Types of Sprinkler Systems

In many cases, fire sprinklers are required in commercial buildings and some localities are beginning to require them in private residences. The reason for this legislation is simple.  Fire sprinklers save lives and property.   Even when not required by law, installing a fire sprinkler system is a good idea.  Not only does it help stop fires when they happen, it can lower your insurance liability. There are many types of fire sprinklers.  Below are descriptions of the four most common types and their applications.


Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are filled with air.  Water will only pass through the system when the smoke alarm or detector goes off. A pre-action system requires two triggers to start water flow. This type of system helps prevent accidental triggering of water flow due to mechanical failure or false alarms. The pre-action system works best in places where the sprinklers are only necessary when there is an actual fire.  It is used in buildings such as libraries and data center where an accidental triggering of the system would cause extensive damage.

Dry Pipe

Dry pipe fire sprinkler systems are similar to pre-action systems as they use pressurized air in the pipe which exits before water flows. This causes a short delay in water discharge but is ideal for buildings with low temperatures where there is increased risk of pipes freezing.  This type of system is typically used in buildings such as warehouses in climates where the temperatures are below freezing during parts of the year.

Wet Pipe

Wet pipe fire sprinklers always have water in them, resulting in a quick reaction to a fire.  Wet Pipe systems are the most common type of sprinkler installed in buildings are often found in multi-story office buildings and other high rises. This fire sprinkler system is easy to maintain and cost effective..


Deluge fire sprinkler systems also need a smoke or heat detector like the pre-action system but uses open nozzles that can be used when a hazard is present and the need to put a fire out quickly is urgent. Tanks of flammable liquids, for example, often use deluge fire sprinklers.   This type of system is often found in industrial parks.

Red Hawk Fire Protection has experience with all of these systems and can custom design a system for your specific needs.

801 Valley Ave NW, Suite D, Puyallup, WA 98372

(253) 840-9900

3801 Fruit Valley Road, Suite D, Vancouver, WA 98660

(360) 984-3712