Who are the Best Manufacturers of Fire Alarm Sprinklers?
By Justin Sagalow
October 2, 2022
As a manufacturer of fire alarm monitoring system equipment with a dedicated support team, we receive all types of questions about fire protection systems. We work hard to familiarize ourselves with all aspects of fire safety technology, even if we don't produce them ourselves.
When planning your ideal fire safety system, we always want you to be as informed as possible.
Fire sprinkler systems can be found in just about any large residential, municipal commercial building, campus, or military base across the United States. The popularity of fire alarm sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and other fire suppression systems has given rise to a thriving fire protection industry.
This is picture of a generic glass-bulb fire alarm sprinkler head. The liquid in this bulb is red, indicating that this is a low temperature sprinkler head, and will shatter once exposed to heat around 155-170 degrees fahrenheit.
With so many fire protection product manufacturers, it can be hard to know who to trust. Today, we're going to explore some reputable producers of fire alarm sprinklers. To comply with regulatory requirements, you'll see many companies promote themselves as being "UL Listed" or "UL Approved". This indicates that the company you've chosen meets requirements for reliability 365 days a year. There are other similar ratings from other labs like “ETL Listed” and “ETL Approved” that are equally valid under the law.
Let's take a look at five popular choices for fire alarm sprinkler manufacturers (in no particular order) and learn about the different options available to you.
The Viking Group has been manufacturing fire sprinklers for over 100 years. They look to support independent fire sprinkler contractors with their quality products and dedicated technical support. Their XT1 fire sprinkler heads and accessories are designed to combat corrosion, simplify installation, and improve reliability.
Viking branded systems feature stainless steel cover plates, high-volume storage sprinklers, and sprinkler head adapters that render thread seal tape obsolete. Following a 2009 merger with Minimax, Viking has become one of the biggest fire protection companies in the world. Viking continues to produce a variety of fire detection, control, and suppression technologies.
Tyco International is a company founded in the Republic of Ireland in 1960. Headquartered in New Jersey, this company has acquired several historic sprinkler system manufacturers. Central Sprinkler Company, Star Sprinkler, GEM Fire Suppression, and Grinnell Fire Protection are among those who were acquired.
Currently, Tyco boasts one of only two acceptable NFPA-approved, UL Listed antifreeze solutions for use in sprinkler systems (the other belongs to Viking.) Now a multi-billion dollar international company, Tyco continues to produce innovative, affordable fire alarm sprinkler heads and systems.
The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company - Reliable or RASCO for short - is an American sprinkler manufacturer. Reliable has been manufacturing and distributing fire protection products for over 100 years. Their specialization in fire sprinklers and sprinkler valves has made them well-known to many. It's safe to say that this company lives up to its name.
Reliable's glass-bulb fire alarm sprinkler heads that can be found all over the country. In addition to these sprinkler heads, Reliable also produces fusible link sprinkler heads. We will elaborate on the distinction between the two after this list. These lack glass and allow for easy, worry-free shipping and installing.
Senju is a Japanese fire sprinkler designer and manufacturer that has been operating for over 40 years. They are the biggest fire suppression product manufacturer in Japan and have received world-wide recognition for their quality work. Senju fire sprinkler heads all contain fusible-links instead of glass-bulbs.
Senju also designs and manufactures customized cover plates that have received critical acclaim for their sleek design and many options. These cover plates are proprietary and will only fit Senju brand sprinkler heads. On the company site, Senju boasts that "Senju Sprinkler ensures high-quality fire sprinklers which are extremely durable and aesthetically appealing."
Victaulic has been around for over 100 years. Originally a World War 1-era pipe fitting company, Victaulic started producing sprinklers and other fire protection products in the 1990s. Like fellow industry stalwarts Viking, Victaulic is known for producing "installation-ready" sprinklers that eliminate the need for thread seal tape. Victaulic recently acquired Michigan sprinkler veterans Globe Sprinklers, further establishing their credibility in the industry.
