While a fire protection system should always be kept in the best condition, the winter months are an especially important time to make sure that the system is in its best possible condition. Cold weather can cause fire protection systems to freeze up, burst, and cease to function as they should. It’s important for you to ensure that everything is functioning as expected before the cold weather arrives and that it continues to function properly throughout the winter months.
Inspection and Testing
Before the weather gets too cold, a building’s fire protection system should be inspected and tested to make sure it is functioning properly. If it’s not, proper maintenance needs to be performed to ensure that the system will function in the event it is truly needed.
Dry Sprinkler Systems
When a dry sprinkler system is inspected and tested, all low points in the system need to be drained prior to freezing temperatures to guarantee that all water is out of the system. Special attention should be given to riser or pump rooms, as they are often located on the exterior of a building. These rooms can have their own heat source and need to be checked to make sure temperatures exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wet Sprinkler Systems
Areas protected by wet sprinkler systems should never fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to regularly check the temperature of the system so that it does not fall below this point.
Some wet fire protection systems have an antifreeze solution added to them to prevent freezing. Create reminders for yourself to periodically check the antifreeze levels in the system, as it will dilute over time and lose effectiveness. Pay attention to the strict guidelines requiring specific levels of solution in antifreeze systems.
Winterizing Your System Regardless of Location
Cold weather in the winter months can cause a variety of problems with fire protection systems. Even if a building is located in an area with mild winters, the fire protection system should still be winterized. Why? Buildings located in areas with milder winters can actually be more vulnerable to freezing because the precautionary measures are less commonly followed. One cold front can cause problems with an otherwise perfectly functioning system.
Visual Inspections Throughout Winter
Preparing a fire protection system for the winter is essential, but it is even more important to keep up on maintenance throughout the winter. Visual inspections are one of the simplest ways to ensure that a system is working fine. Look for corrosion, leaks, or any other kinds of problems. If you don’t feel comfortable performing the inspections yourself, you should contact a professional.
If you need more information regarding winterizing your fire sprinkler systems, contact Ryan Fireprotection today.