Will fire sprinklers flood my house?

A fire breaking out in your home can be devastating. If you don’t get the chance to put it out immediately, it can quickly spread, destroying belongings and putting the lives of you and your family at serious risk.

It’s not something anyone likes to think about, but the sad truth is that fires in the home are remarkably common: from 2020 to 2021, there were 33,180 house fires in the UK alone.

Practising good safety habits lowers the risk of a fire, but no home is immune – all it takes is a knocked candle or a malfunctioning socket for a spark to turn into an inferno. When that happens, two things matter most: putting it out quickly, and ensuring the safety of the people and belongings nearby.

Sprinklers are one of the best ways to do just that. Installed in countless buildings across the UK, sprinklers been found to be 99% effective at putting out fires quickly, safely, and reliably.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding sprinklers. One of the most common myths is that sprinklers will flood a building once activated – some people even argue that sprinklers cause more property damage than fire does!

In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

At South Coast Fire Sprinklers, we install high-quality sprinkler systems in houses, flats, and care homes across the South. Below, we dispel the myth that sprinklers will flood your home, explaining in depth how they’re designed to minimise damage.

How do Fire Sprinklers Work?

When a fire breaks out, the heat from the flames raises the temperature of the air around it. Once the ambient temperature around a sprinkler head reaches its activation temperature (usually around 57-74°C), the glass bulb or metal element inside it shatters, allowing the sprinkler to activate.

Once the sprinkler is activated, a valve located inside the sprinkler head is opened. This valve allows water to flow through the sprinkler system’s network of pipes. The water is dispersed downward in a circular or fan-shaped pattern, covering a predetermined area. The pattern is designed to maximise the water’s effectiveness in suppressing the fire.

The discharged water from the sprinkler helps reduce the heat of the fire, controls the spread of flames, and limits the amount of smoke produced. The combination of water flow and the cooling effect of the water helps to prevent the fire from growing, giving occupants enough time to evacuate safely.

For a more detailed explanation, check out our page on how sprinklers and fire suppression systems work!

How Often Do Fire Sprinklers Go Off Accidentally?

Very rarely. Modern fire sprinkler systems are designed with multiple safeguards to prevent a false alarm, so the risk activating them accidentally is low.

The activation temperature inside a sprinkler is intentionally set at a high level to prevent it from going off without reason. On top of this, the glass bulb or metal element responsible for activating the water is designed to be highly reliable and resistant to accidental damage, lowering the risk even further.

While accidental activations are rare, they can happen. They’re usually caused by excessive physical damage, improper installation, or insufficient maintenance. However, such incidents are infrequent and can generally be avoided with proper care.

Will Sprinklers Flood My Home if Activated?

Not at all. Films and TV shows tend to portray sprinklers going off all at once, drenching the entire building (and everyone inside!). In reality, sprinklers act independently of each other. Only the sprinklers in close proximity to the fire will discharge water, while the rest of the sprinklers remain inactive. This prevents water damage in unaffected areas.

The only time all sprinklers will activate simultaneously is if they’re part of a deluge system, which are only installed in high-risk environments such as fuel or oil storage areas.

The amount of water discharged from the sprinkler system is also much less than what firefighters would use with hoses to put out a fire. This helps to reduce water damage within the fire-affected area.

Protect Your Home with a High-Quality Sprinkler System from South Coast Fire Sprinklers

South Coast Fire Sprinklers are the South’s go-to specialists in fire sprinklers and misting systems. Thanks to our years of hands-on experience, we have the expertise to design a cost-effective, visually appealing sprinkler system that you can trust to keep you and your family safe.

Our qualified team will install your new system quickly and efficiently, so you can have peace of mind without the hassle. But don’t take our word for it – find out what our previous customers have to say by reading through our testimonials!

Get a free quote online or call us on 01202 731111. We’re happy to answer your questions and explain our systems in more detail, so don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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