Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems
Written by webtechs

Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems

What do high-rise buildings, stadiums, medical centers, and warehouses all have in common? These massive commercial structures necessitate the use of commercial fire sprinkler systems to provide the best possible fire protection. When it comes to the usefulness of fire sprinklers, there are many myths that obscure the realities

When extreme heat reaches the sprinkler heads, commercial fire sprinklers douse the flames. Massive amounts of heat pour upward toward the ceiling as flames unwind in seconds. Heat infiltration is how fire sprinklers work.

In fact, glycerin-based solutions are stored within the glass bulbs of fire sprinklers. The glycerin-based liquids inside the bulbs swell when hot air of 135 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit collides with them. The bulb shatters as the liquid expands. As a result, the sprinklers are turned on right away.

It’s reassuring to know that the toast burning in the office break room won’t set off the fire sprinklers.

Myth: When one sprinkler activates, all sprinklers activate as well.

Sprinkler systems are frequently dramatized on television. Commercial sprinklers are shown in movies going off like firecrackers, with one sprinkler activating the sprinkler systems for the entire floor.

The truth is that each sprinkler works in its own unique way. The water from just one or two sprinkler heads is enough to put out the majority of flames in commercial environments. According to data compiled over the course of 80 years of automated sprinkler use, 82 percent of fires are put out with no more than two sprinkler heads.

Myth: Sprinklers cause catastrophic water damage.

Fire sprinklers release significantly less water than a firefighter’s hose, which does far less damage. When a fireman tries to put out a fire on a commercial building, he uses six times the amount of water that a sprinkler system would. As a result, a fire service visit and subsequent extinguishment can result in considerable water damage.

Install a business fire sprinkler system to keep water damage to a minimum. Remember that a single sprinkler head rarely activates the entire system. Small fires are put out, and water damage is minimized.

Myth: Smoke alarms provide ample protection, hence fire sprinklers are unnecessary.

While smoke detectors notify staff to the presence of a fire, they do nothing to extinguish it.

Furthermore, if a fire breaks out late at night or on weekends, the fire alarm system fails to put out the flames, allowing the fire to spread and destroy property long before the fire trucks arrive.

Myth: Fire sprinklers aren’t very effective in saving lives and reducing injuries.

Fact: When an automatic fire sprinkler system is installed, the number of injuries and fatalities is minimized. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 0.8 deaths per 1,000 recorded fires in houses with an automated extinguishing system (AES); nevertheless, there were 6.3 deaths per 1,000 reported fires in structures without an AES. According to the research, buildings with sprinkler systems have an 87 percent lower death rate than those without.

There are alarming statistics about fire-related injuries and the essential role sprinkler systems play. When a structure had a sprinkler system, there were 23 injuries for every 1,000 recorded fires. This means that buildings with sprinkler systems have a 27 percent lower injury rate than those without. The fires were either too small to activate the sprinklers, or injuries were inflicted in the first stages of the fire outbreak, before the sprinklers could activate, resulting in injuries.

Myth: There is no need to maintain a business fire sprinkler system.

Sprinkler systems, like any mechanical device, require regular maintenance in order to function during vital moments. Sprinkler failures can be caused by a lack of maintenance. It’s worth noting that, because to advances in fire safety equipment, fire sprinkler failures are becoming less prevalent.

Regular maintenance involves ensuring that pipes do not freeze in freezing weather, testing sprinklers weekly, monitoring pipe pressure, inspecting heads for damage and unrestricted flow on a regular basis, looking for leaks, and ensuring that valves open and close properly.

Additionally, property owners should make sure that the sprinklers are turned on. While it may appear sensible, the sprinkler system was turned off in 59 percent of sprinkler system failures.

Myth: Installing sprinklers has no impact on property insurance premiums.

Certain local rules may require the installation of sprinklers. While installing sprinklers might be costly for certain businesses, many insurance companies will lower premiums if a sprinkler system is installed. Annual sprinkler inspections are essential to maintain the lower insurance prices.

If your commercial property’s fire sprinkler system is turned on and well-maintained, a fire is unlikely to cause substantial damage. In the event that a tiny fire breaks out and is quickly put out by sprinklers, the fire damage will be minimal.

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems
Written by webtechs

What Type of Fire Can Be Put Out Safely with Water?

