FAQs FlameGuard®

  • February 23, 2020
All your questions answered


What is an automatic fire sprinkler system?

Automatic fire sprinkler systems consist of a water supply system (pumps and tank or mains water), a network of pipes (steel, plastic and other alloys) and fire sprinkler heads spaced at regular intervals throughout the protected premises.

Where are fire sprinklers installed?

In the past sprinklers only used in warehouses, factories, offices and other commercial premises. More recently, they have been installed in family dwellings, care homes, student accommodation, hospitals, libraries etc. It is estimated that there are well over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year.

Are there different types of automatic sprinkler systems?

Yes: Wet sprinkler systems and dry sprinkler systems - Spears FlameGuard® CPVC fire sprinkler pipework is designed for use in Wet systems only!

Can sprinklers operate accidentally?

Sprinklers are activated by heat from fire and will not operate until the temperature reaches about 68°C. There is no risk of activation by smoke, dust, fumes or moisture in the air.

Do all the sprinklers operate if there is a fire?

Only the sprinkler or sprinklers closest to the fire source operate, they don’t all go off at the same time.

Are sprinklers effective?

When buildings are protected with a properly designed and maintained sprinkler system about 99% of fires are controlled by the sprinklers.

Why are sprinklers important for life safety?

Sprinklers do not rely upon human factors such as familiarity with escape routes or emergency assistance. They go to work immediately to reduce the danger. Sprinklers prevent the fast developing fires of intense heat which are capable of trapping and killing dozens of building occupants.

Is water damage from sprinklers as bad as fire damage?

Water damage from sprinkler operating when there is a fire is considerably less than what the Fire and Rescue hoses would need to discharge. In most cases, sprinklers operate at the very early stage of a fire and will have suppressed or extinguished the fire long before the fire and rescue services arrive.

How does the sprinkler heads operate?

Sprinklers heads have a small glass bulb which works like a plug that retains the water in the pipes. The bulb is coloured to denote the operating temperature. When enough heat from a fire get to the sprinkler head it expands the liquid in the glass bulb causing it to break allowing water to discharge on the fire. When water is discharged, it strikes a serrated deflector plate that usually distributes the water in a circular pattern, other patterns of distribution are also available.

What are the advantages of using FlameGuard® Fire Sprinklers Piping?

Spears FlameGuard® CPVC Fire Sprinkler piping is designed specifically for fire sprinkler systems - providing unique advantages to the contractor. The easy assembly provided by the solvent cement system and excellent hydraulics makes CPVC an outstanding material for this application.

What is Spears FlameGuard® CPVC?

CPVC Fire Sprinkler piping is manufactured from a special thermoplastic, known chemically as Post-Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride.

What are the advantages of using Spears FlameGuard® CPVC pipe systems?

The characteristics of the material and the pipe dimensions provide unique advantages in sprinkler installations: superior hydraulics; ease of joining; increased hanger spacing in comparison to other plastics; and assembly with readily available, inexpensive tools. The product has a continuous service history of more than 30 years.

What approvals does Spears FlameGuard® have?

Spears FlameGuard® CPVC fire sprinkler systems manufacture by Spears Manufacturing Co. have been tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Factory Mutual System (FM) and the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) for a range of residential, LH (Light Hazard) and OH1 (Ordinary Hazard Group 1) occupancies. The products are approved and listed by NSF and WRAS as being suitable for use in contact with cold potable water.

Will the product just burn?

The products have been subjected to and passed the LPS 1260 fire test for CPVC (Loss Prevention Standard 1260); only CPVC products that have this certification should be used for fire sprinkler applications.

Can I use FlameGuard CPVC in kitchens, carparks etc?

It is not permitted to use CPVC fire sprinkler piping in areas within such occupancies where higher hazard conditions exist, such as in commercial kitchens, plant rooms or store rooms, or in other industrial applications such as factories or warehouses.

What type of Hangers & supports should be used with Spears FlameGuard CPVC piping?

CPVC pipes should be supported to ensure that unnecessary stresses are avoided. All pipe hangers must have a load bearing surface of at least 12.7mm, and they should be free from any rough or sharp edges which could come into contact with the pipe. Pipe hangers should allow for free axial movement of the pipe. The Tolco range of UL approved clips and hangers are ideal and are specifically designed for the CPVC range. The Mupro range is also suitable for use with CPVC; the rubber insert will make for a slightly tighter fit but does still permit pipe movement.

What considerations should you take into account when supporting sprinkler heads?

When a sprinkler head activates, a significant reactive force can be exerted on the pipe. With a pendent head, this reactive force can cause the pipe to lift vertically if it is not properly secured, especially if the sprinkler drop is from a smaller diameter pipe.

What considerations should be taken when storing and handling Spears FlameGuard® CPVC?

CPVC fire sprinkler piping is tough and corrosion resistant, but does not have the mechanical strength of steel. Reasonable care should be exercised, particularly when handling pipes. They must not be dropped or have objects dropped on them. If improper handling results in scratches, splits or gouges, the damaged section must be cut out and discarded. When stored outdoors, pipes must be covered with a non-transparent material. Fittings are best stored in their original containers to keep them free from dirt and reduce the possibility of damage. When storing fittings loose, avoid mixing them in storage bins with metal piping products. Extra care should be used when handling CPVC materials in very cold weather, as the material becomes more susceptible to impact damage.

Can you bend Spears FlameGuard® CPVC pipe?

CPVC is a ductile material that allows it to be deflected, within permissable limits, around or away from objects during installation.

Will Spears FlameGuard® CPVC pipe expand and contract?

