It is inevitable to be prepared for any accidents or mishappenings in today’s lifestyle, as we cannot anticipate what will come in the future. Of all the things that can happen unexpectedly, a fire accident is worse and will leave a disastrous aftereffect. To avoid these accidents from happening, all of the safety measures should be intact and well maintained. Among all the safety requirements that have been installed on your property, one of the most important measures you should take care of is the fire sprinkler system at your building. It is a misconception that a fire alert is usually a smoke detector that goes rogue or some malfunction in the system. And most of us think that fire is the least possible thing that could happen. As a result, we don’t pay much attention to the fire sprinkler systems or the safety measures installed to prevent any kind of fire damage from occurring. Here’s a guide to the five essential tips for properly maintaining the fire sprinkler system in your household and dodging the possibility of your building getting damaged in a fire accident.
Before getting into that, let’s familiarize ourselves with a fire sprinkler system and how it works in a fire accident. A fire sprinkler system is basically a network of pipes with gauges and nozzles to spray water out in force when any type of fire accident is happening in the vicinity. There are different types of fire sprinkler systems: in-house sprinklers and outhouse ones. Whatever the type is, the outcome is the same, and it all ends up protecting the property and people from a hazard. So, when there is a temperature change or a fire alarm sounds, the sprinklers automatically spray water into the affected area to control the damage.
According to the NFPA, closed valves are one of the major reasons for your house sprinkler system’s failure. So the first step of your building’s sprinkler system maintenance is the proper usage of the control valves. Any fire sprinkler system will only work if the control valves have the proper opening and are working well. Ensure that it is always open because they control the water flow and the sprinkler system. When something catches on fire, the aid should be done immediately, and any delay caused can make things worse. A quick response from your house sprinkler system can prevent a lot of damages from happening. When you install the fire sprinkler system at your house, you will be provided with a user manual on how you should do your building’s sprinkler system maintenance. Make sure you go through all the instructions while you are implementing them.
There are many kinds of control valves available for a fire sprinkler. The most common ones among them are butterfly valves and post indicator valves. In the case of butterfly valves, it is quite easy to determine if the valve is closed or open. If the vane of the valve is parallel to the water flow direction, then it is open; if it is the opposite, then it means the valve is closed. As in the case of post indicator valves, the status of the control valve is shown as “OPEN” and “SHUT.”
There are a lot of tests you can undergo to make sure that the sprinkler system is working properly.
Ensure that these tests are properly evaluated and also take place on a yearly basis. The best option to make sure that the valves do the job when there is a fire is to install automatic valves that can distinguish the differences in heat and enact procedures accordingly. Automatic valves extinguish the fire outburst immediately and save your house from further damage.
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The efficiency of your house’s fire sprinkler system has a lot to do with its performance in a fire accident. Even though you can do routine checkups as part of your building’s sprinkler system maintenance, it is crucial to do proper quality and working tests by professionals. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), quarterly inspections are compulsory if you own a fire sprinkler system in your household. The sprinkler systems are useless if they are not taken good care of. Keep in mind that the person who is doing the inspection must be a certified professional and isn’t just your building owner or the person from whom you got the system. If the inspection hasn’t been done properly, it could have serious consequences. So it isn’t something you should take lightly. The main components that should be rechecked properly are the gauges, valves, and sprinkler heads.
Let’s see why it is important to do frequent inspections on your sprinkler system. When there is a fire accident in your household, you are not only trying to save the building from burning, but you are also trying to save the inhabitants in the house. So basically, having an efficient fire sprinkler system installed in your house is a lifesaver if it works in good condition. Also, if you are constantly in check with how the system is working, you can keep it active in the long run, saving you a lot of money on replacement or repair and also providing extra security alarm for your house and your loved ones. A “set it and forget it” ideology would not be a wise choice if you think in a futuristic way. In hindsight, regular inspections will also save you from the unnecessary hassles of paying a fine for being ignorant of the NFPA rules and regulations. At the end of the day, you can be at peace with yourself knowing that your property is well protected and you have done everything in your capacity to prevent any kind of damage to your home and your loved ones living there.
