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Water mist suppression systems versus fire sprinklers

Water mist and fire sprinkler systems are used in all types of property to protect against fire damage. Both systems operate by dispersing water to extinguish a fire.

Whilst conventional fire sprinkler systems have been is use for almost a century, high pressure water mist systems have been developed in the past few decades to overcome system drawbacks and offer a range of added benefits for property owners, architects and building professionals.

Both water mist fire suppression systems and fire sprinkler systems are tested to the highest safety and performance standards to ensure reliability and effectiveness in the event of a fire.

Traditional fire sprinklers

Traditional fire sprinklers work by putting out or slowing the spread of a fire by drenching the entire area with water, removing the fuel sources needed to support the fire.

Although effective, conventional fire sprinkler systems were originally developed for commercial applications and are not designed for homes or residential properties where the contents of the building are more valuable. Whilst they can effectively extinguish a fire, the excess water damage caused can in some cases be as detrimental as the fire itself.

Water mist systems

Water mist systems are a more effective, cost efficient, sustainable and less damaging alternative to conventional fire sprinkler systems.

Instead of using large water droplets to suppress the fire, water mist systems are designed to disperse a fine, high-pressure mist; ensuring the water evaporates as quickly as possible to decelerate the combustion process more effectively than a traditional sprinkler system.

water mist nozzle

What’s the difference between traditional fire sprinklers and water mist systems?

The key difference between traditional fire sprinklers and water mist systems is the size of water droplets used to extinguish the fire and the amount of water used. Water mist systems only operate the nozzles nearest the fire and typically use 80% less water, minimising excess water damage to the property and contents when activated.

What is a water mist fire suppression system?

A water mist system is a discreet and easy to install fire safety solution designed to protect a property from fire and excess water damage.

In the event of a fire a water mist system will discharge a calculated amount of water mist from the nearest nozzle, suppressing the fire efficiently without causing excess water damage.

A water mist system connects directly to the water mains using flexible piping and easy-fit fittings, making the system highly adaptable, cost efficient and easy to install. There is no need to upgrade the water mains or to fit an expensive water tank.

For more information visit water mist systems.

Water mist system

What are the benefits of water mist systems?

Water mist systems have been developed to disperse a fine, high-pressure water mist instead of water droplets, decelerating the combustion process much more effectively than a traditional sprinkler system.

In the event of a fire the iCO® water mist system will discharge a calculated amount of water mist from the nearest nozzle, suppressing the fire efficiently without causing excess water damage. On average iCO® uses 80% less water than traditional fire sprinklers, minimising water damage when activated.

water mist nozzle

How do water mist fire suppression systems work?

Water mist systems work by dispersing a fine water mist to wet the surface of the fire, and the surrounding area. Water mist systems combat all 3 sides of the fire triangle, by suppressing the oxygen, heat and fuel. 

Upon activation of a water mist nozzle, the system will begin to discharge high pressure water mist. The nozzles nearest the fire will fill the 16m2 area with a fine water mist to extinguish the fire.

As the water mist is discharged at a high pressure, the room temperature is reduced dramatically, helping to reduce the fire. As the water mist has direct contact with the flame, it turns into steam. The steam particles then displace the oxygen particles around the fire, suffocating the fire.

how do water mist systems work diagram

Water mist system and fire sprinkler design

Nozzles

Both water mist and conventional fire sprinkler systems have fixed nozzle heads, that are accurately and efficiently positioned to ensure full protection in the event of a fire.

Water mist systems are designed for localised suppression whereby only the nozzle nearest the fire will operate: protecting other areas of the property from water damage.

Sitting at just 3mm below the ceiling, the iCO® easy fit nozzles are the most discreet on the market. Water mist nozzles can be colour matched to any colour using the RAL colour code system.

The iCO® water mist system can be designed to activate by a double knock trigger (heat and smoke): as an option to reduce the risk of false activation.

Pump unit

Typically conventional fire sprinkler systems require large water tanks to be installed to hold and dispense enough water to extinguish a fire within the property.

Water mist pumps are small enough to fit in a kitchen cupboard and connect directly to the existing mains water supply and only use water when needed: saving vast amounts of water.

The iCO® system is designed to operate using the lowest flow and pressure possible (12I/min @ 1 bar) for rapid and effective fire suppression, whilst reducing the risk of excess water damage.

The iCO® pump unit automatically tests itself once a month to ensure the unit is functioning correctly. Unlike other fire suppression systems, no water is used and no drain is required.

Pipework

Both traditional fire sprinklers and water mist systems require pipework to connect the necessary system components.

Water mist systems use flexible hoses, making it much easier to install when compared to a conventional fire sprinkler system.

As much less water is needed to create a high pressure mist, the pipework used in a water mist system is much smaller than traditional fire sprinkler systems and easy to retrofit to any property.

As the water mist system pipework is much more flexible it means the system can be installed in almost any residential or domestic category project.

Why choose the iCO water mist system?

iCO® offers a more effective, cost efficient, sustainable and less damaging alternative to conventional fire sprinkler systems. All of our patented products are manufactured in the UK and independently tested to the highest performance and safety standards.

Get a quote for water mist installation

iCO® fire suppression systems must be designed and installed by an accredited installer. You can rely on your installer to handle all aspects of your installation, including surveys, design, fitting, testing and maintenance.

For more information or to get a quote for installing a water mist fire suppression system, contact your local installer.