Page 5 - Maximizing installation flexibility and storage capacity using ESFR Storage Sprinklers
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 Sprinkler-to-Ceiling Distance
The late 1980s brought about the development of the first ESFR sprinkler. This sprinkler, the ESFR-1, launched by
Johnson Controls (formerly Grinnell®) had a K-factor of 14.0 (200) and was able to provide ceiling-only protection up to
a 40 foot (12,2m) ceiling height. Approximately ten years later, the company developed the K-25.2 Model ESFR-25 automatic fire sprinkler that increased ceiling-only protection to 45 feet (13,7m). In addition to the increased ceiling
height, the Model ESFR-25 provided another significant improvement over the Model ESFR-1: the ESFR-25 increased the deflector-to-ceiling distance from 14 inches (350mm) to 18 inches (450mm). NFPA 13:2019 section states,
“Pendent sprinklers with a nominal K-factor of K-22.4 (320) and K-25.2 (360) shall be positioned so that the deflectors are a maximum 18 inches (450mm) and a minimum 6 inches (150mm) below the ceiling.”
There are two major benefits of the additional deflector distance. First, is increased installation flexibility with respect to allowing the pipe centerline to be lower and second,
is maximizing the ability to avoid roof support structures
and equipment from other building systems such as ductwork from heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.
Whether installing per NFPA13:2019 or FM 8-9, ESFR sprinklers have some of the most stringent obstruction rules, in order to maintain proper response time and spray distribution pattern. These rules are essential for ESFR sprinklers installed at the ceiling to address a fire effectively.
This means ESFR sprinkler installations must avoid obstructions such as ceiling support structures and HVAC ducts that could slow sprinkler response time or negatively affect spray distribution.

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