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10 Steps to Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System



One of the best investments you can make in your commercial building is the installation of a fire sprinkler system. A properly designed sprinkler system can significantly reduce your exposure to loss of property and life from fires.

The same system can also reduce your property insurance costs. But installing the sprinkler system is just the beginning. Just like specialized machinery used in a manufacturing process, sprinkler systems need regular inspection, maintenance and testing to function at their full potential.

To ensure that your sprinkler system functions properly in the event of a fire, these basic maintenance and inspection requirements should be followed:

1
0 Steps to Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System

Test every 5 years

1. Conduct an internal pipe survey every five years. The purpose of this test is to inspect for the presence of foreign material that may impede the flow of water from through the pipes to the sprinklers. Follow the entire inspection process here.

2. Test or replace pressure gauge against a calibrated gauge. Those judged not to be accurate within the standard scale must be recalibrated or replaced. (Explore these scales and requirements here.)

Test every year

3. Conduct an annual flow test. This includes tests to ensure that water flow detectors are working and that a signal is correctly triggered when you let the water flow for 60 seconds. Follow the entire testing process here.

4. Visually inspect the piping on an annual basis to ensure that the system is in serviceable condition and free from physical damage.

5. Perform an annual visual inspection of the fire department connection to ensure that the caps have not been removed. If the caps have been removed, debris or insects may lodge in the connection, resulting in blockages in the system during operation of the sprinkler head.

6. Visually inspect sprinkler heads annually. Heads over 50 years old (especially those manufactured before 1920) should be replaced or a representative sample of heads sent to a recognized laboratory for testing. Should a head fail testing, all heads in the representative area should be replaced. Testing is then required every ten years.

Test every quarter

7. Test alarms every quarter. To do this, communicate with your local fire department or central station and alert them that you will be testing these systems. Then trigger alarm activation by running water through the inspector’s test valve and confirm whether the alarm sounds or not.

Test every week

8. Visually inspect the control valves weekly. This includes making sure that the valves are open and secured and that there are no visible leaks in the equipment.

9. Ensure that all storage is at least 18 inches below sprinkler heads to prevent interference with water spray from a sprinkler head during a fire.

Check as often as you wish

10. Refer to full and comprehensive list of test and maintenance requirements from NFPA 25 to ensure your system is up to date.

Remember

All testing should be performed by qualified personnel, preferably a licensed and insured sprinkler fire protection contractor. Always keep sprinkler designs and test papers on hand to provide easy access for contractors, insurance company loss control representatives and insurance companies such as Verish.

The central difference

Central Insurance was first founded as a fire insurance company in 1876 and as such has an ongoing vested interest in fire safety. Our loss control consultants are trained to assess the basic suitability of sprinkler systems and are happy to address any concerns as part of the general investigation process for Commercial property insurance policyholder.

Not already covered by Central? Find one independent central agent today to get a quote.


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