Understanding the Different Types of Fire Sprinkler Heads

  • January 15, 2022

Fire sprinkler heads aren’t a one-size-fits-all component. A&A Fire Protection designers can select from four fire sprinkler heads with different capabilities to design your space’s safety system. We’ve outlined the four main sprinkler head types—along with a guide to components and aesthetics—for those who want to learn more about this important equipment.

Four Sprinkler Head Types

The selection of a fire sprinkler head often depends on the size of your space, the fire sprinkler piping available, and the goal for coverage. At a base level, there are four main sprinkler head types that a designer may recommend using:

  • Fire Sprinkler Pendants: this sprinkler is the most commonly used sprinkler head type and is likely the most recognizable. These sprinklers are mounted on the ceiling to spray and protect large surface areas. This coverage is effective in commercial buildings, retail spaces, or other open-concept environments.
  • Concealed Pendant: in contrast to the exposed nature of the fire sprinkler pendant, the concealed pendant is often hidden behind a decorative box or covering. The functionality remains the same, but the aesthetic is different. Designers can provide a variety of coverings that match your space and blend in with the environment, rendering them almost undetectable at first glance.
  • Sidewall Fire Sprinkler Heads: this sprinkler head disperses water in a crescent-shaped spray from the wall. This helps direct the water toward the open space it protects without compromising your ceiling. This sprinkler is used in areas where ceiling fire sprinkler pipes are not available.
  • Upright Fire Sprinkler Heads: this sprinkler head operates as its name implies. The upright fire sprinkler head points upward toward the ceiling. This specific type is useful in working around obstructions in your space and hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, it can protect your space from dust and ice collection.

Fire Sprinkler Head Components

Though sprinkler heads may vary, there are some consistencies in the core components that make up the device:

  • Frame: this component is the skeleton that holds the body of the fire sprinkler together. The frame is not always visible and is almost always made out of metal.
  • Sprinkler Cover: there are three types of covers that allow your fire sprinkler head to work properly. Flat, adjustable, or recessed covers all help the equipment function as intended.
  • Sealing Plug: this component makes sure that the water doesn’t spill out ahead of time and stays inside the pipes.
  • Deflector: this element is what allows the water to spray a larger surface, instead of coming out in a single, direct stream. Different size deflectors can produce different results depending on the needs of the space.
  • Activator: this piece is crucial to your fire sprinkler head’s ability to operate. The activator is responsible for triggering the water based on a temperature reading.

Fire Sprinkler Aesthetic Elements

As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of aesthetic elements that can impact your fire sprinkler head design that doesn’t inherently affect functionality. Certain finishes and equipment covers can create a discrete, effective fire protection tool. A designer will be able to share with you all the options available and give you perspective on the costs they incur.

Fire Sprinkler Heads and Your Design

Our team of NICET (National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies) designers is here to help design a fire sprinkler system that’s suited to your needs. Whether you prefer a traditional or more modern system, our experts are here to design a system that fits your budget—and keeps you safe.

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