It is common for people to forget that their lawn has a fire sprinkler system and simply paint or renovate over it. This could backfire in many different ways. If you are painting over the fire sprinkler system, that could affect the way and speed of how it sprays out water. Painting over the sprinkler heads can change the accurate density of the structure, and it will mess up the whole process and slow down the efficiency of the sprinkler system. The painting will lead to a suppressed water flow, and you might not get the output force you are expecting. In the worst-case scenario, tampering with the structure of the fire sprinkler can lead to compromising the heat detection range of your sprinkler and ending up not getting activated at all. So in a building’s fire sprinkler system maintenance, always remember to leave the fire sprinkler out of any kind of renovations or painting to keep its default characteristics intact. Always clean the sprinkler heads from dust and soil grains for a smooth working process.
When you look from afar, the sprinkler heads and gauges might seem normal and proper to you. But if you do a proper inspection, you might find blockages that prevent the sprinkler from working properly. So, whenever possible, take some time out of your schedule to check for any blockages or interference. It’s better to find out early rather than to find it out in an emergency situation. For better sprinkler system maintenance, a common mistake you should avoid is blocking the way of your sprinkler. It is very common for people to keep heavy things near and around the sprinkler, forgetting the whole purpose of the system. Try to avoid keeping heavy furniture or drums near the fire sprinkler to ensure a safe and optimal flow of water. To be more prepared about the blockages and interference, the professional you hire to do a regular inspection might be of help. He can advise you on what you should and should not do. They will stick to NFPA rules and regulations so that you won’t have any hiccups regarding your fire protection system in the future. A fire safety system at your home or the place for commercial purposes is inevitable. So take mindful precautions to keep it intact.
For smooth working of anything automatic or mechanical, all of the components included in it should be in fine condition. And when it comes to your building’s fire sprinkler system maintenance, then the sprinkler heads of the whole system should be working smoothly without any kind of hiccup. Therefore, it is always necessary to check whether it is in working condition or not. A single jerk in one of the sprinkler heads can lead to a major tragedy and a fire sprinkler system failure. An easy way to keep this from happening is to install sprinkler head guards so that they are protected from any kind of malfunction.
It is very likely that a sprinkler head will be damaged or mishandled by people in your house or by yourself while doing household tasks. As soon as you find out there has been a displacement of sprinkler heads, immediately replace them with a new one. But make sure that the new one matches the characteristics of the broken one so that it won’t act as a foreign component and blend in with the whole fire sprinkler system structure with ease. This means it should have the same temperature sensing capacity as the previous one, or it could lead to a mass failure of the system, and in emergency situations, this could affect you in a disastrous way.
Maintenance of sprinkler heads also includes any kind of tampering, especially painting. While something is being painted in the vicinity of the fire sprinkler system, make sure that the heads are covered properly and that it is not in threat of getting tampered with. In case the sprinkler gets painted and undergoes structural tampering, then the damage is done, and you are compelled to replace it with a new one. Most of the sprinklers have concealed covers to protect the heads. In this case, remove the covers carefully and cover the heads with a bag. After the whole painting process is done, it is safe to remove the bags from it and do not forget to assemble the concealed covers back on the sprinkler heads.
This is the trickiest part of your building’s fire sprinkler system maintenance. Weather is something that is not under our control and is a constantly changing variable. The condition you should be careful about is the extreme cold weather and the chances of your fire sprinkler system freezing and completely failing. But don’t worry about how to prevent this because there are a few precautions you can take to protect the pipes and the valves from freezing out in the winter climate. Most of the commercial fire sprinkler systems people use are equipped with dry and preaction systems to prevent freezing. The pipes are filled with pressurized gas elements in the dry systems instead of water to keep them from freezing out. The water rushes in only when the system is deployed and when they sense an unusual temperature difference.
Also, if the winterization techniques you devised to protect your fire sprinkler system from climate change are insufficient, then the next option you can choose is antifreeze. The antifreeze solutions in the market are a mixture of water and glycerin or propylene glycerol in the correct ratios. If the percentages were slightly mismatched compared to the water, it could reverse the process and act as fuel. So double-check the proportions of the components before you proceed. Always consider cross-checking the antifreeze solution you have with a professional to ensure the outcome. Making an antifreeze solution is not ideal as the ratio imbalance can cause too much damage. Before considering the antifreeze option, make sure you have done every other winterization technique to protect the system from the winter climate.