay mechanism to help prevent false alarms due to changes in local water pressure. They are UL-listed and NEMA 4-rated, with a directional cover that allows installers and inspectors to easily see the direction of the flow. The new cover design provides a better seal and is corrosion resistant, just as the sealed retard mechanism is immune to dust and other contaminants. It has both visual and audible switch activation and tamper-resistant cover screws.

Using these types of devices allows fire sprinkler systems to be monitored when connected to a fire alarm panel such as Fire-Lite Alarms’ MS-5UD or communicators such as the 411UDAC. These devices include built-in dialers that can alert an offsite monitoring company if there is a fire or if something unexpectedly changes in the system and it requires service. Monitored systems can also provide local annunciation of an alarm by ringing a bell or even turning on horn strobes when the fire alarm panel receives a signal that there is water flow in the system. It is still important that all sprinkler systems are tested and inspected regularly to NFPA requirements to ensure reliable fire protection for the building owner and its occupants.

Click here to check out waterflow control products available at ADI. Click here for ADI’s complete line of Fire solutions.