The patent's assignee for patent number 8752639 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Due to modern building codes, buildings above a predetermined size, based upon square footage, are generally required to have fire suppression systems. Generally, it may be beneficial to have a fire suppression system in any dwelling without regard to the size of the dwelling. However, due to climates where freezing temperatures are reached, fire suppression systems can generally be designed so that the water being held in portions of the system does not freeze. Typically, if the water in the fire suppression system does freeze, the fire suppression system can be rendered inoperable and/or cause damage to the fire suppression system. More specifically, the piping in the system can be damaged. Generally, environments having excessive temperatures that cause the water in the pipes to boil or climates with extreme temperature fluctuations can have adverse effects on pipes and/or piping components of the fire suppression system due to thermal expansion and contortion.
"One exemplary system designed to prevent a fluid within the system from freezing is a system wherein the pipes of the fire suppression system are filled with glycol. Generally, glycol has a low freezing temperature when compared to the freezing temperature of water, which allows it to withstand cold ambient temperatures without freezing. However, the glycol systems typically require constant maintenance, which can be an expensive process. Additionally, glycol systems are generally undesirable, especially for residential dwellings, due to the chemical agent being constantly present in the fire suppression system piping that extends throughout the dwelling.
"When a fire suppression system uses glycol or a similar chemical agent, the system typically includes a check valve that separates the glycol and the water. The check valve generally only allows fluids to flow one way, such that the glycol is prevented from entering the area of the system occupied by water. Thus, once the glycol is removed from the system, the check valve typically allows the water to flow into the area of the system where the glycol was previously present. Generally, the glycol exits the system when a sprinkler head is opened, and the glycol is discharged over an area surrounding the sprinkler head prior to the sprinkler head discharging water over the surrounding area. Further, the fire suppression system using a check valve generally requires a second fluid, such as the glycol, to be in a portion of the system, otherwise water would pass through the check valve at undesirable times, which creates a potential for the water to freeze and damage the system.
"Additionally, in any fire suppression system where there is a fluid material in the system, there is generally a possibility of the fluid exiting the system at undesirable times. For example, the fluid material can leak from the fire suppression system and cause damage to item or objects around the system, such as furniture in a residential dwelling or inventory in a commercial or industrial dwelling."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "According to one aspect of the present invention, a fire suppression system includes at least one inlet pipe, at least one outlet pipe, and a valve assembly. The at least one inlet pipe is at least partially filled with a fluid substance, wherein the fluid substance creates a first pressure in the at least one inlet pipe. The at least one outlet pipe is in fluid communication with the at least one inlet pipe and contains a gaseous fluid, wherein the gaseous fluid creates a second pressure in the at least one outlet pipe. The valve assembly is in fluid communication between the at least one inlet pipe and the at least one outlet pipe, wherein the fluid substance enters the at least one outlet pipe through the valve when the second pressure is altered to a predetermined pressure.
"According to another aspect of the present invention, a fire suppression system includes at least one inlet pipe, at least one outlet pipe, and a valve assembly. The at least one inlet pipe is at least partially filled with a fluid substance, wherein the fluid substance creates a first pressure in the at least one inlet pipe. The at least one outlet pipe is in fluid communication with the at least one inlet pipe and contains a gaseous fluid, wherein the gaseous fluid creates a second pressure in the at least one outlet pipe, and the at least one outlet pipe defines at least one opening. The valve assembly is a direct-acting actuated dry valve assembly that is in fluid communication between the at least one inlet pipe and the at least one outlet pipe, wherein the fluid substance enters the at least one outlet pipe through the direct-acting dry valve assembly when the second pressure is altered to a predetermined pressure, and the fluid substance exits the at least one outlet pipe through the at least one opening.
"According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of suppressing a fire includes the steps of pressurizing an inlet pipe at a first pressure with a fluid substance, and pressurizing an outlet pipe at a second pressure with a gaseous substance. The method further includes the steps of altering the outlet pipe pressure, and opening a valve assembly that is in fluid communication between the inlet and outlet pipes when the outlet pipe pressure is altered, such that the gaseous fluid one of enters and exits the outlet pipe to alter the second pressure, and the fluid substance enters and exits the said outlet pipe.
"These and other features, advantages, and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims, and appended drawings."
For additional information on this patent, see: Long, Robert A.. Fire Suppression System and Method. U.S. Patent Number 8752639, filed
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