Valley Fire Protection

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have some questions about our fire protection or plumbing services? Take a look at the frequently asked questions below. In case you are still unable to find answers to your questions, feel free to ask our specialists.

Fire Protection FAQs

Why do I need a fire sprinkler system in my building?

Commercial buildings are required by law to have a sprinkler system. Regardless of laws, rules and ordinances, it’s important to have a sprinkler system installed because it will protect your property and the people in your building.

Are fire sprinkler systems effective?
Yes. A 2017 report from the National Fire Protection Association says the death rate is 87 percent lower in properties with sprinklers than in properties with no automatic extinguishing systems.

Furthermore, the report found that when activated, sprinklers were effective in controlling the fire 96 percent of the time. When the sprinkler system wasn’t effective, the majority of the time it was because the system had been turned off.

How much does the fire sprinkler system cost?
That depends on the type of system and the size of it, which is determined by the square footage of your building, the industry you’re in, if the building is heated and if there are any hazardous materials within the building.

As a general rule, expect to pay between $1 and $2 per square foot for a new system. For retrofits, the going rate is around $2.50 per square foot.

How do I know my fire sprinkler system will work?
Upon installation, the entire system, including alarms and detectors, will be tested. Furthermore, frequent inspections and maintenance will provide the assurance you need that your system will work in the event of a fire.
Don’t fire sprinkler systems cause a lot of water damage when activated?
Most systems are designed so water damage is very minimal. Since they are designed to catch a fire before it becomes fully involved, less water is needed, which can decrease the amount of water damage.

Where residential structures are concerned, local fire departments using large hoses will use an average of nearly 3,000 gallons of water to douse a flame, whereas a residential sprinkler system uses only 340 gallons.

How does fire suppression work?

It depends on your type of system, but with conventional sprinklers, they are made with a bulb filled with liquid that will burst when activated by heat.

Once burst, the water in the lines is allowed to flow freely through the sprinkler. The bulbs are custom built to burst at varying temperatures, from 135 degrees up to 440 degrees.

What determines where and when sprinklers are required?
Sprinkler systems are required for most commercial structures, particularly those that have a “fire area” exceeding 5,000 square feet. Buildings 55 feet or higher must also have sprinkler systems through the entire building.

However, local ordinances will determine what type of structure will require a sprinkler system. These often cover residential buildings, such as nursing homes and apartment buildings, as well as high-rise office buildings

Who decides design and installation procedures for sprinkler system?

The NFPA has established the standard for how a fire sprinkler system will be installed. However, licensed fire protection contractors are tasked with designing and building the system, which will also meet NFPA guidelines.

Your contractor should be experienced in all types of systems and match the right kind with your property / industry.

What is an NFPA standard?
NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association, which is the governmental body that establishes how fire sprinkler systems are installed.

The national standard, which is established with NFPA 13: Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems, offers a consistent guide for how fire safety requirements are to be met.

What buildings require fire sprinklers?
All commercial buildings that exceed a fire area of 5,000 square feet must have a fire sprinkler system. However, state and regional ordinances will determine exactly which buildings are required to have them.

For example, all new one and two-family dwellings in California, Maryland and Washington D.C. are required to have a sprinkler system.

In Illinois, local jurisdictions can adopt a building code requirement for sprinklers in new homes, and around 100 communities have adopted such ordinances.

Refer to the NFPA for a list of ordinances in your state, or contact your local government representative.

Why is fire protection in restaurants and commercial kitchens so important?
Restaurants and commercial kitchens have a variety of fire hazards due to ovens and burners seeing heavy use. There are also flammable cooking fuels in the kitchen, which is a hectic, frenzied work environment that also adds to the risk.

Most of these operations are equipped with a Class K extinguisher system, which utilizes a process called saponification that is safe to use in grease, fat and oil fires that are common in kitchens.

Plumbing FAQs

How long have you specialized in commercial plumbing?
We began offering commercial plumbing services in 2004. We offer the latest in plumbing innovation and have the skills and materials that make us a perfect fit for any commercial plumbing job.
Can you provide references on other commercial plumbing jobs you have done?
Sure. We work with commercial properties in many industries, from education to office buildings, restaurants to hospitals, churches to data centers – you name it and we’ve done it.

Contact us and we’ll provide you with references in your industry.

What type of materials do you use?
We use the latest materials that are durable and dependable. However, we are also experts at plumbing jobs in historic structures, which means we are proficient in working with a number of plumbing materials, including copper.
Are there certain products or brands you recommend for a commercial plumbing system?
Our service vehicles are stocked with the latest and best brands that we trust to last our clients a long time. We also work with our clients to ensure they’re getting the brands they prefer for their custom jobs.
Do you install tankless water heaters?
Yes. We prefer tankless systems in areas where space is limited. We offer gas and electric tankless heater systems.
What is a pipe video inspection?
Utilizing a custom-built, waterproof camera attached to a long, flexible rod, we are able to go deep into the pipes and see exactly what and where the problem exists.
My water bill is very high. Could this be a plumbing problem?
Yes. Something major, like a ruptured supply line to the property, could be causing the higher bills. However, something as small as a faulty faucet could also be the culprit.

You could be losing hundreds of gallons of water because of one leaky faucet. A complete inspection will reveal the problem area(s).

My hot water system has low water pressure. What should I do?
First and foremost, call your plumber. It could be hard water buildup in your pipes or there could be an issue with your hot water heater, such as a leaking tank or a debris-filled tank. Your plumber will get to the bottom of the problem.
When should I replace my water heater?
Debris in your water or discolored water is often the first sign that your water heater needs to be replaced.

If yours begins to leak, call a plumber and have them inspect your water heater because that could be a sign of a failing tank, which could mean it’s time for a replacement.

How long do water heaters last?
Manufacturers are making better water heaters than they did in the past, so it’s not uncommon to see them lasting 15 years or longer.

However, yours will last longer with regular maintenance, which we provide.

Whose responsibility is the sewer line?
Any sewer line on your property is your responsibility. Many people believe that because it hooks up to the municipal line, it’s the responsibility of the municipality, but this is not the case.
Why is backflow prevention important?
Contaminated water is extremely dangerous because it can lead to serious health issues.

A backflow prevention device will prevent contaminated water from entering your potable water supply.

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