Sprinkler Accidents to Avoid

By: Tom Hartel
Sprinkler accidents happen! Sometimes they are avoidable. Other times, things happen that are beyond your control. A few accidents are common when it comes to fire suppression systems. For instance, freezing pipes and hit sprinkler heads to name a few. After many years in the sprinkler industry, we have a few suggestions to avoid certain sprinkler accidents.

Overheating

Overheating can simply be a case of the wrong sprinkler head in the wrong spot. Some areas of your home or building get more heat. For example, near a skylight, heaters, or cooking equipment. However, if these are enough to trip the sprinklers, your sprinkler head may not be the right temperature rating for that area. Fire protection system engineers will be able to tell you the correct sprinkler head with the correct temperature rating you need for specific areas in your building.

Freezing Temperatures

Wet systems in areas you should have dry systems are another sprinkler accident waiting to happen. You need a dry system in areas that reach temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This includes walk-in coolers and unheated warehouses. Water will freeze in the sprinkler pipes just like water anywhere else in freezing temperatures. Water expands when it freezes and will cause an array of damage to your system. You will not likely notice the problem until the water melts, and you have a mess on your hands.

Corrosion

Corrosion is one major reason you need to keep up to date on your sprinkler inspections. Untreated corrosion spreads and eats away at your system. Dry and wet systems are both susceptible to it and they will leak when left to long. Sprinkler accidents associated with corrosion include leaks, system failure when you need it, or unintentional activation of a dry system.

Tampering

Occasionally, someone will touch the sprinkler system that shouldn’t. It could be a joke gone wrong or intentional vandalism. This is an unfortunate problem in some facilities but installing sprinkler head guards or institutional sprinkler heads are good ways to help protect your system. You can also investigate concealed options to deter any sprinkler accidents.

Hit Sprinkler Heads

Like tampering a sprinkler head can be hit accidentally. Facilities that use lifts or parking garages with low ceilings are especially prone to these types of sprinkler accidents. Also, like tampering, a good way to avoid these accidents is to install guards or concealed heads. In parking garages, post signs for the max clearance height. The height should account for any sprinklers, pipes, or other hanging fixtures. Posting the height from the floor to the ceiling can lead to confusion and hit sprinklers.

Damaged Parts

Fire sprinklers are rigorously tested before and after installation. But as they say, the odds are low but never zero that you may have a defective sprinkler component. The shipping process can also damage parts. This scenario is more likely than receiving any incorrectly manufactured sprinklers. Licensed fitters will know how to handle and install fire protection components.

No matter what sprinkler accidents occur, Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing is here to help put your fire protection system back in order. Contact us and tell us what happened, we have 24-hour emergency service and can help with your fire protection needs.

By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.

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