The Benefits of Water Mist Systems
With more and more people returning to the office, it’s time to start thinking about your workplace’s fire protection system. How long has it been since you upgraded your system?
Water-based sprinkler systems are estimated to reduce fire-related deaths by 83%. According to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the total number of worldwide fire-related deaths in buildings with sprinklers fitted is only 50 compared to thousands in buildings without sprinkler systems in place. As you can see, water sprinkler systems provide your business with an effective and reliable solution to combating fire.
Most commercial buildings have been built with traditional sprinkler systems in place. However, experts within the fire protection industry are now beginning to lean more towards water mist systems.
Water mist sprinkler systems provide powerful, unmatched fire suppression and protection. Find out how by reading this guide to the benefits of water mist systems and how MCFP can help to install your next water mist system.
How is Water Effective Against Fire?
Fires require three elements to burn: fuel, oxygen and heat. This is called the Fire Triangle.
Water is a powerful fire protection tool. Firstly, it cools the fuel triggering the blaze, for example wood, fabric or paper that has caught alight. Secondly, water droplets provide a protective barrier around the fuel, preventing oxygen from reaching it and exacerbating the fire. Thirdly, water droplets evaporate when released into the air surrounding a fire. In doing so, they remove heat. By displacing heat and oxygen, and cooling the fuel at the source of the flames, water acts as an effective fire extinguisher.
What is a Water Mist Sprinkler System?
They are automatic fire sprinkler systems that use water mist as opposed to jets of water. By using water in a mist form, these fire sprinklers deliver a fine stream of high-pressure water droplets which encase the fire and vaporise, removing heat and displacing oxygen. This effectively extinguishes a fire.
Water mist sprinklers are typically fitted using either a pump and tank or cylinder arrangement. With a pump and tank arrangement, water is stored in a high-pressure pump tank and connected to a series of nozzles placed throughout the building by section valves and a pipe system. In a cylinder system, the water and propellant (which helps the water to be propelled through the pipes and nozzles at high pressure) are stored in compact cylinders conveniently placed around the building.
The sprinklers deliver a powerful mist by propelling water through a special type of nozzle. This nozzle disperses the water stream into thousands of individual micro droplets – water mist. In the event of a fire, the sprinklers will automatically detect this (often by being alerted by sensors or other smoke alarm/fire alarm systems) and discharge the water mist through the nozzle until the blaze has been successfully extinguished.
Water Sprinklers vs. Water Mist Sprinkler Systems
There are many types of sprinkler systems to choose from, each suitable for different environments and buildings. Some are filled with compressed air or other gases whilst others contain water.
Like most fire suppression systems, both sprinkler systems require a network of pipes fitted into the ceiling throughout the building. They also require a sufficient water supply, either through mains, tanks or both.
Each sprinkler system projects water through tap-like nozzles in the ceiling. When the tap is turned on in the event of a fire, the high-pressure stream of water or water mist soars out to tackle the blaze.
The biggest difference between traditional water sprinklers and water mist sprinkler systems is the fact that the latter creates a fine spray of water droplets by using a special nozzle on the pump. The former uses a high-pressure jet of water instead.
However, another clear difference is the shape and size of the components required to fit water sprinkler systems versus water mist systems. The former requires more pipes and pumps than the latter, as well as a much larger water tank due to the sheer volume of water used in this system versus a mist one.
Both fire sprinklers act as powerful, effective fire suppression systems. However, water mist systems do have some clear advantages over traditional systems. Let’s take a look at some of the key points…
Benefits of Water Mist Systems
Require Less Water
Water mist systems use approximately 85% less water than standard water sprinkler systems! This is one of the key benefits of water mist systems and an appealing factor to many businesses as it reduces the size and complexity of the water supply equipment required to fit this fire suppression system. Reduced water consumption also makes this system more environmentally friendly.
Easier and Cheaper to Install
Water mist systems require less space and fewer materials than water sprinkler systems. This is due to the fact that water mist systems use much less water than traditional water sprinklers. When using water mist, you may not even require a water tank – the mains supply could be sufficient to power the system. Moreover, the pressurised cylinders and high-pressure pump tanks used to forge a water mist system are much more compact and space-saving compared to the large water tanks and complex network of pipes required to fit a traditional water sprinkler system.
Similarly, through having reduced water consumption, water mist systems require smaller pipework which saves space within the ceiling vault. Therefore, whether you have a small office space or larger commercial premises, you can use a water mist system effectively. The ease of installation of water mist systems also means that they can easily retrofit into existing buildings, making it easy for you to upgrade your pre-existing sprinkler system with an innovative water mist fire suppression system.
Enhanced Fire Suppression
Water in mist form is more effective at suppressing and extinguishing a fire compared to regular water. This is because, with a water mist, water droplets are much smaller and finer. This gives them a larger surface area:volume ratio – as much as 100 times that of water droplets from a standard water sprinkler system. As such, the mist can engulf and extinguish a larger area of the fire without needing more water to do so, making these systems effective in open plan spaces as well as more enclosed areas.
Reduce Smoke Inhalation
Water mist allows for ‘smoke scrubbing’; a process whereby smoke particles given off during the fire attach to the water droplets and fall to the floor. This stops the spread of harmful smoke fumes throughout the building. Smoke inhalation is one of the most dangerous parts of a fire outbreak – it can lead to severe health problems as well as death. In fact, smoke inhalation alone is reported to cause approximately 40% of all fire-related deaths in England. Therefore, a water mist system is a powerful fire protection and suppression tool and an effective solution to the damage caused by smoke inhalation.
In the UK and across the world, we consume large amounts of water every second. In fact, in the UK alone, Britons use an average of 150 litres of water every single day! This is having a disastrous effect on the environment. Water mist systems are much more environmentally friendly compared to other fire suppression systems because they use as much as 85% less water and contain no harmful chemicals or toxins, preventing them from seeping into and damaging the environment through water run-off.
Water mist systems prevent water damage to essential equipment and information in your workplace by using less water than traditional sprinkler systems. This reduces the financial and emotional cost of a fire for your business and employees.
MCFP: Accredited Plumis Automist® SmartScan Installers
At MCFP, we supply and install an innovative, award-winning water mist fire suppression system – the Automist® system from Plumis.
Automist is a wall-mounted water mist sprinkler that uses smart technology to specifically detect, target and extinguish a fire. Its innovative SmartScan feature allows for rapid and accurate detection and targeting of a blaze, no matter where it is located in the room, resulting in efficient fire suppression and extinguishment.
If you have read our guide to water mist fire sprinklers and are as convinced as we are that they are outstanding systems providing exceptional quality fire protection, you definitely want to invest in the Automist® SmartScan system. For more information about Automist®, its wide range of benefits and how to enquire about the system, check out the dedicated Automist® page on our website.
MCFP – Your Next Water Mist System Installers
All of our MCFP engineers are highly skilled, experienced and BAFE registered. We are specially trained and certified by Plumis to provide installation, inspection and maintenance of the Automist® water mist system and have been working with Plumis to design, install, certificate and maintain Automist® systems since 2013. Our work is always done with an exceptionally high level of quality and reliability. Because our standard of work is so high, we were honoured to receive the prestigious Automist® Best Practice Award in 2015 and 2018 at the annual National Plumis Awards.
If you are looking for a reliable and highly sought-after team to install your next water mist sprinkler system, look no further. Contact us today to see how MCFP can enhance your building’s fire safety.