Installing a fire sprinkler system in your commercial or industrial building isn't merely a legal requirement, but a tremendous boost to the fire safety of your employees and your business assets. These systems are expected to pump out large amounts of water at a moments notice, so it is perhaps no surprise that they can occasionally spring leaks. However, even a small sprinkler system leak can cause severe damage to your building, particularly if the leak is located inside a wall or ceiling that could easily become damp and mouldy.
As such, keeping your fire sprinklers in good condition is key to the ongoing safety of a building, and you should take all necessary precautions to prevent your sprinkler system from springing leaks. These leaks are generally caused by one or more of the following causes, most of which can be prevented relatively easily:
Most commercially-installed sprinkler systems feature piping and components made primarily from steel, and even expensive stainless steel and aluminium models generally feature components made from ferrous metals. As such, rust and corrosion are a constant concern, and your sprinkler system should be inspected on a regular basis for signs of corrosion build-up. Professional fire protection maintenance services can greatly speed this inspection process, using special equipment and miniaturised cameras to check your sprinklers for rust both inside and out.
Many sprinkler systems, particularly older models, used rubber O-rings to seal joints between pipes and nozzles. These rings are generally durable, but can perish and crumble if allowed to grow too old, causing leaking around the bases of nozzles and at the joints that connect pipes together. Consequently, these O-rings should be inspected for rot and damage on a regular basis, and replaced as soon as they start to show signs of wear.
Fire sprinkler systems are built tough, and are capable o withstanding the intense heat and stresses of a catastrophic building fire. However, they are less tough when it comes to taking a physical beating, and both the nozzles and piping of your sprinkler system can become non-functional if they take too much physical damage.
Generally speaking, the main cause of sprinkler system damage is accidental damage sustained during renovation work. Replacing or repairing internal walls and ceilings can be particularly hard on sprinklers, especially if extensive plastering is undertaken (plaster creates a significant amount of heat as it dries, which can often damage and distort sprinkler pipes). However damage can also be intentional, as an act of vandalism or during an attempt to steal valuable scrap metals from your sprinkler system.
Frozen sprinkler pipes are far from a commonly-encountered problem, since the passive heating systems of most commercial buildings keep the systems water supply from freezing. However, extended winter power cuts or heavy snowstorms can cause severe damage to our sprinklers, as water freezes within the sprinkler pipes and ruptures them from the inside out as it expands. This type of damage, while thankfully rare, can cause extensive leaking and requires immediate attention from professional repair services.