Some of the most common code requirements that architects and engineers need to address in commercial buildings are fire separation requirements. The design of various partitions with significant areas of glass, such as curtain wall fire sprinkler systems, must ensure the glass does not explode under fire conditions. The common assumption has been that fire-rated glass is required to meet code. However, the use of curtain wall fire sprinkler systems that have been designed and tested to meet fire-rating requirements for glass partitions has been shown to be very cost effective. For areas that require freeze protection for wet sprinkler systems, the extension of freeze protected sprinkler systems to include curtain wall applications can be very cost effective and code compliant.
What are Window Sprinklers?
Window sprinklers are different from the standard ceiling-mounted sprinklers that are designed and operated to protect floor and wall surfaces. Window sprinklers are usually part of an overall automatic sprinkler system design in buildings, but the design of the manufactured sprinkler head and the location and spacing of the installed sprinkler heads is different than in the rest of the building with more standard sprinkler. This application’s sprinkler head design points directly at the glass to release water for fire protection when needed. Window sprinklers can only be used with fixed window assemblies. They are not allowed for use with movable windows or glass doors.
Window sprinklers are a specific type of fire-protection equipment that readily incorporates into a typical automatic sprinkler system. As such, they provide a coordinated automatic fire-protection solution for the curtain walls and other glass partitions.
Heat Tracing for Curtain Fire Sprinkler Systems
For areas where freezing conditions may occur, NFPA 13 allows for some trace heating systems to be used on curtain fire sprinkler systems. Only heat tracing systems that are specifically listed, certified for this purpose are allowed. NFPA 13 requires that trace heating be specifically certified for this type of installation. Certification heat tracing systems for fire sprinklers provides a practical option for protecting fire sprinkler piping from freezing in cold environments. This certification extends to curtain wall and other glass partition applications.
It is important to verify that the equipment used on a fire sprinkler system is listed, certified for this specific use. A trace heating system intended for fire sprinkler applications, including curtain wall applications, is typically composed of several elements including the trace heating cable, components and accessories, and associated controls.
UL’s certification of a heat tracing systems for fire sprinklers includes elements from IEEE 515.1 that are relevant to sprinkler systems along with additional requirements described in UL 515A, Outline of Investigation for Electrical Resistance Trace Heating and Associated Controls for Use In Sprinkler and Standpipe Systems.
To learn more information about specifying nVent RAYCHEM products approved by UL for fire sprinkler applications, visit the following: