Sprinkler heads go off one at a time. It's not like the movies where
a fire by one head makes the whole room rain. Only the heads that get
hot enough will start spraying. If that happens you'll be glad they
They don't trip accidentaly. BUT! They are pretty delicate when it
comes to being bumped, and they dump an impressive amount of water
when they go off. So you do want to be VERY careful when near them.
I've seen people hang a clothes hanger on them with disastrous
results, or your kids could toss a frisbee, etc. You'll be liable for
the damage if you cause it.
Yes, you could certainly install a water sensing device that would
kill the power to the machines, but you might want to place it as
close to the spinkler head as possible.
If you placed it on the floor (where most water sensing alarms are
usually placed) your systems would probably already be wet by the time
the sensor sensed the water.
You could also place your equipment in racks with a "roof" to keep the
water off of the equipment, but you'd have to deal with ventilation so
that the roof didn't keep the heat in. That could, ironically, cause a
Of course, once the fire department crashes through the window with
hoses a-blazing and waters down your whole apartment, all bets are off
as far as keeping your equipment dry.
All that said, if you are that concerned about your equipment, I'll
assume that you already employ off site back-up storage for your data.
You can try and protect the systems from water, but if the fire itself
wipes out the back-up media stored in the shoe box in the hall closet,
you're just as out of luck.
No. You cannot control the sprinklers. They are controlled at a
central location in the apartment building, on a floor-by-floor basis,
or a building-by-building basis, depending on the size of the
You don't want some idiot turning off his sprinklers out of some
misguided notion that his electronic toys are worth more than human
That's the risk you run. Make sure you have renter's insurance that
covers all your stuff. Keep important papers in a water-tight fire
safe. Keep backups of your important data off site.
There are some devices designed to protect against basement flooding.
However, they may not work if it's just "raining." Also, even if your
computer is off, if it gets wet, you can forget about ever using it
On Jun 28, 10:56 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Also, even if your
In my experience (admittedly not with any recent computers) that isn't
If it is powered up when it gets wet, damage can occur as jolts flow
where they shouldn't. But if not powered up, you can usually dry them
out and they work fine.
We used to take keyboards apart and flush them with distilled water,
back in the days when they were expensive.
Yes the switch you are asking about is called a shunt trip. It's name
comes from the shunting of some of a breakers current to a solenoid
inside the breaker that trips the breaker to the tripped position even
though the current flow has not exceeded the breaker's rating. The
shunt switch can take many forms including a manually operated push
button. Automatic shunt trips are now required in elevator machine
rooms and shafts in order to avoid any erratic operation that might be
caused by sprinkler discharge effecting the elevator controls. That
is needed because indoor elevator controls are not built to be
waterproof. These use a heat detector to shunt the current to the
solenoid and trip the breaker. The heat detector used has a lower
actuation temperature than the sprinkler heads used in those spaces.
That said I believe you would find the cost of parts and installation
a large price to pay for a scenario that is not likely. Keep in mind
that smoke can do as much damage to delicate electronics as water so
suppressing the fire quickly; which is an automatic sprinkler systems
reason for existence; will do much to raise the chance of successful
salvage of the electronics you are trying to protect.
I've installed a lot of shunt trip breakers and contactors that power
commercial kitchen equipment located under exhaust hoods equipped with
dry chemical fire suppression systems. Most folks don't know to leave
the hood fan running because the whole building will get covered with
white powder. :-)
They have tools out there to stop the water from flowing. Check out
www.quickstoptool.com. By the time the fire department gets there, locates your
main water shut off valve and the system drains, you will have plenty of damage
inside that could be avoided if you have a shut off tool on hand. Since most
sprinklers are serviced, a malfunction is unlikely, its vandalism (whether
intentional or not) that a lot of times causes unnecessary damage. As I say all
of this, the benefits to having sprinklers outweighs the risk of potential
damage. But for peace of mind, there are tools out there that anyone can use.
And if I was living on the bottom floor, I would buy my neighbor one who lives
above me incase their sprinkler head gets damaged.
You might check in with the local fire inspectors. It has been about
30 years since I dealt with residential sprinklers (and even then only
peripherally) but it sticks in my mind that the first responders just
used a wooden shim like you use to level windows. I could be VERY wrong,
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late
to work within the system, but too early to shoot
yes, quite possibly. You'd have to look at the sprinkler heads and
determine how to stop the water from flowing once the element pops
however. Some of them use a glass element that breaks, others use a
metal fuse link.
If this is a multi-story building, there ought to be a valve in one of
the stairwells feeding the entire floor, at which the water can be shut
off. However, touching that valve in an other than official capacity
can cause lots of (legal) problems. I would be very very hesitant to
touch that valve under any but an emergency circumstance (e.g. someone
knocked a head loose, you knew 100% that there was no fire, and you were
on the phone with 911 or the fire dept. and they asserted that it was OK
to shut that valve.) Additionally, it might be a looped system where
you have to shut two valves in two different stairwells to isolate a floor.
Doubt you can turn it off. If the sprinkler does go off, you have more
problems than losing a computer.
In most cases, the valves are locked in the open position. This is to
avoid people turning them off and rendering the sprinkler system useless
when needed. You can even be arrested in some jurisdictions.
The fire department or the building maintenance can turn them off.
That's the old school way. Today newer buildings tend to have valve
position monitor switches tied into the fire alarm system that will
alert the building personnel if a valve is tampered with (in fact the
common term for them is "tamper switches.")
My understanding was that there should be a "breakaway" somewhere in the
chain or cable that would allow someone to shut the valve in an
emergency by applying greater than normal (but not outside the range of
normal human strength) to the handwheel. However I've seen plenty of
valves locked open with what appeared to be ordinary chain.
Actually, you speak with firefighters (many of my friends are firefighters) and
many of these activations happen when people are home (kids throwing balls in
the house, remodeling being done, burning food on the stove and the fire gets
put out but water is still flowing, etc). Plus, some fire departments don't
have these tools yet and resort to using wood chalks if the head is still
intact. But if its been completely damaged and they don't have the proper tool,
they're going to let that system drain. You can check with your local fire dept
to make sure they have the tools necessary, or you can have your own back up
plan. Just depends on how valuable your property is. And yeah,
renters/homeowners insurance will replace items, but you have your deductible
and there could be items you can't get back. Having a fire sprinkler shut down
tool is like having a fire extinguisher in your home.. Just food for thought.
Most moments when the sprinkler is going off,
the FD has control of the scene, and no one
is allowed in. So, the device may sit in a
drawer, until it's all over.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
On 8/20/2013 3:48 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:
On Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:18:31 -0400, Stormin Mormon
Most. May, may not. I'm as cheap as anyone here but if I had
sprinklers, I'd spend the 85 dollars for the one posted, unless for
some reason it wasn't going to work at all.
Actually, I've had more water problems than probably any of you.
Just about everything that can go wrong has, And for the most part,
the only things that got damaged were the cardboard boxes things are
stored in on the basement floor. (I have two wood tool boxes on the
floor but they sit on sections of fence picket. They've never gotten
wet.) I used to try to replace the boxes but they were each of a
different size, and some had thick walls and very hard to find. So
now I just let the boxes sit there until they dry out. They stick to
the cement floor a little, but not much. If any rust forms on what
is inside, I'll use a grinder with a wire wheel later.
Another time, I had a whole set of DC and suburban phone books and
yellow pages, that a friend in DC collected for me. They got wet and
no good, and a few even got moldy, so I threw them all away but one.
If I had sprinklers first I'd hide my photo albums from them The
electonic pictures I have muliple copies of, and probably woudl't be
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.