Flexible fire sprinkler drops connect to the rigid piping framework of a fire sprinkler system just like a standard sprinkler head, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike standard sprinkler heads, flexible sprinkler drops feature flexible stainless-steel hoses, much like those used in faucet installations, that allow the sprinklers to reach areas that might otherwise be missed by rigid sprinklers.
This type of system is commonly used in buildings with drop ceilings because it allows the sprinkler heads to be positioned at the ceiling level despite the rigid piping framework being several inches or feet above the ceiling tiles.
Pros and Cons of Flexible Sprinkler Drops
One of the main advantages of flexible sprinkler drops is that they are much faster to install because they feature threaded fittings on both the pipe and the sprinkler head. This not only helps reduce installation time, but also helps lower labor costs. This threaded fitting end also helps reduce the chance of leakage.
The hoses used in these types of installations come in a variety of lengths, from two feet to seven, and this means that the sprinkler head can easily be more precisely positioned over a hard-to-reach area. It also means that the sprinkler heads can be easily relocated by short distances in cases where a ceiling needs to be modified.
Because this system utilizes flexible hoses, it is ideal for installations in buildings located in earthquake-prone areas and unlike other types of rigid sprinklers, this type does not require oversized escutcheon and can be used in both wet and dry systems.
The primary drawback of flexible sprinkler drops is higher material cost. A flexible assembly can cost anywhere from $160 to $400 per assembly, while materials for traditional pipe and fittings typically cost half of that. Depending on the installation, that higher cost may be able to be balanced out by the flexible drops’ lower labor costs and faster installation.
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