The Importance of Correcting Deficiencies in your Fire Sprinkler System

Posted on: July 13, 2017

Don’t make the mistake of failing to maintain your best line of fire defense

While installing fire sprinklers in your commercial or residential building is a pivotal step to protect your property and people, regular fire sprinkler system maintenance is also incredibly important to guarantee that your system is always working properly.

To be sure your system is properly maintained, we’ve put together a guide offering insight into how and why you should correct any deficiencies in your fire sprinklers as soon as possible.

Fire Sprinklers must be inspected on a regular basis

The Florida Fire Sprinkler Association (FFSA), an association of fire protection contractors, fire marshals, and other interested parties, notes that all fire sprinklers in Florida must be inspected in accordance with the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) by a fire-protection contractor who is licensed by state statutes. These regular inspections ensure that sprinkler systems are working properly in the event of a fire.

During inspection, any impairments or problems must be fixed immediately

Should any issues be found that render a sprinkler system out of compliance with applicable FFSA and FAC standards, a completed RED Noncompliance tag is required to be attached to the main control valve indicating that corrective action must be taken. Any problems should be addressed immediately to avoid fines and other potential liabilities.

Defective sprinkler systems can cause additional damage

If a sprinkler system is broken, it can cause water damage (not to mention any additional fire damage if the system happens to malfunction during an actual fire). For example, a corroded pipe could blow out at any time and completely flood a particular area of a building. Regular inspections and preventative maintenance can avoid any unforeseen catastrophes.

There are penalties for improperly-maintaining sprinkler systems

The consequences of poorly-maintained fire sprinkler systems can include a finding of fault from the fire department, legal liability, and increased insurance rates or unpaid claims due to lack of system maintenance.

Common deficiencies seen in sprinkler systems

There are a number of problems that can arise in poorly-maintained systems, and some are especially prevalent in South Florida’s coastal, subtropical climate. Some common issues:

  • Painted sprinkler heads: Sprinkler heads can become damaged when careless contractors paint over the heads themselves. If paint has come into contact with sprinkler heads, they either won’t work as designed, or won’t work at all.
  • Climate damage: Depending on where the building is located, a corrosive atmosphere can make it harder to maintain a fire sprinkler system and cause it to break down. This is especially relevant in South Florida, where salty, humid air and heat can punish mechanical systems.

Issues with alarm triggers: Fire alarm devices are sometimes triggered by sprinkler systems. In these cases, the sprinkler uses a mechanical process to send a signal to the alarm after the sprinkler head itself activates: When water begins to move, it trips a plastic paddle mounted in the piping that pushes up and completes an electrical circuit to the fire alarm panel. If any component in this mechanical process is broken, malfunctioning, or blocked, the alarm itself may not work, though many systems have other means of sounding an alarm, including manual pull stations, heat detectors, and smoke detectors.

Interested in learning more about proper fire sprinkler system maintenance?

At LifeSafety Management, we offer full-service fire sprinkler installation, design, testing, inspection, and repair services. We’ll ensure that your system meets all necessary FFSA and FAC requirements, and we are prepared to correct any deficiencies. If you’re unsure whether your sprinkler system has been properly maintained, reach out to our team today by phone at (800) 330-1158 or through our online contact form.