Why leaks occur
Fire sprinkler systems are prone to corrosion, damage, equipment failure, and freezing temperatures.
Corrosion causes rust spots, creating holes in piping and/or sprinkler heads. It can occur in both wet and dry pipe sprinkler systems. One cause of corrosion is due to sprinkler systems’ exposure to oxygen. Another is Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion, or MIC. MIC is an aggressive, accelerated type of corrosion caused by bacteria.
Sprinkler systems can also become damaged accidentally by forklifts, ladders, equipment, etc., as well as intentionally as an act of vandalism.
Equipment failure in sprinkler systems can occur by manufacturing or human installation errors. Routine wear and tear can cause sprinkler systems to leak if not regularly maintained. Another common malfunction that causes fire sprinkler systems to leak involves o-ring seals and contaminants in the water, causing them to corrode and leak. Overtightening sprinkler heads or fittings can cause leaks.
Pipes freezing is another common cause of leaking in wet pipe fire sprinkler systems, and it is less common in dry pipe and preaction sprinkler systems, as they do not hold a constant water supply.