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Does your kiln room have the right sprinkler?

At a glance

  • Sprinkler systems are incredibly successful at minimising fire damage
  • Having the correct sprinkler head installed in a kiln room will prevent it from activating as a result of the heat generated from the kiln
  • To avoid costly water damage, we recommend checking the coloured bulb in any sprinkler


Many industries use kiln rooms as part of their manufacturing process, and may also have sprinkler systems fitted. These rooms can get very hot, and sprinklers could be accidentally set off if correct procedures are not followed.

Sprinkler systems are incredibly successful in reducing fire damage and can often contribute to notable reductions in property insurance premiums. We explain how to adequately protect kiln rooms.

Make sure sprinklers satisfy the British Standard BS EN 12845

Sprinkler systems have to satisfy British Standard BS EN 12845, which states that sprinklers should be fitted with a bulb that has a temperature rating of at least 30°C above the highest anticipated ambient temperature.

BS EN 12845 adds: “Special consideration shall be given to the rating of sprinklers in the vicinity of drying ovens, heaters and other equipment, which give off radiant heat.”

Key considerations for kiln rooms

Customers should consider the following when choosing a kiln room and installing sprinklers:

  • Suitability – while the use of a room is not always clear at the design stage, it is vital to consider the use of all rooms, especially where valuable and higher risk equipment is to be provided. Rooms are frequently not allocated at design stage to house a kiln, and are often too small for a kiln to be safely used
  • Ventilation – is there sufficient ventilation to adequately reduce the room temperature when the kiln is operating?
  • Size/type of kiln – most kilns have a maximum operating temperature of between 1300°C and 1350°C. They are also programmed so that firing is done over a number of hours. This would generally include leaving the kiln on overnight when the building is likely to be unoccupied
  • Installation – does the sprinkler contractor know that a kiln is to be provided within the building? Have they made allowance for the operating temperature of the kiln and is the temperature rating of the sprinkler head appropriate?

Will your sprinkler system activate unexpectedly?

It’s possible that not everybody involved in the installation of a sprinkler system will have considered the risk of it unnecessarily activating in a kiln room as a result of the heat generated. Sprinkler heads have different coloured bulbs to indicate the temperature at which they will activate (see infographic – right).

The wrong sprinkler head could cause water damage claims costing millions of pounds. This is particularly true if the kiln room is located on higher level floors.

Prevent sprinkler systems activating unexpectedly in kiln rooms

There are a number of ways in which the risk of sprinklers activating in a non-fire situation can be reduced, and the resulting damage minimised:

  • Sprinkler heads with an operating temperature of 141°C (blue) should be used
  • The sprinkler system should be connected to an alarm-receiving centre
  • The room housing the kiln should be designed to accommodate its use
  • The room should be big enough and have appropriate ventilation
  • The ventilation system should be part of the kiln’s operation and not rely on human intervention to switch it on
  • Building management systems, where provided, could be programmed to shut the kiln down if the ambient temperature in the kiln room reaches a prescribed temperature

Prevent costly claims – check sprinklers today

Unintended activation of a sprinkler system can be very costly.

We recommend affected organisations check their sprinkler system is suitable for their needs.

To discuss any aspect of this article further, speak to your usual Zurich contact.

You can also find out more and access helpful guides and insight with our new Fire Risk Resource.</strong

Image © Getty

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