Why and How to Check your Fire Sprinkler

Fire sprinklers are designed as a fire suppression system, increasing your chances of survival and working to try and control the size of the fire. To ensure that your fire sprinkler will operate as intended in the event of a fire it is important to maintain and service them. In fact, under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 England and Wales or The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, failure to maintain safety equipment that does not activate could result in criminal proceedings.

The level and type of maintenance needed may vary depending on the type of system installed and there are many professional companies out there who offer full and regular sprinkler services. Depending on the use of the property, for Landlords and for insurance purposes getting a regular service done (no less than once every 12 months) by a qualified and competent person may be a requirement.

Basic Sprinkler Tips

Dust and Grime

Just like anywhere else in the house/office dust and dirt particles build over time which if not cleaned correctly can cause your sprinkler system to be ineffective in the case of a fire. Sprinklers located in areas where grease accumulates such as kitchens are also particularly vulnerable to a coating of dirt and grime that can affect the flow of water. Dirty sprinkler heads may not only effect the flow of water but also the reaction rate of the internal thermal elements. To clean the sprinkler head you could use a canned air sprayer, damp cloth, vacuum cleaner and/or a suitable non-corrosive degreasing solution. However, you do not want to set your sprinkler off accidentally so it is best to be overly cautious and if you are unsure call an expert.

 

Paint

As with dust, if a fire sprinkler is painted over for whatever reason the water flow can be blocked potentially rendering your sprinkler system ineffective. The simple advise is DON’T DO IT! If you are that worried about what a potentially life saving piece of equipment looks like you can now get some rather  discreet fire sprinklers.

 

Obstructions

Avoid placing any tall furniture directly underneath or around the sprinkler that could stop the water from spreading across the room correctly.

 

Control Valves

All control valves need to be open, accessible, free from leaks and properly locked with any water and air pressure gauges being in good condition and showing normal ranges. The control valves control the water to automatic fire sprinklers so if they are not open water will be unable to flow to the sprinklers

 

Temperature

Many sprinkler systems use water pipes which in cold weather are at risk of freezing. If this does happen the sprinkler may be useless when needed. It could also lead to a burst pipe which would could potentially cause damage to the property. Pipes that could be exposed to cold weather such as in garages etc should be properly insulated in order to prevent this from occurring and any systems with antifreeze in them should have a properly mixed solution.

 

Corrosion

Sprinklers have metal components which due to the use of water within the system can corrode over time if not maintained and checked