What is a Fire Protection Pipe?

Dana DeCecco

A fire protection pipe is a component of a fire protection system. Water is supplied to sprinkler heads from the water supply by means of a fire protection pipe. In a dry pipe system, the fire protection pipe remains dry until the alarm is tripped, causing valves to fill the pipes with water. Other types of fire protection systems have one thing in common: they all require fire protection pipes to supply water to the fire.

CPVC pipe is fire resistant and is used in many residential and commercial buildings.
CPVC pipe is fire resistant and is used in many residential and commercial buildings.

Materials used in residential and light commercial applications can be metallic or nonmetallic. Metallic pipe includes galvanized, copper and black steel pipe. Nonmetallic products have been developed to lower the cost of installing a fire protection system. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe is a popular engineering material commonly used in fire protection systems. Local building codes provide requirements for fire protection pipe standards.

CPVC pipe is a type of plastic pipe that exhibits fire-retardant properties. It is easy to work with in comparison to metal products. CPVC is much less expensive than metal fire protection pipe, providing a cost-effective solution to residential sprinkler systems. Along with being inexpensive and easy to work with, CPVC fire protection pipe is corrosion and chemical resistant.

Carbon steel fire protection pipe is the most commonly used pipe for fire protection systems. Stainless steel can be used when corrosive problems exist. Carbon steel pipe is economically priced compared to copper or brass. Minimum wall thickness standards are provided by national and local authorities. A variety of joining methods can be used with steel pipe, with the most widely used being grooved and threaded.

Copper tubing products are also used for fire protection pipe. Copper has always been the standard in plumbing excellence. Copper pipe is a long-lasting, lightweight material that has superior strength and corrosion resistance. The escalation of copper prices has restricted the use of copper pipe used in fire protection systems. Engineers and builders have turned to less-expensive products for use in fire protection systems.

Fire protection pipe and related products can be purchased from local plumbing suppliers and online vendors. The advantages and disadvantages of the various materials used can be accessed from many online resources. Online suppliers provide technical specifications and assembly instructions for all types of fire protection pipe. Rules, regulations and codes are provided through local building authorities.

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