The key to a successful fire suppression system installation is to have a good design based on your specific equipment. The process starts with evaluating your hazards, the type of equipment or area the system will protect, and what type of suppression agent is best suited for your application. Based on these factors, a fire suppression system will be designed to meet your unique needs. Your local distributor or the manufacturer provides this expert help to ensure you find the right fire suppression system.
Systems and Agents
- Direct Low Pressure (DLP)
- Indirect Low Pressure (ILP)
- Indirect High Pressure (IHP)
- Engineered Systems
Fire suppression agents:
- Purple K BC Dry Chemical Powder
- ABC Dry Chemical Powder
- 3M Novec 1230
- Chemours FM-200
- CO2 system
It is important to check with your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to ensure the system you have selected meets the rules and regulations for the machine or area you are protecting.
Time to Install Fire Suppression System
Once you have selected a system and the design has been created, you are ready to install. Installation is completed by authorized distributors, application engineers, or trained end users. The time to install a fire suppression system depends on the system and the complexity of the equipment being protected. Installation typically takes around 4 hours for a pneumatic system and up to 16 hours for electrical systems. Times vary based on the complexity of the installation, components used, and type of system being installed. Electrical systems have a longer installation time because of the electrical routing and wiring, unlike a pneumatic detection only system that does not require power or a battery backup to activate. We will be reviewing the installation of a typical pneumatic fire suppression system.
Necessary Materials for Installation
- Design, Installation, Operation, and Maintenance (DIOM) manual for your fire suppression system
- Tape measure
- Power drill
- Mounting hardware (nuts, bolts, washers)
- Fire Suppression System
- Cylinder assembly
- Cylinder mounting bracket
- Discharge hosing/piping and fittings
- Discharge nozzles
- Firetrace Detection Tubing (FDT) and fittings
- Clips and/or zip ties
- Pressure gauges
- Optional manual release
- Optional time delay unit
- Optional indication module
- Optional pressure switches for automatic shutdown
Pneumatic Fire Suppression System Installation
After scheduling the installation appointment, the trained installer will review the equipment layout to make sure the design can be correctly implemented. It is important to ensure that no system limitations are being exceeded. The system limitations can be found by reviewing the Design, Installation, Operation, and Maintenance Manual (DIOM) provided by the manufacturer. The installer will mount the cylinder bracket in a location that is accessible but far enough from hazards and heat sources. The cylinders supplied are filled with the fire suppression agent and pressurized, ready for installation and commissioning.
When using an ILP system, discharge nozzles are installed and connected to the cylinder valve by a secured discharge network of pipe or hose and associated fittings. Nozzles are placed in locations that effectively target fire hazards and uniformly cover the areas of concern. The discharge network will transport the fire suppressant agent from the cylinder to the discharge nozzles in the event of a fire.
The Firetrace Detection Tubing is routed through the hazard area inside the equipment and connected to the cylinder valve. The purpose of the tubing is to act as a linear heat detector. When a fire is detected, it will trigger the release of the fire suppression agent. In a DLP system, the FDT also acts as the delivery system for the suppression agent discharge and directly releases the agent onto a fire via the burst hole in the FDT. In an ILP system, the detection tubing will trigger the cylinder valve to release the fire suppression agent via the discharge network.
Various ancillary components can be added to the fire suppression system to provide additional functionality. Indication modules determine the current status of the system and provide visual confirmation of whether the system is charged or in need of service. Pressure switches provide dry contacts and allow many functional outputs such as shutting down equipment automatically when a fire is detected. The time delay causes the system to wait a set amount of time to release agent from the moment of fire detection. The time delay is used when a fan or other equipment has a rundown time that could affect the fire suppression event.
Commissioning, Inspection, and Maintenance
The final step is commissioning. The individual allowed to commission the system depends on permission from the AHJ and fire suppression system manufacturer. Commissioning involves a final inspection, testing of all system components, and activating the system to its commissioned state. Once the system is commissioned, it should be regularly maintained and inspected for optimal performance.