In late July 2019 a popular hotel in Downtown Atlanta experienced an issue with their dry pipe fire sprinkler system that protects their main loading dock.
While on a service call to the hotel, Fire Systems techs found that the valves clapper and assembly were most likely defective. The clapper is the interface between the air and the water within a dry pipe valve. The clapper’s purpose is to remain closed when air pressure is sufficient in the system and open when the air pressure is released from an open sprinkler head.
“If this part fails then the system will “go wet”, which means it will allow water to enter and pressurize the piping network. This will cause an alarm in the fire alarm control panel that will set off the horns and strobes,” explains Gary D., Sprinkler Service and Inspections Manager for Fire Systems.
The techs conducting the inspection of the fire sprinkler system knew that a new part was necessary to make the repair of the dry pipe fire sprinkler system. They attempted to only purchase the replacement parts needed to get this valve in proper working order. However, the techs found that the current dry valve was obsolete, and parts are no longer made for it. The valve was no longer being made by the manufacturer.
Fire Systems notified the hotel of this issue and discussed their options, namely the need to update their system. The hotel agreed to update their existing dry valve with a newer style of dry valve called a Viking Dry Valve Model F-1. This valve has been around for a while and is extremely reliable and service friendly.Fire Systems, Inc. was awarded the job for this valve replacement and executed the job on July 23, 2019, by Tim L., sprinkler fitter, and Hunter E., helper.
If the Fire Systems techs had not caught this valve issue during the service visit/inspection, there could have been damages due to the dry valve tripping and water sitting in a piping network that is normally filled with air. When this happens, pinholes that might not be visible when the piping is filled with air would then make their presence known by leaking or spraying water. This issue occurs by wear and tear. There is a clapper gasket that will hold the water pressure under the valve until the air is depleted through an open sprinkler head. The gasket will allow the water to trip the clapper and flood the piping network with water to suppress the fire via the open sprinkler head. Over time, constant tripping and resetting of this valve will cause a wear or deep groove in the rubber gasket of the clapper. The valve will then eventually get to the point to where it will not set back up.
Fire Systems, Inc. is an all-services fire protection company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Fire Systems can inspect, install, and repair your dry pip fire sprinkler system in addition to any type of fire sprinkler. Fire Systems can also service your fire alarm, fire suppression systems, vehicle suppression systems, kitchen hoods, and more. Call Fire Systems today at 770-333-7979 or visit their website for more information.