By holding the pressure of water above the clapper and preventing reverse flow from sprinkler pipes, alarm valves function as check valves. During a prolonged flow of water, such as that needed by an open sprinkler, alarm valves are designed to sound a gong bell and/or activate a pressure switch, triggering an alert.
In a sprinkler system, why use alarm check valves?
In a wet sprinkler system, there are a lot of check valves and other components. Alarm valves should be included throughout any sprinkler system designed for fire suppression. Alarm check valves are not meant to prevent backflow, contrary to certain popular assumptions. Although these alarm check valves may assist to prevent water in the sprinkler system from back flowing to the source or a reservoir, potentially contaminating the water supply, their principal function is to hold back water pressure in the sprinkler system until it is needed. A water gong can activate (or open) an alarm check valve in one of two ways: manually or electronically. When the alarm check valves are opened, water will flow through the system, activating the sprinkler system as needed to put out a fire.
An Alarm Check Valve’s Fundamentals
A valve, at its most basic level, will aid in the regulation of water in a web standpipe system. Although alarm check valves can be found underground, the most majority are found above ground, often in buildings and high-rises. Because water is corrosive by nature, it may cause pipes to corrode if it stays inactive for an extended period of time. By limiting the pressure within the pipes until it’s needed, the alarm check valves assist to reduce corrosion. The alarm check valves will open after the system has been engaged, enabling full water pressure to enter the system.
Another use for these alarm check valves is in high-rise buildings and other structures with extensive plumbing systems. That is, the flow of water throughout the system would be controlled automatically. If repair is required along any point in the system, the technician must either manually stop valves (a time-consuming and difficult task the larger the building structure), or empty the whole system of water to the point where work is required (i.e. Cutting or replacing piping or other valves). This would not be necessary if check valves were used in an electronically controlled system.
Ignoring Alarm Check Valves Comes With Risks
There are two possibilities that can occur if you don’t use alarm check valves in a sprinkler system. Either someone would have to manually open valves to allow water into the sprinkler system, or the entire system would be at continual full pressure, which may cause problems if there were surges or corrosion. Even if alarm check valves are not required by law, they should be considered by anybody planning, installing, or modifying a sprinkler system. The greater the quality of the valves, the more safe the entire system will be, which helps to protect not only the buildings’ investment, but also the people who use it.