There are five classes of fires, and they are classified according to what fuels them. Extinguishing a fire successfully depends on the fuel. A fire needs fuel, oxygen, and heat. To effectively put out a fire you need to remove one of these elements. Read on to learn more.

Fires are classified as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K. Each type of fire involves a different flammable material and a special approach to safely putting it out. Trying to extinguish a fire with the wrong method can be dangerous and make the situation worse.

  • Class A fires involve solid materials such as wood, clothing, paper, and plastic. These fires are the most common and ones that you are most likely to be familiar with. Many Class A fires are caused unintentionally by accidents such as knocking over a candle to lightning hitting a tree. Class A fires are the easiest to put out and you can use a water or foam extinguisher. The fire is smothered by extinguishing the fire’s heat supply.
  • Class B fires involve flammable liquids rather than solids. Common causes for these fires include gasoline, alcohol, and oil. It is important to note that despite involving liquid, this Class does not include cooking fires. Water does not extinguish Class B fires and can spread the flammable liquid, making it worse. You must only put out these fires with powder, foam, or carbon dioxide extinguishers to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
  • Class C fires involve electricity, and they can be started in old wiring, frayed cords, or faulty appliances. Should you notice an electrical fire, you must try to disconnect the appliance if it is safe to do so. Use a powder or carbon dioxide extinguisher to put these fires out. Water and foam cannot be used as they are both electrical conductors and can make the situation more dangerous. Once the power supply is shut off, Class C fires become Class A instead as the electrical component has been removed.
  • Class D fires are very rare and occur when metal ignites. These are rare because most metals require high temperatures to ignite but alkali metals like aluminum, potassium, and magnesium can ignite when exposed to water or air. You therefore, cannot use water on these fires and can only use a dry powder extinguisher. The powder works by separating the oxygen from the fuel or removing the heat.
  • Class K fires involve cooking liquids and fats and sometimes can be grouped together with Class B fires. These fires have high flash points and commonly occur on the stove when pans are left unattended. You need to remove the pan from the heat as soon as possible and never use water as it can cause a dangerous splatter effect. A wet chemical extinguisher is best for cooking fires.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

When faced with fire it is beneficial to know the ways to put out a fire and what types of fires can be put out with water. Just as there are different types of fires, there are different types of extinguishers:

  • Class A extinguishers put out common flammable materials such as wood, and paper.
  • Class B extinguishers are for grease, oils, and gasoline.
  • Class C extinguishers will put out electrical fires.
  • Class D are for flammable metals.

The materials in these extinguishers that put the fires out are either water, foam, dry powder, or carbon dioxide.

  • Water extinguishers: These work by removing the heat element and spray water propelled by air onto the flames.
  • Carbon dioxide extinguishers: These contain a mix of gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide stored at a high pressure. When released the carbon dioxide spray smothers the oxygen, starving the fire.
  • Foam and dry powder extinguishers: These work similar, with the canister either filled with foam or powder. These are propelled by compressed nitrogen and smothers the fire by depriving it of oxygen from the surrounding air.

You can purchase multipurpose extinguishers for your home, and they will put out common household fires. Most industrial or commercial properties will have extinguishers on site that can effectively put out any types of fires expected in that environment. Learn the basics of fire extinguishers on Fire Rescue Magazine.

How to Safely Extinguish Fires

There are certain fires that you are more likely to come across than others, but it is important to know how to put them out should you encounter any of the different types of fires.

  • How to put out a gas fire: Water will be ineffective but you can smother the flames with a blanket. You can also use a powder or foam extinguisher.
  • How to put out a chemical fire: ever use water as this can spread the chemicals further. Extinguish these fires with foam or dry powder.
  • How to put out a gasoline fire: Gasoline fires will require a foam or powder extinguisher. If you can, use wet rags or sand to smother the fire. This is only effective if the amount of gasoline is small.
  • How to put out an electrical fire: Do not use water. Unplug the device or appliance if safe to do so and turn off power if possible. Use a multipurpose extinguisher or smother the flames with a blanket. Baking soda can also be used on small electrical fires to smother the flames.
  • How to put out an alcohol fire: You need a carbon dioxide extinguisher for alcohol fires or cover it with something non-flammable and heat-resistant.
  • How to put out an oven fire: Close the oven door and turn it off. If flames come out of the oven, you can use a multipurpose extinguisher or throw baking soda on the flames.
  • How to smother a fire: Smothering a fire involves depriving it of oxygen and this can be done by using a blanket.


Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Commercial Building Sprinkler Systems: When Are They Required?

Fire safety is highly important for owners and managers of commercial buildings. A fire in a commercial establishment could lead to serious injury or even death of employees and customers. Read on to learn more about sprinkler systems.

Fire Sprinkler Requirements for Commercial Buildings

Some of the more important fire sprinkler requirements for commercial buildings include:

  • Automatic fire sprinkler systems must be installed in all newly built commercial buildings with a fire area that exceeds 5,000 square feet, after any remodeling or renovation that extends the fire area beyond 5,000 square feet, or any single tenant expansion requiring a new certificate of occupancy that increases the fire area beyond 12,000 square feet. Fire sprinkler systems must be installed throughout the building and must be designed to provide the maximum amount of coverage.
  • Sprinkler systems must be installed in townhomes that contain more than two residential occupancy units per building.
  • Buildings more than 55 feet in height must have automatic sprinkler systems installed throughout the building.
  • Fire pumps should be installed to increase the amount of pressure in a sprinkler system when the system is fed by a non-pressurized water tank or when the municipal water system does not have sufficient pressure to provide enough water to sprinklers. Wherever possible, fire pumps should be housed in separate buildings. If pumps are located in the same building, they should be in a fire-rated room with an exterior entrance. Pump room entrances should be clearly marked to make them easier to find and access.
  • Water supply control valves must be accessible for easy operation. Valves located in stairways must be protected and easily accessible during a fire. Valves should be clearly identified and marked, with exterior signs showing locations of indoor valves. Valves should be marked with information indicating areas or locations covered.
  • Self-storage facilities must have automatic sprinklers installed throughout the facility, except in one-story facilities with no indoor corridors and with a one-hour fire barrier.

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Written by webtechs

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning

Read on to learn more about fire safety and planning for prevention.

Fires affect thousands of companies each year resulting in injury, lost customer trust and building damage. By establishing a fire prevention and preparedness program, you can help avoid injuries to your employees and visitors, costly damages, and potential fines to your business. Below are some best practices to help prepare your facility for a fire emergency.

Implement a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan – Emergency response is easier when everyone knows their respective responsibilities. Establish a detailed fire emergency evacuation plan that dictates how to respond, when to respond, and identifies a path of egress. If employees have special needs or require special attention, address these details in the plan.

Establish a Fire Prevention Plan – A fire prevention plan provides facilities with documentation outlining the employees responsible for identifying combustible materials, fire hazards and heat-producing equipment. It also outlines the procedures necessary to prevent potential emergencies. The fire prevention plan should be communicated with all employees and available in writing for review at any time.

Train Team Members – On an annual basis, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NFPA require fire extinguisher training for employees. Every employee should receive required training and be briefed on new or updated regulations.

Maintain Emergency and Exit Lights – To ensure paths of egress and exits stay illuminated at all times, implement a routine maintenance plan to check lights and replace broken or burnt out bulbs. In addition, regularly test emergency backup power and exit lights to confirm they are functioning.

Practice Proper Housekeeping Techniques – Daily housekeeping tasks play an important role in keeping facilities clear of fire hazards. Make sure trash and packing materials are in metal containers with tight-fitting lids. Clean up flammable materials immediately, including chemical spills and oil to reduce the risk of fire. Likewise, extra storage and equipment should be in proper storage areas clear of aisles or fire exits and not interfering with automatic sprinkler systems.

Create a Fire Emergency Response Team – Develop a team of individuals who are trained and educated in fire emergency plan procedures and are willing to enforce fire safety and prevention methods throughout the building. The team members will assist others during a fire emergency and help guide people to safety.

Preventative Maintenance – Enlisting a licensed and certified fire protection company provides facility managers with quality inspections, safety tests and repairs to fire protection equipment. Establish frequencies as outlined in NFPA code by the equipment manufacturer and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Why Do Sump Pump Float Switches Fail?
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What is a Building Management System?

The primary aim of the BMS (Building Management System) is to guarantee the safety of facility operation – read on to learn of some examples.

1.HVAC System. The duct temperature, pressure, and humidity, as well as exhaust temperature are connected to the BMS, and if their value exceeds defined limits, an alarm is generated.

