Keep an eye on your fire system: it might save your life
It is not enough to install a fire sprinkler systems to protect your home or business. Fire hazards are a permanent danger, and the fire protection equipment you have in place (fire extinguishers, fire pumps, fire alarm, sprinklers heads, etc.) just be the object of your full attention on a regular basis.
Getting them installed is great, but useless if you don’t make sure that they will save your building from destruction in case of fire.
Fire sprinkler: the most reliable system
Today, automatic fire sprinkler systems can be found in most industrial, commercial and residential buildings, as they have proved their efficiency. In good working order, it is the most effective way to protect yourself against a devastating fire.
A professional service will not only sell and install your system, plan and design the best fire suppression solution and calculate your hydraulic needs. Such a service provider will also provide you, upon request (this is not an automatic offer; remember to ask for it), with a maintenance contract for regular inspection and testing, repairs and replacement of your equipment.
Your home or business configuration can change (e.g. renovations, extensions), and the system will need modifications to make sure that what was effective yesterday will still be tomorrow. All systems experience wear: some parts could degrade and need repairs or replacements. Water pipes can get clogged by dirt or frost, especially in Canada where the temperatures often go below freezing point. Simple things like dust or paint could block your sprinkler heads. Your insurer could extend their mandatory requirements for the protection of your building or house. You must make sure to meet their norms if you want to cover your property. Frost, time and dust are the main threats to your fire sprinkler system.
Inspection and testing: better safe than sorry.
It is important to inspect your sprinkler system every year. Experience shows that specific attention should be given to valves in open or unheated rooms, as well as sprinklers and water pipes. Some efficient options have been tested and proved great against frost, such as antifreeze solutions.
The reliability of your system really only depends on good maintenance and testing. Better safe than sorry. Some of the basic maintenance can be done by you (e.g. visual inspection, dusting); just make sure that there are no obstructions whatsoever. However, annual testing and inspection is always safest when done by a licensed technician.
During this inspection, all components of the system will be checked thoroughly: gauges, alarm devices, pre-action or deluge valves, heads, fittings, pipes, hangars, control valves, antifreeze solution, backflow prevention components, etc. A professional will also keep track of the inspections and remind you to perform this test annually. They will also perform repairs and monitor the pieces that will need to be replaced during the next inspection.
Schedule your maintenance
In order to help organize the maintenance of your sprinkler system, here is a calendar of actions to schedule:
|WEEKLY||· Gauges on dry, pre-action, and deluge systems||· Visual Inspection|
|· All valves|
|MONTHLY||· Gauges on wet or dry pipe sprinkler systems||· Visual Inspection|
|· Water pressure|
|· Alarm valves|
|QUATERLY||· Hydraulic nameplate, if provided||· Inspection|
|· Secured attachment to sprinkler riser|
|· Caps or plugs|
|· Fire department connections|
|· Alarm devices including, but not limited to, mechanical water motor gongs, vane-type waterflow devices, and pressure switches that provide audible or visual signals||· Testing|
|· A main drain test at each water-based fire protection system riser||· Testing|
|· All waterflow alarms||· Testing|
|ANNUALLY||· Sprinkler pipe hangers and seismic braces||· Inspection from floor level|
|· Sprinkler pipe and fittings
|· Supply of spare sprinklers||· Inspection|
|· Antifreeze solutions||· Testing with hydrometer|
|· The interior of deluge valve and the condition of detection devices||· Inspection + Testing|
|· The operating stems of outside screw and yoke valves||· Lubrication|
|· The interior of the pre–action or deluge valve||· Cleaning + Repairs if necessary|
|· The interior of the dry pipe valve|
|EVERY 5 YEARS||· Gauges||· Recalibration or Replacement|
|EQUIPMENTS > 20 yrs. old||· Sprinklers||· Replacement|