Spotlight: PEX-based fire sprinkler system approved for exposed applications

Spotlight: PEX-based fire sprinkler system approved for exposed applications
The AquaSAFE multipurpose residential PEX fire sprinkler system from Uponor is approved for use in exposed applications in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13D Standard.

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The AquaSAFE multipurpose residential PEX fire sprinkler system from Uponor is approved for use in exposed applications in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13D Standard, including unfinished basements with dimensional lumber, engineered wood, wood I-joists or open-web floor trusses. 

“The International Residential Code for most residential construction in the U.S. requires protection of lightweight construction,” says Eric Skare, Uponor product manager, fire safety. “A home that’s engineered with I-joists or open-web floor trusses would typically need to be protected by Sheetrock or some other type of fire barrier, unless fire sprinklers are installed.” 

The AquaSAFE sprinkler system integrates with the home’s cold-water plumbing, ensuring freshwater is always available in the event of a fire. Each sprinkler is individually heat activated. Heads are recessed or concealed behind a plate to blend with home décor. 

“It can be used in remodel applications, but it’s a bit more difficult,” he says. “If it’s a large-scale remodel with open access to the ceiling and the walls, it’s much easier, but the beauty in remodels is the flexible nature of our piping product.” 

The PEX multipurpose system uses about half the fittings and connections of a comparable CPVC system and eliminates stagnant water, as well as the need for check valves, backflow preventers and the maintenance and inspections required by stand-alone fire safety systems. Most AquaSAFE systems use a loop of 3/4- or 1-inch PEX with 1 1/4-inch available for challenging water supply applications. 

“All of the benefits that PEX has over other materials in plumbing and radiant heating/cooling also apply to our AquaSAFE PEX-based fire sprinkler system,” Skare says. “The other major benefit is the flexible installation options. PEX pipe can be installed in multipurpose, passive purge or stand-alone systems, but typically our AquaSAFE system is installed as a loop. 

“In essence, cold-water plumbing fixtures are fed directly from the sprinkler piping,” he says. “That minimizes the amount of pipe that’s installed in the home, and because it’s flexible, fittings and connections are minimized because you can just bend the pipe every time you need to change direction, elevation or encounter an obstacle.” 

The sprinkler system can be installed by a single licensed and trained Uponor plumbing contractor. Uponor also offers AquaSAFE Level I and II classroom and on-the-job-site training along with design and technical support. 

“Completing our training to become an AquaSAFE installer allows you to provide services on a much broader scale,” Skare says. “It allows you to provide a service to the builder in that they don’t have to hire a separate contractor to install the fire sprinkler system. You’re already on the job site.” 800/321-4739; www.uponorpro.com.



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