2.Central Fume Collection, Laminar Flow Units, Dust Collection System, Central Vacuum System, Heat blowers. The BMS monitors the performance of these systems, allowing for early identification of units requiring maintenance. Sudden breakdown would signal via alarms and then appropriate action can be taken to protect the product.

3.Technical Steam System. Should, for instance, the pressure or temperature in the piping system fall below the defined regulatory values for clean steam, the BMS shall trigger an alarm, indicating a threat to product quality.

4.Hot Water System and Central Heating. Temperature and pump control monitoring via the BMS allows for a proper functioning of hot water distribution through the facility.

5.Chilled Water System. Control of the facility chillers could be supervised by BMS to monitor proper behavior of the system in terms of water/coolant temperature control or pump control to assure proper distribution within the distribution loop.

6.Sprinkler System (for fire safety).

7.Electrical Monitoring System. The BMS may monitor the consumed electrical power and the state of main electrical switches.

BMS Advantages

  • It protects your most costly equipment by allowing you to keep close tabs on it and ensure it functions properly.
  • It simplifies the management of your facility, making it easy to access and control any area of your building’s operations.

It helps your building operate more cost-efficiently through automatic scheduling and occupancy controls.

BMS Disadvantages

  • Building management systems are expensive, sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars at the outset in addition to high recurring fees to keep it operational.
  • The limitations in the data it provides won’t help you achieve maximum energy savings and operational efficiency.
  • It may be missing some of the smaller equipment that also offers opportunities for savings.
  • BMSs are disparate, siloed systems that don’t work collaboratively.


Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

What is a Fire Water System?

A fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection method, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flowrate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected. Although historically only used in factories and large commercial buildings, systems for homes and small buildings are now available at a cost-effective price. Fire sprinkler systems are extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 96% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone.

A firewater system generally has four main sections:

1. A supply of firewater. This can come from storage tanks, a firewater lagoon, or a natural body of water such as the sea or a lake or river.

2.A pumping system that provides a sufficient flow of water to extinguish the fire.

3.A header network of pipes, often in the form of a ring main that transfers the water from the pumps to the fire.

4.Hydrants, nozzles, sprinklers, or other local devices for directing the firewater to the location of the emergency.


Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Fire Protection vs. Fire Prevention

What is the difference between fire prevention and fire protection? Read on to learn more!

Fire protection and fire prevention are both essential to keeping you and your property safe but they are subtly different.

Fire prevention involves proactive steps taken to reduce fire hazards so that a fire does not have a chance to ignite. Fire prevention reduces these hazards through regular maintenance, inspection, and testing of the systems in your building. You should have regular maintenance and testing scheduled with a professional to keep systems in working order. Fire protection systems are a series of components that work together to detect fires and mitigate the negative impacts. Fire protection includes alarms, suppression systems, sprinkler systems, extinguishers, and any technology that allows you to alert people or monitor the fire.

Why you Need Fire Protection and Prevention

Do you have your heating system regularly inspected but don’t know the last time you’ve checked the fire extinguishers? If so, you are neglecting your fire protection and require fire protection services. Do you feel confident your building is up to code on the amount and location for fire alarms but your staff is not trained on fire prevention strategies? If so, you are missing an integral component of fire safety. Both fire protection and prevention are necessary for your safety and security. Fire prevention is essential to limit risks and reduce hazards that could potentially start fires. However, not all fires can be prevented and risks are almost never entirely eliminated. For that reason, fire protection is also necessary.

Fire prevention and fire protection are extremely important but can also be complicated with so many moving parts. That’s why it’s important to choose a fire protection service provider that is knowledgeable and experienced. 


Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Fire Protection Systems

Fire systems are not only integral to the operation of a business, their benefits are incalculable in the event of the fire, increasing the likelihood of reduced damage to equipment, inventory and documents. Read on to learn more.

Understanding How a Fire Protection System Functions

A common fire protection system is a smoke detector and a sprinkler. If a fire sparks, smoke sets off the detector causing the sprinkler system to activate. The water protects against the spread of fire. However, automatic fire suppression systems using clean agents are a superior choice.

Benefits of Fire Protection Systems

A fire impacts business operations for a significant period of time and may cost millions to a small business.  Equipment may need to be replaced, and valuable contracts could be lost. All of this must be taken into consideration. An additional benefit of some types of fire protection systems is the automatic dispatching of emergency services.

