Fire Sprinklers: How to diagnose and remedy a sprinkler flood

December 28, 2020

What To Do If Your Fire Sprinklers Accidentally Go Off

While sprinklers can save your building in Springdale, AR from fire damage, they can also cause flooding if they go off accidentally. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Overheating - Most sprinkler systems are set off by certain levels of heat, so temporary heat sources could set off the system.
  • Physical Damage - If your sprinklers are hit hard enough or enough times, they could turn on unexpectedly.
  • Corrosion - When your sprinkler system gets too old, its parts corrode, weakening them and opening up the possibility of having them accidentally go off.
  • Frozen Pipes - If your building gets unusually cold, uninsulated pipes that make up your sprinkler system could freeze and crack, which can cause flooding behind walls and in the ceiling.
While you can reduce your risk of your fire sprinklers going off when they shouldn't, accidents still happen. If you do encounter this, here are the steps you should follow:

1. Shut Off the Water

To prevent further water damage, shut off the water supply as quickly as possible. If you can't for some reason, put a trash can under the sprinkler and cover or remove furniture and other items if they aren't already soaked.

2. Save the Sprinkler Pieces

Because fire sprinklers are sometimes set off on purpose as a way to sabotage a building or get insurance money, it's a good idea to save the pieces of the sprinkler. This way insurance inspectors can tell what turned the sprinklers on, protecting you from unnecessary roadblocks in your claim.

3. Call the Experts

Once you get the water shut off, it's time to call your insurance provider and a water damage remediation company. Both of these will be able to give you more detailed next steps as you begin to clean up your building and items from the flooding.

While you should try to prevent your fire sprinklers from accidentally going off, you should be prepared in case it does happen by knowing where the emergency water shutoff switches are, training your team to save the sprinkler pieces and knowing ahead of time which experts you're going to call.

A fire sprinkler system is an important part of building safety. Like any mechanical system, though, it must be properly maintained. Here are a few regular inspections to make part of a sprinkler maintenance routine.

Weekly Checks

Check gauges for a normal level of air and water pressure on deluge, pre-action and dry systems. Also, check control valves for the following:

In the open position Properly sealed Locked Free from any leaks

Control valves should be labeled according to what part of the sprinkler they control.

Monthly Checks

Each month, check the alarm valves. Also, check gauges for any signs of physical damage and read them for indication of proper water pressure.

Quarterly Checks

Check to see that the hydraulic nameplate is legible and properly secured to the sprinkler riser. Make sure the alarm devices are free of visible damage.

Yearly Inspections

A licensed technician should inspect your fire sprinklers each year to keep them up to code. The technician can inspect the entire system, perform yearly maintenance on components and check for any needed repairs.

Accidental Activation

Despite the most regular sprinkler maintenance, systems can accidentally discharge. Discharges happen for various reasons. A heat source, such as a space heater, skylight, construction lighting or cooking equipment, could trigger a system discharge. Mechanical damage can also cause activation.

Examples include a blow or bump to the pipes or a valve that's been tightened too much. Vandalism is another cause of accidental sprinkler discharge.

If your system activates by mistake, your building can sustain water damage in a short amount of time. Commercial sprinklers release more than 20 gallons of water per minute. Shut off the water supply immediately. If your building has water damage to floors, carpeting, walls or inventory, a commercial restoration specialist can assist you with cleanup and mitigation.

It's important to protect your property in Springdale, AR from fire. Regular sprinkler maintenance will keep your system in the best shape possible.

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