Over the Christmas holiday weekend, Georgia declared a state of emergency as temperatures remained below freezing for several days. Extended drops in temperature can cause the water present in a sprinkler system’s pipes to freeze. When water freezes, it expands and can cause pipes to burst.
With piping making up a large portion of your facility’s sprinkler system, it’s imperative to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to winterize your sprinkler system before temperatures drop below freezing again.
Wet Sprinkler Systems
As the name implies, wet sprinkler systems have a constant supply of water in their pipes, making them susceptible to damage from frozen pipes. Prepare your wet pipe system for freezing temperatures by:
- Inspecting the exterior of your building and closing any unnecessary openings.
- Maintaining a minimum building heat of 40°F.
- Ensure the coldest areas of your facility (entrances, exits, eaves, over shipping doors, etc.) stay above 40°F.
- Considering utilizing low-temperature alarms to alert you if any area of your building drops below 40°F.
- Identifying any vulnerable areas in your facility through which pipes travel and ensuring a clear pathway should maintenance be needed at any point.
Dry Sprinkler Systems
While dry-pipe sprinkler systems do not have a constant water supply in the pipes, it’s equally as important to prepare your dry sprinkler system for winter weather.
- Maintain a minimum temperature of 40°F in dry pipe valve rooms, fire pump rooms, and any area with wet sprinkler systems.
- Heaters should be controlled by a thermostat.
- The use of portable heaters is discouraged.
- Drain all low-point drains weekly.
- Low-point drains collect condensation from dry pipe systems. If excess water isn’t removed, it can lead to frozen and cracked pipes.
- Repair all leaks to keep your sprinkler system from tripping if compression power is lost.
- Air supplied to the compressor should come from a dry, room-temperature source.
- If this is not possible, consider using an air dryer or nitrogen.
Fire Systems, Inc.
Regular inspections and maintenance are the easiest way to keep your sprinkler system functioning at its best. Fire Systems, Inc.’s highly trained technicians can inspect, maintain, and repair any aspect of your fire protection system.
Have concerns about the winter readiness of your facility’s sprinkler system(s)? We can help! Visit our website or give us a call today 770-333-7979.