Another industry staple, Globe designed, manufactured, installed, and maintained sprinklers. Globe Sprinklers was incredibly influential in regards to their sprinkler head design. Their influence can be seen in practically every building in North America. Victaulic's acquisition of Globe Sprinklers is a testament to their reliability as a modern fire alarm sprinkler manufacturer.
Fire Alarm Sprinklers: A Crash Course
How do fire alarm sprinklers work?
Most fire sprinkler heads have a glass bulb. This bulb contains a glycerin-based liquid. When exposed to heat, this liquid begins to expand in size. If heat is not removed, this substance will expand until the glass bulb shatters. At this point, the automatic sprinklers will activate. Water will be released until the fire is doused.
This is picture of a generic glass-bulb fire alarm sprinkler head. The liquid in this bulb is blue, indicating that this is a high temperature sprinkler head, and will shatter once exposed to heat around 250-300 degrees fahrenheit.
The color of the liquid contained in the glass bulb varies. These colors reflect the temperature required to shatter the bulb.
Even if the sprinklers do not successfully extinguish the fire, they are helpful for reducing fire and smoke levels. This creates a safer situation for the fire department. It is important to note that the liquid in the bulb is activated by heat. Smoke alone will not activate a fire alarm sprinkler.
This is a chart depicting the typical colors used in various glass-bulb sprinkler heads and the temperatures that they refer to, both in fahrenheit and celsius. This information was sourced from the NFPA website. Sprinkler head manufacturers refer to NFPA guidelines when manufacturing these heads.
Types of fire alarm sprinkler heads
Not all fire sprinkler heads feature a glass bulb. Other sprinkler heads do exist and offer their own unique pros and cons. The most common alternative to a glass-bulb sprinkler head is a sprinkler head with a fusible link.
Fusible-link fire sprinkler heads function very similarly to their glass-bulb counterparts. These sprinkler heads have two metal plates fused together by solder. If you have any experience with soldering, you'll know that solder melts at a much lower temperature than most metals.
When these fire sprinkler heads are exposed to heat, the solder melts. This causes the two plates, which act as a cap, to detach, allowing the flow of water.
This is picture of a fusible link fire alarm sprinkler head. This particular sprinkler head also has a guard around it. Fire alarm sprinkler head guards are used to protect the sprinkler head accidental or intentional mechanical injury.
Both glass-bulb and fusible-link fire sprinkler heads are individually activated by the presence of heat. Only the heads that are immediately exposed to heat will activate. All sprinkler heads will only be active if the fire has spread throughout the span of the fire alarm sprinkler system. This being said, the fire department does have the ability to physically rupture all sprinkler head casings simultaneously.
There are also fire sprinklers that have nothing physically obstructing their openings. Deluge fire sprinkler systems have open heads and are triggered via initiating devices. In these fire alarm sprinkler systems, every head activates at once after the signal has been transmitted. These sprinkler systems are less common, and usually found in factories and industrial facilities that contain a lot of combustible material.
Fire alarm sprinkler monitoring systems
All of these fire alarm sprinkler systems require the sprinkler pipes to constantly have pressurized water in them. Therefore, it is very important to have a fire alarm sprinkler monitoring system. This system will continuously monitor the presence of water within the system and send alerts if access to water is interrupted.
As we’ve mentioned before, failing to sufficiently monitor your fire alarm sprinkler system can have disastrous results. Without the appropriate sprinkler monitoring protocol, an unpaid water bill or a simple plumbing issue can result in a complete loss.
Call us now for monitoring solutions
So now your fire alarm system is properly fitted with fire alarm sprinklers.You’re ready to make sure both systems are being properly monitored. Give us a call at 1-800-523-7232 to discuss custom fire alarm monitoring solutions. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you quickly. Take control of your monitoring experience today!
Justin Sagalow is quite uniquely qualified for his Marketing Writer Position at Digitize. Arriving at Digitize with experience in law, finance, and editorial positions, Justin's skillset allow him to effectively communicate how best Digitize can address each client's individual needs. From his...Read More