How to Handle Water Damage with Fire Sprinkler Systems

  • May 10, 2022
Water Damage with Fire Sprinkler Systems

Installing a fire sprinkler system in your home or business gives you a necessary advantage during a fire. The system will begin extinguishing flames as soon as a fire is detected, helping to save your belongings from being destroyed by the fire.

Though often overlooked, you need to remember that water is required to put out a fire—and moisture can cause damage of its own. Even though the sprinkler system should be the hero in your story, it’s helpful to have a plan to address any potential water damage.

In addition to using a mitigation service, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to water damage:

How Do Fire Sprinklers Operate?

Many people assume smoke activates fire sprinklers, but this is not the case. If smoke were the catalyst, you would need water damage mitigation anytime you burned a meal! Instead, it’s heat that triggers the system to activate. As a flame ignites, the air above it will become extremely hot. The hot air will rise toward the ceiling and spread across that surface until it comes into contact with a sprinkler head. 

The head contains a bulb that’s then filled with a glycerin-based chemical. As the chemical is heated, it expands and causes the tiny bulb to break. This reaction triggers the sprinklers to activate and rain down on your building to put out the hazard.

What Safeguards Are in Place to Prevent False Activation?

The glycerin-based chemicals used in the heads are designed only to expand when the temperature reaches 135 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, acting as a safeguard against false alarms. This measure ensures you won’t have to deal with a false alarm and unnecessary flooding.

Another fire sprinkler myth people believe is that all sprinkler heads are interconnected. However, if one sprinkler activates, the rest will not automatically turn on. Instead, each head operates independently to reduce the amount of water damage that might result. 

Finally, a fire hose uses six times more water than a fire sprinkler system. In many cases, fire sprinklers are enough to douse the fire without damaging your belongings. The confined space that the sprinkler covers will also keep damage restricted to a smaller area.

What Should You Do After Your Fire Sprinklers Activate?

You will have to do several things to reduce water damage in your home or business after a fire. Before beginning your fire response plan, you (or fire professionals) must fully extinguish the fire. Communicate with the fire department personnel to ensure it’s safe to re-enter the house or building. Once they give permission, you should immediately take action:

1. Remove your furnishing and belongings.

Begin by removing everything you can from the area. Take chairs, tables, and other furnishings to a warm, dry location. Some items may be salvageable if they dry out quickly. Open windows to increase ventilation.

2. Remove excess water.

Second, remove excess water from the walls and floors in the affected areas. Use towels, mops, and buckets to collect excess water and dump it outdoors. Remove as much water as you can to speed up the drying process.

3. Start drying the walls and floors.

Turn on your air conditioner and fans to help wet surfaces dry faster. Try to aim fans directly at the wet surfaces. You should also open windows in the room to increase airflow and allow surfaces dry even quicker.

4. Call for water damage mitigation.

You should also call a fire hazard mitigation service. These teams will be able to help you determine whether drywall, ceiling tiles, and other surfaces need replacement. 

Where Can I Learn More?

Your first line of defense against water damage is having a fully-operating fire sprinkler in place. Then, you can prepare against any future emergency damage with a quick follow-up plan. You can learn more about fire sprinkler systems or water damage mitigation by reaching out to the team at A&A Fire Protection online or by phone.