#257 – Fire Risers, Part 1: Essential Fire Sprinkler Riser Components

Fire risers are crucial elements in both commercial and residential fire sprinkler systems. They play a vital role in preventing pressure loss, facilitating repairs, and controlling water flow to sprinkler heads. In this article, we will explore the essential components found in fire sprinkler risers, the variations in construction, and the different requirements for residential and commercial assemblies.

Importance of Fire Sprinkler Riser Components

Fire sprinkler systems are meticulously designed to ensure the safety of occupants in a building. Even the slightest malfunction in a sprinkler head, pipe, valve, or pipe hanger can have fatal consequences. However, the fire sprinkler riser contains numerous necessary components per linear foot, making it a crucial part of the system.

NFPA Standards and Riser Components

Designers and contractors working on fire sprinkler systems must adhere to the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These standards include NFPA 13 for commercial systems, NFPA 13R for multi-family residential buildings, and NFPA 13D for home sprinkler systems.

According to NFPA 13, a fire riser is defined as “the vertical supply pipes in a sprinkler system.” Risers serve as the point where plumbing ends and the fire sprinkler system begins. Each riser connects to a permanent water source, such as a city water system pipe or a water tank, and distributes water to the network of pipes leading to sprinkler heads.

Essential Components in Fire Sprinkler Riser Assemblies

Fire riser assemblies, also known as riser manifolds, consist of various components. While the exact configuration may vary, most riser assemblies include the following essential parts:

  1. Vertical Pipe (Riser): The riser itself acts as a vertical supply pipe in the system.
  2. Main Drain: The main drain facilitates inspection, testing, and maintenance of the system.
  3. Test Connection: Test connections, found in wet-pipe sprinkler systems, allow for testing of alarm devices.
  4. Control Valve: Control valves start and stop the flow of water in the sprinkler system.
  5. Pressure Gauges: Pressure gauges measure supply and system pressure at specific locations.
  6. Flow or Pressure Switch: Water flow detection devices monitor changes in water flow and activate alarms when sprinkler heads discharge.

Understanding Specific Requirements

Different types of fire sprinkler systems have specific requirements for riser components. For example, NFPA 13R mandates drainpipe and drain valve sizes in larger residential systems, while NFPA 13D requires a drain valve of a certain diameter. Similarly, alarm test connections only exist in wet-pipe systems, while dry-pipe and preaction systems have different types of test connections.


Fire sprinkler riser systems are integral to the functionality of fire sprinkler systems, whether in commercial, residential, or home applications. Understanding the essential components and their requirements is crucial for proper installation and maintenance. In the next part of this series, we will explore common riser assemblies and the benefits of pre-assembled riser kits. If you need assistance with choosing the right fire sprinkler riser components, feel free to contact us at +1 (888) 361-6662 or email [email protected].

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