How Often Should I Have My Fire Sprinkler System Inspected?
Fire sprinkler systems provide substantial protection when installed in a commercial building, decreasing the risk of civilian fire deaths by 89% compared to buildings with no automatic extinguishing system.
The National Fire Protection Association cites four areas of concern regarding maintaining the proper level of protection for commercial water-based extinguishing systems:
- Adhering to a regular inspection schedule
- Carrying out special investigations or tests to assess device and equipment performance
- Exercising due diligence in device and equipment repair
- Assuring all maintenance personnel are adequately trained and can correctly execute equipment inspection, testing, and maintenance procedures
New advancements in fire protection systems ensure your equipment remains operational and ready for use.
NFPA 25 Standards for the Inspection of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 25 is the baseline for inspecting, testing, and maintaining water-based fire protection systems. Compliance with these standards helps you avoid system failure and ensures a fast, effective response in a fire emergency.
When a fire protection professional conducts mandated NFPA visual inspections, they look for:
- General wear and tear of the system
- Corrosion detrimental to sprinkler performance
- Sprinklers installed in the incorrect orientation
- Loss of fluid in the glass bulb heat-responsive element
- Minimum clearance between the sprinkler heads and storage
The NFPA sets out the criteria and frequency for conducting routine activities to ensure automatic sprinkler systems operate reliably:
The monthly fire sprinkler inspections per NFPA 25 involve inspecting and testing:
- Dry and reaction gauges
- Water flow and supervisory alarm devices
- Fire department connections
- The hydraulic nameplate, if the system is hydraulic
Wet and deluge system gauges need quarterly testing. Quarterly inspections are also necessary for:
- Supervisory signal devices that indicate when a feature — such as the valve supervisory switch, water level indicator, or low air pressure switch — is experiencing a problem.
- Waterflow alarm devices that are designed to send an alarm to a monitored panel or the fire department when a continuous flow of water occurs in your fire sprinkler system’s piping.
Annual inspections include everything in the monthly and quarterly inspections as well as:
- Inspecting all sprinkler heads
- Ensuring there are extra sprinkler heads and required installation tools on-site
- Inspecting dry pipe valve interiors
- Conducting a main drain water flow test
- Inspecting pipes and fittings
- Checking hangers, braces, supports, and information signs
The NFPA’s five-year sprinkler inspection requirement examines the inside of your fire sprinkler system’s piping. Though requirements do not differ by state, every jurisdiction is a little different.
The five-year sprinkler inspection is critical because water inside steel pipes creates rust, which often builds up and causes blockages. In galvanized pipes, rust and pitting are common, and microbiologically influenced corrosion can cause pinhole leaks and blockages.
Adhering to a minimum five-year sprinkler inspection improves your property’s safety and the sprinkler system’s functionality.
Turn to Foothill Fire Protection for Fire Sprinkler Inspection & Testing in Northern California
Not completing NFPA 25 mandated inspections and testing can lead to blocked sprinkler heads and more, resulting in disaster during a fire. When you regularly schedule professional inspections of your property’s fire protection systems, it ensures:
- Better fire safety
- Fewer false alarms
- Ease of maintenance and system longevity
Lastly, one of the most compelling reasons to have your fire sprinkler system inspected regularly is that fire codes and regulations can and do change. Hiring a professional fire sprinkler inspector ensures your system is up to date and compliant.
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