Not many people go into work or into any commercial building and wonder where the fire sprinklers are, but they are one of the most important pieces to fire safety and protection. All commercial buildings require some sort of fire protection system and sprinklers are often the first choice. But regardless of how important they are, or how many buildings have systems installed, there are several myths surrounding fire sprinklers and how they work, many of them created and perpetuated by Hollywood films.

At MLN Fire Protection in Houston, we offer complete fire sprinkler inspections, as well as system installation and regular maintenance to ensure that the equipment is working as it should and can protect the building, employees, and other assets inside the building. There are several regulations and requirements when it comes to fire sprinklers and our team has the knowledge and experience to make sure your business and commercial building is compliant. Contact MLN today for a consultation or to schedule your inspection.

Clearing Up Myths Surrounding Fire Sprinklers

Myth: Commercial Fire Sprinklers Are Activated by Smoke

Even though it’s more dramatic to show a cloud of smoke hovering around a sprinkler before water starts spewing out, smoke doesn’t actually trigger the sprinklers to turn on. Rather, heat from the flames causes fire sprinklers to activate. When there is a fire, a surge of heat from the flames rises and causes glycerin-based liquids inside the sprinklers to expand. When the heat is between 135 and 165 degrees, the heat causes a glass bulb on the sprinkler to shatter, and triggers the sprinklers.

Myth: When One Sprinkler is Triggered, They All Are

It’s not uncommon for a film or a TV show to portray a whole floor of soaking wet employees when there is a fire located in a break room in one corner of the building. However, most fires in commercial buildings are put out with one or two sprinkler heads. Sprinklers aren’t triggered by nearby sprinklers going off, but from heat, like mentioned above. Sprinkler heads that are too far away from the heat won’t be activated.

Myth: Fire Sprinklers Aren’t Necessary and Can Cause More Damage Than Good

When there is a fire in a building, smoke alarms typically warn anyone inside that there is a fire, giving them time to exit the building. Because smoke alarms are often able to prevent injury, many think that fire sprinklers aren’t necessary and will only cause water damage. Not only is this thinking dangerous, but a commercial building without fire sprinklers installed is going against building codes and business owners could be at risk of fines or even prosecution. Smoke alarms alone are not an adequate solution for fire safety as they cannot put out the fire, but only provide a warning. Sprinklers are essential to protect a building from fire and can offer quick relief before the fire department arrives.

Myth: Sprinklers Don’t Require Maintenance

We could write a whole other blog about the importance of sprinkler maintenance and what regular maintenance involves. As you can imagine, just like any other mechanical system or device, there needs to be regular sprinkler inspections to ensure that it will function as it should in the event of a fire. Sprinkler inspections include:

  • Inspecting pipes to ensure they don’t freeze in cold weather.
  • Regularly testing the sprinklers.
  • Checking the pressure in the pipes.
  • Inspecting sprinkler heads for damage or restricted flow.
  • Checking for leaks
  • Inspecting the valves to ensure they can open and close.

No one expects or believes that a fire could start in their building or office space, but it is essential that proper safety precautions are put in place nonetheless. MLN Fire Protection in Houston takes pride in offering business owners fire protection services, including inspections, maintenance, and installations.

Whether your business is located in a retail space, a manufacturing facility, hospital, school, or other, buildings must have fire protection systems in place and they must undergo regular inspections. In order to protect your business, personnel, and other assets, work with a fire protection company that will thoroughly inspect your building for any potential issues. Since 2012, MLN Fire Protection has been serving the Houston area and beyond with expert fire protection and sprinkler services. Contact us today for a consultation.