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DonM 11-25-2007 10:25 PM

Need Help with Fire Sprinkler System
With the help of this forum I'm about to re plumb with Pex (Wirsbo expander system).

I am now also considering adding some fire protection with a sprinkler system since it will utilize the same manifold system.

I need some know how advice and some where to get the correct hardware advice


mtaviator 01-01-2008 10:32 PM

I am thinking of installing a couple sprinklers in the garage I am building, but I don't have much info yet either.

Here are a couple links:

Please let me know what you come up with. After reading some of the literature out there I am convinced we should all have sprinklers in our homes.

bigMikeB 01-01-2008 10:38 PM

Minimum sprinkler piping is 1" per head, and pex don't cut it. There is special plastic, fittings, and primer/ glue for fire suppression.

mtaviator 01-01-2008 11:15 PM

Can you use copper pipe with soldered joints?

Marlin 01-02-2008 05:40 PM


Originally Posted by mtaviator (Post 84693)
Can you use copper pipe with soldered joints?

As far as I know if has to be threaded, or some weird mechanical couplings they use (which requires a $3,000 threader to make). You need an engineer to design your system. You can't just go throwing sprinkler heads anywhere you think is good. You might also need a licensed steamfitter to install them. I know most places won't even sell sprinkler heads to anyone without a license.

bigscore 02-22-2008 01:30 PM


Originally Posted by mtaviator (Post 84693)
Can you use copper pipe with soldered joints?


"5.2.7 Joints for the connection of copper tube for wet pipe systems and antifreeze systems shall be solder joints or be brazed."

According to NFPA 13D code for installation of sprinkler systems in one & two family dwelling & manufactured homes, acceptable piping is copper (types K, L & M), schedule 40 Steel, Black Iron, Hot-Dipped Zinc-Coated (galvinized), Blazemaster CPVC & PB.

I've personally just finished putting in a fire sprinkler system during our carport remodel.

I worked very closely with both my County's Fire Marshall & my cities Building Inspector.

The very first thing you need to do is contact your water company & have them come out & do a flow reading of gallons per minute at your house & the water PSI. Not at the meter, but at your house.

If you don't have enough GPM's or PSI coming in from your existing line, you'll need to have your water authority install a second bigger meter & then have a larger diameter pipe run to your house dedicated for the fire sprinkler system.

Some states are actually interested in the safety & well being of their citizens & offer rebates / incentives if another meter is necessary. Others are not. All depends where you live. The pipe run from the new meter to your house, is normally the homeowners responsibility ie: do-it-yourself or hire a plumber.

You'll then have to do a lot of calculations. You must have the proper flow rate to the sprinkler heads & that is determined by your piping selection & size (much less loss of flow rate if you use copper or Blazemaster CPVC). Elbows, T's etc must be taken into account when doing your calculations.

In my system there is not one single 90 elbow. I used either 45's, or flex copper from my potable water to the fire sprinkler system. Once I'd tapped into my potable water supply for the system with copper, I then transitioned to the Blazemaster CPVC for the actual sprinkler head runs.

If you have adequate enough water flow & PSI to use your existing water supply, then depending on where you live, you may be required to seperate the fire sprinkler system from your potable water runs. Here in Georgia that is code & double check valves are required to be installed. Depending on how you set your system up, you'll need a shut off valve to the system (I only use ball valves) in case it needs to be worked on, 2 PSI guages, a water flow meter & an end run valve for inspections & clean outs.

Besides all the calculations, the hardest thing for me to get were the acutual sprinkler heads. Here in Georgia, only Licensed Fire Sprinkler Installers are able to buy them. With the help of my Fire Marshall & City Building Inspector, I was able to get the sprinkler heads I needed.

I strongly advise buying a copy of NFPA 13D & getting with both your Fire Marshall & your local Building Inspector.

I will say that by pulling my own plumbing permit & doing the work myself, I saved myself a couple of thousand dollars easy.

I have $423.00 in the system total, with the single most expensive item being the water flow meter.

The piece of mind is priceless & the 10% break on our Homeowners Insurance is a nice bonus.

bigscore 02-22-2008 03:56 PM


Originally Posted by bigMikeB (Post 84679)
Minimum sprinkler piping is 1" per head,

This is incorrect.

The diameter of pipe you need is determined by a multitude of factors.

In my application, I used Residential Low Flow sprinkler heads from Globe. Each head only needed to cover a 12' radius & I only needed two heads requiring a flow rate of 8 GPM's. With the GPM & PSI I was getting, I utilized the least resistant piping & planned the system so that no 90 degree elbows were needed.

3/4" ID pipe was what was called for in my system.


Originally Posted by bigMikeB (Post 84679)
and pex don't cut it.

This is correct.


Originally Posted by bigMike (Post 84679)
There is special plastic, fittings, and primer/ glue for fire suppression.

Blazemaster CPVC is what you're referring to here (another name for it is FlameGuard).

However, you do not need to use a primer for CPVC fire sprinkler pipe & fittings of 3" diameter or less when using SPEARS FS-5 One-Step Cement as the solvent.

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