Critical Components For Designing And Installing Fire Protection Systems

Aug 4, 2023 | Company News, News

When lives and property are on the line, the performance and reliability of fire protection systems become crucial. The right combination of piping, sprinklers, and most vitally, fittings and valves, all work together to detect, control and suppress fires. Below we’ll explore key fittings and valves engineered specifically for fire protection systems and their vital role in system effectiveness.

Fire Protection Gate Valves

Specialty Fittings for Fire Protection Piping

Unlike plumbing or gas systems, fire protection piping must meet stringent codes and certification standards. Specialty fittings are made just for these critical systems. Here’s an overview:

  • Ductile Iron Construction: Provides strength to handle the high water pressures in fire protection systems. More resistant to blast shock compared to cast iron.
  • Wall Thickness to Handle Pressure: Fittings in fire protection systems must withstand surge pressures up to 350 PSI from flowing sprinklers.
  • Cement Lining for Safety: The interior has a cement lining to prevent corrosion and maintain water quality so it’s safe for fire suppression and humans.
  • Threading and Grooves to Standards: Fittings feature threading and grooves that follow fire protection equipment standards for assured system compatibility.
  • UL Listed and FM Approved: Reputable third-party testing and certification is critical. Confirm listings before use.

Following fire protection codes and using the approved, specialized fittings is essential in designing a compliant system that flows properly during an emergency.

Fire-Rated Gate Valves for System Control

Gate valves play an integral role within fire protection systems fittings by controlling water flow to different zone branches. Fire-rated gate valves have features optimized for this important role:

  • Cast Iron or Ductile Iron Body: Durable construction materials rated for fire protection systems. Cast iron is common but ductile offers more strength.
  • Resilient Wedge Gate Design: The rubberized gate wedge provides reliable sealing and resistance to warping from high temperatures compared to metal gates.
  • UL Listed and FM Approved: Third-party certification specifically for fire protection use. Never substitute hardware store valves.
  • OS&Y Design: The outside screw and yoke design allows fast access to the valve internals for repairs or replacement when needed.
  • Valve Position Supervision: Compatible with electrical monitoring systems to report the valve position to the fire alarm system. Critical for identifying closed valves.

Selecting valves purpose-built for fire protection provides reliable system performance when fast shutoff or zone isolation is necessary during a fire emergency.

Butterfly Valves Offer Flow Control Alternatives

In addition to traditional fire protection gate valves, butterfly valves are also an approved option for controlling flows in fire protection systems under 300 PSI. Benefits include:

  • Lightweight and Compact: Butterfly valves are smaller and easier to install than comparably sized gate valves. Important in tight spaces.
  • High Flow Capacity: The large valve bore enables substantial flows with lower friction loss compared to gate valves.
  • FM Approved: Look for FM Approval specific to fire protection. This certifies reliable sealing and performance.
  • Fast Operation: Quarter turn from fully open to closed makes butterfly valves extremely fast acting.
  • Higher Pressure Ratings Available: Some fire protection butterfly valves models are certified beyond 300 PSI for specialized high-pressure fire protection.

Combining both gate and butterfly valves within a system provides versatility in balancing strength, flow, and space considerations.

Carefully selecting and installing the right combination of fittings and valves forms the backbone of a fire protection system that lives up to the critical demands placed on it during an emergency. Rely on fire protection specialty components certified for the application.