Other fire sprinklers worth knowing about

ECOH and ESFR fire protection sprinklers are other options when not specifying special sprinklers

By Kyle J. Lehman June 8, 2022
Courtesy: SmithGroup

Manufacturers continue to develop new fire sprinklers to protect new hazards, allow for more cost-effective installations or reduce manufacturing costs. Some notable developments are outlined below, but designers and fire protection engineers are encouraged to review the lineup of available sprinklers for useful options when beginning a new design.

Extended-coverage sprinklers were once limited to light-hazard applications or smaller ordinary-hazard areas, but extended-coverage ordinary-hazard (known as ECOH) sprinklers now provide areas of coverage up to the full 20-foot by 20-foot maximum area allowed by NFPA 13 and are available in a flat-plate concealed option. ECOH sprinklers were previously available only as semi-recessed or domed-concealed sprinklers.

The range of concealed sprinklers continues to grow. In addition to extended-coverage ordinary hazard sprinklers and dry, flexible sprinklers, manufacturers now provide options for flat-plate concealed sprinklers listed for application in extra-hazard applications.

Early suppression fast response (aka ESFR) sprinklers continue to make inroads into more and more storage applications. ESFR sprinklers are now available with k-factors as high as 33.6 (though it should be noted that the Tyco/Johnson Controls Model ESFR-34 is only FM Global approved and not UL listed) and can be applied to a wider range of storage configurations than ever before.

Dry, flexible sprinklers such as the Victaulic VS1 have opened new design and installation opportunities, making it possible to have dry pendent sprinklers in locations where that would not have been possible before, though careful coordination is necessary to avoid structural conflicts while maintaining required drainage for condensation.

In addition to development of completely new sprinklers, manufacturers also update older sprinklers to expand their range of applications. Designers are encouraged to revisit manufacturer’s sprinkler line-ups at the beginning of every project so that they can base their design on the latest information.

Author Bio: Kyle J. Lehman is a principal, fire and life safety engineering, at SmithGroup.