What Is a Sprinkler Fitting?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A sprinkler fitting is a component in a sprinkler system used for fire suppression. In some regions, a trained sprinkler fitter must perform installation, maintenance, and repair of such systems. In others, plumbers and other skilled contractors can perform the work on a system. Numerous companies manufacture various systems and fittings that coordinate with them. Standardized pipe sizes and threading are typically used to allow for interchangeable fittings.

Sprinklers must be fitted properly to provide protection against fires.
Sprinklers must be fitted properly to provide protection against fires.

Sprinkler systems can include plumbing above and below ground, with a number of joints, junctions, and other components to cover an entire building. Periodic sprinklers along the piping can activate in a fire to suppress it with water, foam, or inert gas. Each sprinkler fitting has to be carefully placed and checked for fit during installation operations. The sprinklers themselves can activate in a number of different ways, including in response to a pulled lever or rising heat that cracks a glass sensor.

Numerous metals can be used to make sprinkler fittings like connectors, sprinklers, and lengths of pipe. The piping needs to be rated for the application, which can include extremely high pressure during a fire. Some metals can also react to the foams used in fire suppression, in which case they may not be safely used in some kinds of sprinkler systems. A designer and installer can determine the best system to use for the given application.

Periodic reviews of a sprinkler system with a check of each sprinkler fitting can be performed by maintenance personal as well as building inspectors and other regulatory officials. Insurance companies may also demand an audit of the system before they will originate a policy. If there is a problem along the line, a technician can diagnose and repair it. In some cases, occupants of a building may damage a sprinkler fitting with activities like using a sprinkler as a clothes hanger, in which case the technician may warn that people need to be more careful around the sprinklers to avoid damaging them.

In the event a fire suppression system needs to be converted, for example if a company wants to use suppressive foam instead of water, it may be necessary to make some sprinkler fitting changes. A technician can evaluate the system to identify any potential issues that might interfere with a conversion. For safety, the building may need to be entirely shut down while the technicians convert the system, to ensure that people are never working in the building when the sprinkler system is not fully operational.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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