In addition to annual inspections, The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires routine fire sprinkler systems maintenance. Any time any component of your facility’s fire sprinkler system is altered, repaired, reconditioned, or replaced, it should be tested according to the requirements listed in NFPA 25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.

A few aspects of this required fire sprinkler system maintenance include sample testing, internal pipe investigation, ice detection, and other frequently performed maintenance that you may not be aware of.

Sample Testing

When sample testing is performed, a representative sample of sprinkler heads is removed from the facility and sent off for evaluation by a certified UL testing lab. This testing occurs on standard sprinkler heads that are over 50 years old. After the initial testing at 50 years, it must then be repeated at 10 year intervals until 75 years. After 75 years, the sprinkler heads must be tested every five years. Sprinklers manufactured before 1920 have to be completely replaced. If your buildings’ sprinkler system is fairly new, you’ll likely be omitted from this type of testing.

Internal Pipe Investigation

The goal of an internal pipe investigation is to make sure the pipes supplying the water to your facility’s sprinkler heads contain no obstructions and no potential for obstructions. Per NFPA requirements, this investigation should take place every five years. The goal of this test is to check the pipes for foreign materials. If enough foreign matter is found to potentially clog the piping system or sprinkler nozzles, an obstruction investigation must be performed. The entire system should be flushed if obstructions are found during the investigation. Since you can’t see the inside of your buildings’ piping system, this is a critical test.

Frequently Performed Maintenance

On top of these larger scale fire sprinkler systems maintenance requirements, there are smaller yet equally important tasks to perform weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

  • Weekly: Inspect control valves, inspect dry/deluge system gauges
  • Monthly: Inspect gauges of wet pipe systems, inspect alarm valves
  • Quarterly: Inspect alarm devices, inspect hydraulic nameplate, conduct main drain test, conduct waterflow alarm test
  • Annually: Inspect pipe hangers and braces, inspect sprinkler pipe and fittings, inspect sprinkler heads, check inventory of spare sprinkler heads, lubricate control valves, clean the interior of deluge and dry pipe valves, inspect backflow preventers

Ice Detection

Once a year before external temperatures approach freezing, your system’s antifreeze solution should be tested. Anywhere that the sprinkler lines cross from non-refrigerated spaces into refrigerated areas should be inspected for ice obstructions annually, too.

Fire Systems, Inc.

All of the guidelines set in NFPA 25 are minimum recommendations for fire sprinkler system testing. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fire sprinkler systems maintenance for your business, consider Fire Systems, Inc. 

Fire Systems, Inc. is the Atlanta area’s go-to for full-service fire protection. From design to installation, routine maintenance, and beyond, our highly trained technicians can walk you through every step of the process. Visit our website or give us a call at 770-333-7979.