The Differences Between Fire Sprinkler Systems and Fire Suppression Systems

At an overarching point of view, the main difference between a fire sprinkler system and a fire suppression system is that a fire sprinkler system uses water, while a suppression system uses an array of chemical agents. These suppressants can come in the form of liquids, gases, and foams designed to work best with specific fire hazards. Getz Fire dedicates our business to providing the best fire safety equipment and services built to protect people and property. For those reasons, we supply and service both fire sprinkler systems and fire suppression equipment. To help you get more insight about your best fire protection, here is a helpful guide on the differences and applications.

Sprinkler Systems

Automatic Fire Sprinklers are the most prevalent form of fire suppression system in the world. They use water, a common and easily available resource and are typically installed throughout a building as a whole building/last line of defense suppression system to protect catastrophic loss of property. Sprinkler systems are passive from the standpoint that they do not proactively discharge when a fire is present. They have sprinker heads with glass bulbs in them designed to burst only at a specific temperature. And only the sprinkler heads in the building that are affected by the high level of heat from a fire will burst and open and discharge water. And unfortunately will also cause water damage to the affected area. There are different types of sprinkler systems such as wet, where water is constantly in the pipes and ready to flow, and dry, where pressurized air fills the pipe and holds the water back until a sprinkler head bursts, allowing for sprinkler pipes to be run where temperatures an be below freezing. Sprinkler systems are generally the best suppression system for whole building protection and best for most commerical, retail, educational, residential, and industrial facilities.

Fire Suppression Systems

When there are unique situations where another fire suppression system would work best instead of, or in tandem with, an automatic fire sprinkler system, those situations are called “Special Hazards”. Applications like oil and gas production, machinery, restaurants, nuclear power plants, server rooms, and museums all require unique chemical suppressants to best serve their needs. Generally speaking, there are five types: Clean agent systems, dry chemical systems, foam systems, Co2 systems, and watermist systems. While each of them uses a different method, these Special Hazard Fire Suppression Systems all aim to specifically target the fire’s unique source of fuel, and leave minimal damage to the surrounding equipment.

Clean Agent

  • A variety of chemical liquid and gaseous agents
  • Leaves zero residue
  • Ideal for museums, server rooms, and archives

Dry Chemical/Foam Systems

  • Best for liquid fires like oils, gas, and paints
  • Smothers flames without possibility of spread

Co2 Systems

  • Leaves no residue
  • Applications include turbine generators, machine enclosures, and printing presses
  • Ideal for applications that cannot have any chemical or water exposure

Watermist Systems

  • Recent innovation – comparable to Co2 systems
  • Minimal to no water residue
  • Applications like industrial ovens, turbine generators, and hydraulic presses
  • Suppresses flames with added cooling effect

No matter your application, Getz Fire has the selection, service, and knowledgeable staff you need to choose your perfect fire system. Businesses throughout Illinois and Iowa trust our experience and dedication to fire safety products and services. Installation, inspections, and repairs – we do it all for commercial fire safety. Call us today at 800-747-3473, or check out our website to browse our impressive inventory