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Date: December 09, 2014 Author: Brandon Winters

Most buildings never experience a fire, which means their fire sprinkler systems are never used. Like emergency power generators, fire sprinkler systems are used irregularly and, when they do see action, not for long. Even so, they require scheduled maintenance to stay operational. According to NFPA 25, Standard for the inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, sprinkler systems should receive the following maintenance measures.    

Check non-electronic control values.

Non-electric sprinkler control valves must be open to distribute water when a fire occurs. If the valves are closed and a fire breaks out, it is like not having a sprinkler system in place. Building owners should check non-electric control valves weekly to ensure that they are open. If your building has electronic control valves, they can be tested during the full sprinkler system inspection that should be performed annually.

If you need help checking the control valves in your building’s sprinkler system, request an inspection from a fire service professional trained in commercial sprinkler system inspection. Firefighters can learn about sprinkler system inspection and other types of fire suppression system inspection by studying NFPA 25 and learning the information in Fire Detection and Suppression Systems, 4th Ed.

Remove coatings from sprinkler heads.

Over time, sprinkler heads can gather a coating of dirt and grime that temporarily impedes the flow of water from the heads. Particularly vulnerable to coatings are sprinklers that are located in areas where grease accumulates, such as kitchens. Coatings can be removed from sprinkler heads by washing them with a non-residue, non-corrosive degreasing solution. Above all, building owners should avoid painting sprinkler heads when they paint the ceiling of a room.

Remove high objects from beneath sprinklers.

Technically, removing high objects from beneath sprinklers is not a maintenance measure. However, removing them helps ensure that sprinklers distribute water evenly throughout the room. Rooms in which tall or stacked objects block the spray of sprinklers are essentially fire hazards. A fire service professional who is familiar with the information in NFPA 25 and Fire Detection and Suppression Systems, 4th Ed. may suggest alternative storage solutions.

Check water pressure for sprinklers.

Sprinklers need a sufficient amount of water pressure to spray water throughout a room.  Consequently, it is a good idea to have a fire service professional or an experienced plumber check the water pressure for sprinklers quarterly. If the other water fixtures in your building receive sufficient water pressure, chances are that the sprinkler system will, too. However, because valves deep in the system can be accidentally turned off, it’s always good to check.  

Perform a full sprinkler system inspection.

Regardless of the type of sprinkler system a building contains, the owner should have a fire service professional inspect the system annually. Because they are more comprehensive, annual inspections can reveal things that weekly and quarterly inspections do not, such as pipe problems deep in the sprinkler system, corrosion of parts in sprinkler units and an improperly calibrated sprinkler system that fails to respond to crucial stimuli the way it should.

Interested in inspecting sprinkler systems?

If so, learning the information in NFPA 25 and Fire Detection and Suppression Systems, 4th Ed. will give you the knowledge you need for the job and help you pass exams leading up to your new position. Maintaining sprinkler systems is an essential service for buildings that are required to have sprinklers. To start on the career path of helping building owners maintain their sprinkler systems, order Fire Detection and Suppression Systems, 4th Ed. from our online store today.
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