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What You Need To Know About Your Fire Sprinkler Head Location and Coverage

Fire sprinkler systems are your first line of defense against fires in a commercial building, but the sprinkler heads must be placed properly to provide the best protection possible. Too close to a beam or a soffit, and the spray pattern may be disrupted.

Too far apart, and they may not provide full coverage. Use the following guidelines when installing sprinkler heads to keep your building as safe as possible.

Sprinkler Head Location and Coverage

Standard fire sprinklers have a coverage radius of about 8 feet, which will determine how far apart they can be placed. Before installation, the primary requirements when selecting the location for your fire sprinkler heads include the following:

  • The correct height – The sprinkler heads should be no further than 12 inches away from the ceiling and no closer than 1 inch unless they are flush-mounted or low-profile sprinkler heads that can be located closer to the ceiling. Because they are heat activated, this ensures the sprinkler heads are at the correct height to sense the heat and activate properly during a fire.
  • An obstruction-free location – To avoid blocking or disrupting the flow of water, sprinkler heads must not be placed near obstructions like beams, trusses, soffits, or tall shelves.

Sprinkler Head Distance and Spacing Requirements

In hydraulically calculated systems with a density of below 0.25 gallons per minute, the sprinkler heads can be placed up to 15 feet apart. The National Fire Protection Association recommends different sprinkler head spacings based on the hazard level and fire pump flow calculations. Based on what is stored in the area, here are the spacing requirements:

  • Light Hazard: For areas with only small amounts of flammable materials, the sprinkler heads can be placed a maximum of 15 feet apart and will cover about 130 to 200 square feet per sprinkler head.
  • Ordinary Hazard 1 & 2: In areas with moderate concentrations of flammable materials, the sprinkler heads can be placed 15 feet apart and provide up to 130 square feet of coverage.
  • Extra Hazard 3 & 4: When there are high concentrations of flammable materials, the sprinkler heads should be mounted a maximum of 12 feet apart in hydraulically calculated systems that require a density of 0.25 gallons of water per minute or above, and they will provide 90 to 130 square feet of coverage, depending on the fire pump flow calculations and any nearby obstructions.

High-Piled Storage

In areas with shelving for storage that reaches 12 to 15 feet tall, hydraulically calculated systems with a density of over 0.25 gallons per minute will require sprinkler heads that are a maximum of 12 feet apart, while those with a density of below 0.25 gallons per minute will require sprinkler heads that up to 15 feet apart.

Other Requirements

Sprinkler heads that are near walls must be set away from the wall at a distance equal to half the spacing for the appropriate hazard level. For an ordinary hazard level, this means that the sprinkler head must be 7.5 feet away from the wall.

 The minimum distance between any two sprinkler heads is 6 feet, and except for low-profile or flush-mounted sprinklers, the heads should be mounted between 1 inch to 12 inches from the ceiling.

Extended Coverage Sprinkler Heads

When your building or your layout demands sprinkler heads that provide a greater coverage area than standard models, choose extended coverage sprinkler heads.

They have a coverage radius of 10 feet, which means that they can be placed up to 20 feet apart for maximum coverage.

Fire Sprinkler Installations & Replacements in Northern California

When you need a proven team to design and install your fire sprinkler system, choose Foothill Fire Protection. We offer fire sprinkler installation and fire sprinkler replacement throughout the Bay Area, as well as fire sprinkler inspections and fire sprinkler repairs to keep the system in prime condition and ready for an emergency.

Our proven, reliable fire protection company has been serving Northern California businesses for over 25 years. We offer 24/7 service with exceptional quality, a strict focus on safety, services tailored to your facility’s needs, and projects completed on time and on budget. For all your commercial fire protection needs, from fire sprinkler systems to fire alarms, fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, and more, trust our team at Foothill Fire Protection.

Give your business the best protection possible. Call Foothill Fire Protection services today at (916) 663-3582 or contact us online to schedule a fire sprinkler installation anywhere in the Bay Area or Northern California.


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