What is a Water Sprinkler?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A water sprinkler may be an outdoor watering device or a part of an indoor ceiling fire emergency system. A sprinkler has non-rusting metal parts, or valves, and emits water through small holes or hollow pipes. Fire sprinklers are located in the ceilings of many apartment and commercial buildings and may also be a part of a house's emergency sprinkler system. Lawns and gardens can be kept at their ideal moisture level when water sprinklers are used regularly. There are many different types of sprinklers that differ in the way they distribute water.

The most basic types of lawn and garden water sprinklers attach to a garden hose connected to an outdoor tap. The tap may be located on an outside wall of a house or in the ground near a home. A metal fitting connects the hose with the water sprinkler. The hose's length should be enough to allow the sprinkler to be placed in the center of the lawn as well as in areas within watering distance of the lawn's edges.


A classic yard water sprinkler is rectangular in shape and features rows of small holes in the metal sprinkler frame. When the outdoor tap is turned on and water runs through the hose to reach the sprinkler's holes, tall sprays of water are created. The metal frame moves back and forth so the rows of spraying water holes are watering the lawn in the area that surrounds it. Another basic type of lawn or garden sprinkler is pipe-shaped with a rotary mechanism on top that distributes the water all around it in a circular motion. Both frame and rotary types of water sprinklers must be moved at even intervals throughout the lawn or garden so that the grass or soil is evenly and sufficiently watered.

Timed outdoor sprinklers are more convenient and pricier options to the basic styles of water sprinkler. Sprinkler pipes are placed under the ground as part of a system to provide deep irrigation for lawns and gardens. Water sprinkler systems companies install the sprinklers so each outdoor area will get the amount of water it needs automatically. The sprinkler systems are set on timers that control the distribution of the water flow.

Indoor ceiling fire sprinklers are required by many building code regulations. Typically, water sprinkler heads show only slightly on ceilings and don't interfere with a room's decor. In commercial buildings, as opposed to homes, fire sprinklers may be more noticeable and may be painted red in some cases. Fire system water pipes are located behind ceilings and walls.


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