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What’s the difference between a sprinkler system & a water mist system?

Suppressing fire

There is clear evidence that water mist and sprinkler fire suppression systems can be
effective in stopping fires spreading, in helping to put them out and (importantly) in saving
both lives and property.

Water mist and sprinkler systems have the same aim, to suppress a fire and provide
survivable conditions, but they achieve this in different ways.

Sprinkler or water mist system?

Water mist and sprinkler fire suppression systems both make use of water to slow the
spread of fire. Once activated, they douse the area helping to cool the entire vicinity and
suppress the fire, but water mist appliances such as Plumis Hydra Smartscan use far less
water than a sprinkler system. With a water output of 5.6ltrs per minute, it is approximately
90% less water than a conventional sprinkler system, which means far less water damage.

Another difference is the size of water droplets produced. Traditional sprinkler systems emit
large water droplets and – as the name suggests – water mist systems produce a fine water
mist. This fine water mist can control, suppress, or extinguish fires by cooling the flames and
gases (the same as a conventional sprinkler system) but they also displace oxygen through

Water mist systems are great in properties with low water flow as conventional sprinkler
systems often need high pressures and large flow rates or a tank of water to guarantee the
necessary flow.

Whatever the system, it’s essential that both types are designed correctly, expertly installed
and serviced regularly to ensure that they are effective in the event of a fire.

The difference between the two systems:

Water mist suppression systems

  • High-pressure water mist which displaces air, cools, dilutes and drenches surfaces
  • Water droplets released are far smaller
  • Less water and less property damage

Fire sprinkler systems

  • Suppress fires primarily by drenching the area
  • No limitation on droplet size
  • More water and more property damage

What is a water mist fire suppression system?

Unlike conventional sprinkler systems which target a fire with large water droplets, water
mist suppression systems create a high-pressure fine spray (or mist) that simultaneously
reaches and dampens every surface, cools the room and suffocates the flames by reducing
the oxygen around the fire.

Water mist systems can be used on a wide range of fire types, are safe and reliable, fast
acting and are great for the environment using up to 90% less water than conventional
sprinklers – or firefighters’ hoses for that matter!

How do water mist systems work?

Once triggered, a small pump drives mains water through a nozzle unit targeting the fire with
high-pressure water mist.

This not only attacks the fire quickly and directly by removing heat and displacing oxygen
from the fire zone, but also dampens all reachable surfaces, and prevents the fire from

As the water mist comes into contact with the flames, it turns into steam. The steam then
displaces the oxygen particles around the fire, ultimately suffocating it.

  • High-pressured water mist is released, dampening surfaces and reducing fire spread
  • A mix of cold air and water molecules significantly reduces the room temperature
  • Water mist turns to steam which suffocates the fire
automist spraying fire in living room

Which system is best?

We’ve already established that both sprinkler and water mist systems work in much the
same way so it really depends upon your requirements.

Having said that, water mist suppression systems have some distinct advantages over
sprinkler systems, namely:

  • Can be easier to install
  • Has faster activation times than a conventional, frangible bulb operated system
  • Discharge up to 90% less water than sprinkler system
  • Mist suppression can cause less damage to the property
  • Water mist droplets have a greater surface area than water from sprinkler systems
    and can offer more effective fire suppression
  • Helps to minimise gas and smoke
  • Smoke particles attach themselves to the water droplets and fall to the floor
    eliminating spread throughout the building
  • Perfect for properties with low water flow

Bluelight’s Automist System

As we’ve learned, water mist suppression systems are a smart alternative to conventional
fire sprinklers and perfect for modern living. The Plumis Automist® system uses a high-
pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from wall mounted nozzles using up to 90%
less water than conventional systems.

Its intelligent and automatic water mist fire suppression technology and modern design
enables open plan layouts and loft conversions, new builds and large sheltered housing
schemes where it can protect residents who are at greater risk from fire.

Why choose Automist®?

  • Designed to detect fires and activate in 2 minutes
  • Uses 90% less water than traditional sprinklers
  • Connects directly to the water mains rather than a water tank
  • Misting heads are discreetly wall-mounted
  • Only 2 hours to install and connect to the mains
  • Space-saving pump can be installed in a kitchen unit
  • Easy 6-step plan from design and payment to installation and final checks

Automist uses 90% less water than standard sprinkler systems

For more information about Blue Light Safety or Automist® fire suppression – email or call 0330 353 0053.

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Blue Light Safety is a registered company in England. Automist® is the registered trademark of Plumis Ltd.

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