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There are two main methods that can be used to calculate the piping diameters of a fire sprinkler system: the pipe schedule method and the hydraulic calculation method.
The NFPA 13 standard allows the pipe schedule method in some cases, but the hydraulic calculation method is preferred. The pipe schedule method often leads to oversized piping, which brings higher material and installation costs. When the hydraulic calculation method is used instead, material and labor savings of over 20% are possible. The hydraulic method is also more versatile, since it can be used with any piping material, while the pipe schedule method changes depending on the material.
The hydraulic calculation method allows smaller piping diameters while still meeting NFPA 13 and providing reliable fire protection, saving on both materials and labor. Consider that smaller piping also means less weight to handle and smaller fittings, leading to additional savings. A design with hydraulic calculations can also use less piping sizes than the pipe schedule method, and material purchases are easier to manage. we are providing an overview of how automatic sprinkler systems are designed with the hydraulic calculation method. However, this is not a replacement for the actual requirements of the NFPA 13 standard and local building codes.
Piping Configuration |
Description |
Tree | The piping that supplies water to the sprinklers branches out from a main line, as the name implies. |
Loop | Piping also branches out from a main line, but it circles back to the water supply. |
Grid | There are several main lines of piping that run parallel to each other, interconnected by smaller piping segment. |
The design density of discharge is the amount of water released by the sprinkler system, per square meter and per minute. This is determined based on floor area and the occupancy hazard classification. The design density of discharge is expressed in millimeters per minute (mm/min), but this unit can be misleading. Actually, the measurement refers to liters per square meter per minute, which simplifies to mm/min:
There are two main methods that can be used to calculate the piping diameters of a fire sprinkler system: the pipe schedule method and the hydraulic calculation method.
The NFPA 13 standard allows the pipe schedule method in some cases, but the hydraulic calculation method is preferred. The pipe schedule method often leads to oversized piping, which brings higher material and installation costs. When the hydraulic calculation method is used instead, material and labor savings of over 20% are possible. The hydraulic method is also more versatile, since it can be used with any piping material, while the pipe schedule method changes depending on the material.
The hydraulic calculation method allows smaller piping diameters while still meeting NFPA 13 and providing reliable fire protection, saving on both materials and labor. Consider that smaller piping also means less weight to handle and smaller fittings, leading to additional savings. A design with hydraulic calculations can also use less piping sizes than the pipe schedule method, and material purchases are easier to manage. we are providing an overview of how automatic sprinkler systems are designed with the hydraulic calculation method. However, this is not a replacement for the actual requirements of the NFPA 13 standard and local building codes.
Piping Configuration |
Description |
Tree | The piping that supplies water to the sprinklers branches out from a main line, as the name implies. |
Loop | Piping also branches out from a main line, but it circles back to the water supply. |
Grid | There are several main lines of piping that run parallel to each other, interconnected by smaller piping segment. |
The design density of discharge is the amount of water released by the sprinkler system, per square meter and per minute. This is determined based on floor area and the occupancy hazard classification. The design density of discharge is expressed in millimeters per minute (mm/min), but this unit can be misleading. Actually, the measurement refers to liters per square meter per minute, which simplifies to mm/min:
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