Prevent Sprinkler System Freezing this Winter

It is getting cold outside which means it is time to check your fire sprinkler pipes. When the temperatures drop below freezing outside, the water in your sprinkler pipes can freeze, preventing your sprinkler system from working properly. Although it may seem like a difficult task, checking your system can help you avoid sprinkler malfunction and save lives.

Cold Weather Checks for Your System

During cold weather, it’s especially important that you stay on top of your sprinkler system inspections. The cold weather can cause problems for your fire protection system that you may not know about until it’s too late. Regularly checking your systems can keep them working properly. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind during the winter season:

  • Perform fire protection system checks more frequently than normal during the colder months
  • Keep an eye on your water supply and fire pumps to make sure they are not freezing
  • Hire a qualified fire protection contractor to perform repairs on your system
  • Have your fire protection contractor show you how to shut the system off so you know how to in the event of a burst pipe
  • Do not use electric heaters, open flame devices, or other heating equipment to thaw a frozen sprinkler pipe

Two Types of Systems

There are two types of fire sprinkler systems that require different types of servicing during the winter. A wet-pipe fire sprinkler system contains water in the pipes at all times. In a dry-pipe system, the pipes do not have water inside. Instead, the pipes are filled with pressurized air until the system is activated and water enters the pipes. Depending on the type of system you have, you will need to perform different precautionary measures to prevent a system freeze.

Wet Pipe System

Since wet-pipe systems are filled with water, they are more at risk for freezing. Make sure that you keep your doors and windows closed during cold weather to prevent cold air from freezing your pipes. If your sprinkler pipes are exposed to outdoor temperatures, make sure they are insulated or heated. Pay attention to piping in stairways, attics, and basements where the temperatures may be lower. If your sprinkler system uses antifreeze, have a qualified fire protection contractor test to make sure you have proper antifreeze concentrations in your system.

Dry Pipe System

Although dry-pipe systems have a lower risk of freezing than wet-pipe systems, they still need to be inspected and tested on a regular basis. Cold weather can cause your dry-pipe system to malfunction. You should drain water from low points and drains to make sure there is no water in your sprinkler system. Make sure your dry pipe valve is heated and protected from freezing. Check that your system has enough air in case a drop in pressure occurs due to low temperatures. The pressure in your system should be checked on a daily basis during cold weather.

Reliance Inspects Sprinkler Systems

Reliance Fire Protection is a full-service fire protection contractor that serves the Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C. areas. We can help you prevent your sprinkler system from freezing this winter by performing inspections and testing. Reliance Fire Protection can test and inspect sprinkler systems and fire pumps according to NFPA standards. We also provide 24-hour emergency services in case the cold weather unexpectedly damages your system. If a pipe bursts or freezes, we can send a technician to your site as soon as possible to get it fixed. If you are interested in having your fire sprinkler system serviced by Reliance Fire Protection, give us a call at 443-989-3000.