The Difference Between Wet & Dry Risers

Wet and dry risers are a crucial part of fire protection for multi-level buildings, allowing for rapid water access and transportation in the event of a fire. While both wet and dry risers are installed for the same purpose, there are differences between them and Elite Fire is going to explain them to you.

What is a Wet Riser System and How Does it Work?

wet riser on the wall

In summary, a wet riser system is designed to quickly transport water to multiple levels of a building. A wet riser consists of vertical pipes that travel throughout a multi-level property, with connection points on each floor aside from the ground floor. These vertical pipes are connected to a water supply that ensures they are always full of water. 

The connection points are used by the fire brigade: if there is a fire on the 5th floor, for example, fire fighters can connect the hose to the 5th floor connection point and fight the fire quickly, rather than having to trail a hose from the ground, around the building and up multiple staircases. This saves a considerable amount of time, which can make a huge difference to the outcome of a fire emergency. 

What is a Dry Riser System and How Does it Work?

dry riser graphic

A dry riser system is also designed to transport water quickly through a multi-storey building, but unlike a wet riser, it isn’t constantly supplied with water – only when the fire brigade connects to the outlet at the bottom. You can read about dry risers in more detail here.

What are the Main Differences between Wet & Dry Risers?

dry riser

There are a few differences between wet and dry risers, but the main difference – as mentioned above – is the fact that wet risers are constantly supplied with water and dry risers aren’t. In dry riser systems, there is an inlet on the exterior of the building on the ground floor; the fire brigade can connect one hose to this, pumping water from their truck up to the appropriate floor, where another hose can be connected and used to fight the fire. 

In wet risers, those vertical pipes are always full of water and connected to a water supply, so there’s no need for the fire brigade to connect a hose to an external inlet, except in situations where the water supply is running low.

In terms of regulations, dry risers are a legal requirement in buildings taller than 18 metres. Wet risers are a legal requirement in buildings taller than 50m. The reason wet risers are required in taller buildings is that more water pressure is required to transport the water to higher floors – the constant supply of water facilitates this pressure. Both wet and dry risers do share a legal requirement – there should be an outlet for every 900m2 of floor area on each floor, and these outlets should not be any more than 60m apart horizontally.

Do Wet & Dry Risers Need to Be Regularly Tested?

Yes, wet and dry risers need to be tested regularly to ensure that they are in safe, working operation and they’re able to deliver water quickly to each floor of a building – the responsibility for testing dry and wet risers falls to building managers or owners. 

BS 5306: Part 1 states that dry and wet risers should be tested and serviced every 12 months and visually inspected every six months. Such tests include a full test of the equipment, ensuring that the appropriate pressure levels can be reached and that they can be used at a moment’s notice.

Expert Dry and Wet Riser Services

Elite Fire Protection are experienced, trusted providers of wet and dry riser maintenance and testing for properties across the UK. Your system needs to be in full working order at all times – it could save lives – and so we take great care to ensure our inspections are meticulous and our services are comprehensive and effective. Whether your system has been vandalised, it’s been installed for years or you want servicing for peace of mind, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.

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