Determining the Appropriate Fire Protection System

As many fire protection systems are permanent, so it is vital to think about your facility’s future needs, not just its present needs.

You must hire a company who understands your needs who can customize your fire protection options. If you do not have adequate protection, you may face exposure and downtime.

Active vs. Passive Fire Protection

Fire protection can be active or passive. Examples of passive protection include fire doors and fire escapes. Active fire protection uses a system that reacts in case of a fire. Examples of active fire protection include sprinkler systems and special hazard fire suppression systems.

Active vs. Non-Electric Detection

Non-electric fire detection does not require electricity.

You will also want to think about the system offering and any services that come with it.

  • Will the system give you around the clock detection?
  • Does it notify authorities once triggered?
  • What are the recommendations for ongoing inspection or testing of the equipment?

When you want to protect critical equipment or machines, a fire suppression system may be your best option.

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems
Written by webtechs

Types of Fire Protection Systems

Minimizing the risk of fire at your business or home is highly important. Read on to learn more about the different types of fire protection systems.

Active Systems

  • Fire sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, smoke and fire alarms are all part of an active fire system.
  • Active systems can be manually activated or automatically activated.
  • Active systems are designed to alert people of an emergency so they can evacuate.
  • These systems are most effective when people are aware of how they work and know what to do in case of an emergency. hence why fire drills are so important!

Passive Systems 

  • Passive fire protection extends the time period for evacuation by suppressing smoke and fire.
  • Examples of passive systems more commonly used for commercial installation include fire-resistant walls, fire doors, and fire dampers for air ducts.
  • The design of these devices enables them to automatically engage when heat or smoke is detected. Their purpose is to contain the fire in the location that it originated in order to slow it from spreading to other areas of the building.

Clean Agents

  • Clean agents protect one-of-a-kind assets. This agent avoids damage often associated with traditional water sprinkler systems.

Gas Systems

  • Gas systems work by displacing oxygen that is present.
  • These systems are designed to be safe for use in areas where people are working, although if only carbon dioxide is used for fire suppression.
  • Gas systems leave no toxic or liquid residue that might damage or be a hazard to property or equipment.

Dry Chemical

  • The dry chemicals, also known as powders, are typically made of sodium bicarbonate or mono-ammonium phosphate.
  • The powder type will depend on the type of business the system is being installed in. 

You can also utilize a combination of above known as hybrid systems. Water Line Controls can assist you in choosing the best options for your business or home.


Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Chillers In Winter Weather Conditions
Written by webtechs

Chiller Tips For Cold Weather

Chillers have to be able to work year round and in some cases it is a good idea to make sure your chiller can work at maximum capacity. Follow these tips to make sure your chillers work hard through the cold weather.


  • Glycol charts will display the ambient temperature and give you an indication of the total amount of glycol you will need. To do this you will have to utilize a refractometer, specifically inhibited propylene glycol that is especially made for HVAC systems, especially for high and medium temperature chiller applications.
  • Snow and ice must be kept off the chiller condenser coils as they can damage fan blades and restrict the air flow through the condenser and this will reduce the potential of the cooling abilities of the chiller.
  • Use the manual controls for your head pressures. Head pressures drop during very cold weather and if the chiller is not one that has ambient control equipment such as a flooded condenser or fan cycling, the chiller may not operate correctly. One way of solving this is to block the flow of air through the condenser by wrapping it with plastic or using some card board to block the condenser. it is not a perfect fix, nor a permanent one but will work on a temporary basis.
  • By allowing the pump to run, it should provide sufficent warm water to keep the fluid above the freezing level or above the freeeze levels of the glycol. But at night, the ambient temperature of the air will cool down the fluid rapidly. When the pump is allowed to run, heat will be added from the pumps and from inside the buildings.
  • By planning ahead, you can ensure your chiller is equipped to handle the cold weather conditions in your environment. If you perform a maintenance check in Spetember, it will give you ample time to make any needed alternations.
  • Make sure everything in the system is correctly and completely installed including pumps, piping, safeties and controls.
  • Make sure the cooler evaporator is connected to its separate electrical service and checked for the correct voltage.
  • Perform an inspection for cracks and leaks before the onset of cold weather. This may be an action that saves you tens of thousands of dollars over the winter.
  • Develop a back up plan should your chiller lose power over the cold weather period of the year.
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