Around 15-20% of the entire fire suppression systems installed throughout the U.S. are dry fire suppression systems. Though they are not much common, but in comparison to a wet fire suppression system, the dry pipe sprinkler system is more suitable in some cases. Let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of a dry fire suppression system. But before that, let’s first discuss when to apply a dry fire suppressor.
This type of fire suppression system is mainly used for 2 different purposes: accidental water discharge and freeze risk. This system is installed in places subject to extremely cold temperatures when involving the risk of water freezing within the sprinkler pipe, resulting in a burst. Examples include cold storage facilities, parking structures, attic spaces, and loading docks.
Another example of installing a dry fire suppression system is to safeguard a sensitive or critical area that is susceptible to accidental water discharge, which may cause substantial downtime or damage.
Advantages of a dry fire suppression system
The cost of installing a dry pipe sprinkler system is more than a wet pipe sprinkler system, but in some cases, they can greatly decrease entire project costs. Let’s take an example of an attic space in which there is no need to heat and insulate the guarded space. In majority of the commercial buildings, vacant spaces need sprinkler protection system that use flammable construction materials. There is a significant cost differentiation between installing a dry fire suppression system and using non-flammable materials.
In other examples, this fire sprinkler system is comparatively less costly when the substitute needs significant construction or architectural changes, like a parking area adjacent to an inhabited building.
Disadvantages of a dry fire suppression system
Let’s now share their disadvantages. Because of their complexity and more rigid installation requirements, they’re more costly and takes more time to install in comparison to their alternative wet fire suppression systems. Also, they need more maintenance and testing than a conventional wet pipe sprinkler system. They need drum drips and auxiliary drains to be applied regularly along with a partial or full trip testing of their dry pipe valve after every 1-2 years.
System longevity and reliability must also be taken into consideration when comparing wet and dry pipe systems. Here it’s important to state that oxygen deficiency can cause leaks and corrosion in a fire sprinkler system. A dry pipe system has quite an unlimited oxygen supply when accompanied with regulatory compressed air. Whereas a wet pipe system has adequate oxygen supply that is completely used within 3-4 months.
Thus, a dry pipe system corrodes faster than its alternate fire suppression system. Internal corrosion waste can result in obstructions and limit pipe diameters causing reduced system performance and delayed water sprinkling times during fires. Corrosion also causes pin hole leaks and wall thinning that results in costly system repairs or premature replacement.
Based on the comparison between dry and wet pipe sprinkler systems, it can be concluded that wet pipe systems are more popular in commercial buildings. Also, they are less costly to install and perform loyally for a longer time.