With winter here, it’s best to make sure that your fire sprinkler system is prepared for the drop in temperature. Ice will burst through pipes and, once thawed, will cause costly leaks.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you and your fire sprinkler contactor can take this winter to prevent freezing and burst pipes.
1.) Keep the temperature controlled
NFPA 13 states that, in order to prevent freezing, wet pipe systems must be maintained at or above 40°F(4°C). If this cannot be accomplished, then a dry pipe system shall be installed. Knowing this, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature that is well above 40°F(4°C) to minimize the risk of freezing. Additionally, make sure all vents of your HVAC system are open so that warm air can be distributed throughout your property. It is also wise to check to see if any windows or exterior portions of your property are damaged, which may be letting cold air in.
2.) Use a heat tracing system
Heat tracing is usually used in commercial settings and involves electrical heating cables that are wrapped around or taped to the pipes.
In areas of a building where the temperature cannot be reliably kept above 40°F(4°C), usually entryways, stairwells, attics and skylights, a heat tracing system can be used.
3.) Use antifreeze
After many years of testing, an antifreeze solution has recently been listed for usage in fire sprinkler systems.
By having a fire sprinkler contractor add antifreeze to the water in your system, the freezing point is lowered, and the risk of burst pipes goes down.
Talk to your fire sprinkler contractor on preparing your system for winter of 2021
While it’s a good idea to conduct visual inspections of your fire sprinkler system, any damage you should see should be communicated to your fire sprinkler contractor immediately. Additionally, any preventative work you need done (e.g., heat tracing, adding antifreeze) should be done by a fire sprinkler contractor as well. Never tamper with your fire sprinkler system, as it may affect its performance in the event of an emergency. As always, your fire sprinkler contractor is your best resource to ensure that your system is protected.