Does smoke set off fire sprinkler systems?
20 January 2022

Does smoke set off fire sprinkler systems?

A common misconception of fire sprinklers is the notion that smoke is the main culprit of setting off fire sprinkler systems. The activation of a fire sprinkler has played an integral part in many movies however, the activation itself has alluded to a common misconception of how a fire sprinkler is trigger.

In Casino Royale, an ‘Emergency Sprinkler Override’ key is used to set off all the sprinklers in an airport and in the car park fight scene in Highlander, the sprinklers are shown to be set off by smoke. We even see sprinklers inaccurately used in children’s movies, take The Incredibles 2 as an example, when a fire sprinkler is set off but is described as a smoke detector. The notion that smoke or a fire alarm can set off a fire sprinkler system in Hollywood has influenced people to not consider residential sprinkler protection suggesting that they can be activated by the smallest things which is not the case.

Are Fire Sprinklers activated by smoke?

No. Fire sprinkler systems are not activated by smoke. They are heat-activated to a specific temperature. The smoke itself does not generate a high enough amount of heat to activate a sprinkler.

What triggers fire sprinklers?

A fire sprinkler system is triggered by the heat reaching a high temperature. In residential properties, a temperature of 57 Degrees will trigger the sprinkler head. When the sprinkler head detects the rise in the temperature, the frangible glass bulb found inside the nozzle will break and extinguish the fire and cool the temperature of the room.

A water mist sprinkler system will work to control and extinguish the fire using small water droplets as opposed to a traditional sprinkler system which uses a larger water supply.

Can fire sprinklers be accidentally activated?

The chances of setting a fire sprinkler system off accidentally are slim. There is no trigger button or key for sprinklers and can only be set off by the air temperature reaching 57 Degrees meaning there is no chance of accidentally ‘knocking’ it. Burnt food or the heat of cooking will also not set off sprinklers. Certain types of sprinklers have systems designed to to stop accidental activation. iCO Fire Mist Systems have a double knock system which significantly reduces the chances of accidental activation.

The double knock system is designed to protect against accidental or malicious damage caused to the pipework or the nozzles and sprinklers. Both the smoke detection system and the nozzle are connected to the pump to ensure there is no accidental activation in the case of a fire. Connecting the smoke detection system and the nozzle allows for a more effective fire protection system as all systems are connected to operate as one.

Why should residential properties have mist fire sprinklers?

Residential fire sprinkler systems are an important fire safety system designed to reduce property damage and reduce the risks of fire spreading whilst saving lives. Fire sprinkler heads will only activate within the area of the fire and won’t result in all sprinklers being set off at the same time meaning the sprinkler targets the necessary area. Mist fire sprinklers are so effective that is it is now a regulation in England that all buildings over 30m must have a water sprinkler system.

Find out more about the benefits of residential sprinkler systems that NPHS is proud to offer.

How do I install a fire sprinkler system?

If you are wanting to ensure your property has the best fire protection systems installed it is important that any water mist system installed in your property is done by an accredited installer. NPHS offers bespoke design and installation of water mist fire suppression systems for your property. We guarantee a free no obligation quote to understand your needs and how we can help you choose the best sprinkler system.