Thermoplastic piping will expand and contract with changes in temperature at a higher rate than for metals. The coefficient of linear expansion for CPVC is 6.1 x 10-5 per 1°C temperature change (or 0.061mm/m/°C). For example, a 15°C temperature increase will cause an expansion of 18.3mm in a 20m straight length. However for most installations, expansion and contraction is accommodated by the changes of direction naturally occurring in a system.

What can be done to compensate for expansion?

Methods of compensating for thermal expansion are:- 1. expansion loops 2. offsets 3. changes of direction

What are set and cure times?

The pipe size, tightness of fit, temperature and relative humidity all influence the set and cure time. Drying time is faster for smaller sizes, tighter fits, higher temperatures and drier environments. Equally, drying time is slower for larger sizes, looser fits, cooler temperatures and higher humidity environments. In any event, the assembly must be allowed to set, without any stress on the joint, for 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the pipe size and temperature.

How long should I waiting before installing my sprinkler heads?

Sprinklers must not be connected to the system until the joints have cured for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkler head fitting should be visibly inspected and probed with a wooden dowel to insure that the waterway and threads are clear of any excess cement. It is an unacceptable practice to install sprinklers on the head adaptor fittings and then solvent cement to the “drop”.

What is a pre-acceptance test?

Spears® FlameGuard® systems can be tested with Oil Free Air or Nitrogen to confirm that no sprinkler heads have been left out. The test is strictly limited to a maximum of 25psi. Care must be taken when carrying out this test! 1. Use eye protection and other appropriate safety equipment 2. Use only Oil-Free Air or Nitrogen 3. Use only regulated pressure with a 25psi over-pressure relief valve.

What is the system acceptance test?

In order to confirm the system is complete and fit for purpose a final hydraulic test must be carried out to prove the system. Once the installation is complete and joints are properly cured, t he system should be slowly filled with water and air bled from the system at the farthest point - before pressure is applied. The appropriate test procedure will depend on the standard the system has been designed to comply with. These Include :- For Residential and Domestic Systems designed to comply with BS9251-2014 the system should be pressurized to 8 bar or 11/2 times working pressure for 1 hour - whichever is the greater. For Commercial Systems designed to comply with standards such as BSEN12845 - then a pressure test of 15 bar for 2 hours is typical.

Can I connect Spears FlameGuard® CPVC to other manufacturers pipes and fittings?

Spears® FlameGuard® CPVC Fire Sprinkler Products may be used only in connection with UL, FM and NSF certified CPVC products of other manufacturers. Use of Spears® FlameGuard® CPVC Fire Sprinkler Products in connection with CPVC products of other manufacturers which are not UL, FM and NSF certified may result in inappropriate product application and may effect warranty claims.

How do I make threaded connections in my sprinkler system?

Thread sealants may only be used if they are tested and approved for use with CPVC - refer to our system price list for approved products. Some thread sealants can cause “stress cracking” in the CPVC material and must not be used. Apply the sealant to the male thread only, making sure all threads are covered. Care must be taken to not to clog the water way with excess sealant. Never use sealants that contain linseed oil. If using PTFE tape, it must have a minimum thickness of 0.0025”. Starting with the first full thread, wrap the PTFE tape in the direction of the threads and cover the entire length - 2 or 3 wraps are sufficient. Do not over torque.

How do I make correct wall penetrations?

Building codes or regulations must be adhered to when penetrating building structures:- 1) When penetrating fire rated walls or partitions, use only firestop products that are approved for use with CPVC pipe. Some fire-stopping products contain oils or solvents - be sure to examine the Material Safety Data Sheets to confirm the product is suitable. If in doubt please contact our Technical Department for advice. 2) It is acceptable to cut holes in wood studs to lead the pipe through without contact. The holes should be oversized to allow for movement. 3) CPVC fire sprinkler pipes should be protected from sharp edges when passing through metal studs. Chemical Suitability - CPVC is resistant to a large range of chemicals that are corrosive to metal piping, however care must be taken to avoid contact with chemicals that are harmful to CPVC including some that are found in some common construction products. Particular care should be taken to avoid contamination with thread jointing pastes containing - Linseed Oil or Fire Stopping products containing petroleum or other solvents or oils; such as those commonly used in construction and with metallic piping systems. Do not store or install CPVC products in direct contact with plasticizer containing materials such as electrical tape or certain wire and cable insulations.

Can I paint Spears FlameGuard® CPVC?

CPVC fire sprinkler piping can be overpainted, but only water or latex based paints should be used. Oil based paints, or any type of paint with solvent content, must not be used with CPVC. Never paint sprinkler heads. No special surface preparation is required other than cleaning with a mild soap and water mixture prior to painting. Consult local authorities having jurisdiction before painting.

What installation training is available?

CPVC Fire Sprinkler Piping Systems form part of a life safety system, and must therefore only be installed by suitably qualified and trained personnel. It is mandatory that all installers complete a training course in the installation of CPVC fire sprinkler systems prior to commencing any work. IPS Flow Systems provide UKAS third party accredited training, either on-site, or at our in-house training facility. On completion of the training, a skill card will be issued to fully trained installers. It is recommended that this training be renewed every two years. Please contact our sales team for further details on tel: 0191 5213111

Where can I find out further information?

Please call our sales office on tel: 0191 5213111 and request a copy of the design and installation guide.

Blog Post

Related Articles

AGRU Plastic technology GmbH - HYDROCLICK system

January 19, 2021
AGRU HYDROCLICK LINING FOR POTABLE WATER TANKS Renovation of drinking water tanks In the Salzburg municipality of Zell...

ISO 9001 Accredited CPVC Installer Training

July 16, 2015
Does your company install fire sprinkler systems for both commercial and domestic/residential occupancy? Have your...

BS9251 revisions

July 23, 2020
BS9251 Domestic and Residential Sprinklers is being revised.. FloWatch give a brief overview of the introduction of...