5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Wet Fire Sprinkler System Freezing Damage During Winter
Fire sprinkler systems can be a vital part of any fire security system. Unfortunately, they can be damaged or be rendered useless under freezing conditions. This is obviously a major problem since it will inhibit the ability of your fire security system to protect the property and its occupants in the event of a conflagration. Additionally, pipes that fracture due to freezing temperatures can cause substantial property damage.
Fire sprinkler systems are sometimes 'dry', which means that compressed air is used to keep water out of the system. However, most are 'wet', meaning that the pipes are always filled with water, and it is these systems that are most at risk of freezing.
Here are five things you can do to prevent problems from occurring.
1. Have the System Inspected Before Winter
You should be having your fire sprinkler system inspected annually to make sure that it is running in good condition. Since damage is more likely to occur when temperatures drop, it's a good idea to have the system looked at right before winter.
2. Have You Heating System Serviced
The fire protection sprinkler system needs to be kept warm during colder conditions, and that responsibility is mostly going to fall to the heating system. Any heating problems are going to be problematic during the colder months, so make sure you get your heating system checked and serviced too.
3. Check or Add Insulation
Pipes need to be properly insulated in order to avoid freezing. In areas where your property is colder, such as in crawl spaces or outer areas, make sure your pipes are properly insulation. Be sure that there are no gaps, even at corners. The whole pipe should be covered.
4. Keep Your Heating Running
One of the most common reasons behind the freezing in wet fire sprinkler protection systems is the shutting off of heating in parts of a building that were previously heated. Even if the building is going to be unoccupied, you need to ensure that it stays heated. There might not be any people there to complain about the cold, but your sprinkler system could be compromised without making a sound.
5. Check for Signs of Swelling
Finally, make sure you check the piping for signs of swelling. At this point, freezing temperatures will have already done their job; pipes swell because the water inside expands as it turns into ice. Many people only know their sprinkler system has been damaged when that ice starts to thaw and water starts to drip out from the fractured pipes. If you notice swelling early, you can at least prevent further damage.