Spotlight on Sprinkler System Freeze Protection

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), a Dallas-based international trade association representing the fire sprinkler industry, empathizes with the people affected and the hardships presented by this unprecedented winter storm and freeze.

The majority of fire sprinkler systems are installed with water-filled pipes, which must be protected from freezing and are typically located in conditioned spaces. When fire sprinkler systems must be installed in unconditioned spaces, systems are designed to withstand freezing temperatures through the use of special valves that allow the system to be filled with air in lieu of water. When a fire occurs, the valve is automatically opened, and the piping system fills with water. Insulation, heat-tracing systems, or other methods can also be employed to prevent freezing of the piping system. In all cases, these systems are only effective when properly maintained in full accordance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.

Most freeze-protection methods rely on the building’s heating system to maintain tenable temperatures for sprinkler pipes. The protection of the building’s fire protection systems is the responsibility of the building owner. In these unprecedented times with unreliable power due to rolling blackouts and extended periods of freezing temperatures, it is important for building owners to take measures to ensure the protection of all water-based utilities.

As with all building systems, it is important that they are worked on by qualified contractors in that specific trade. As affected systems begin to thaw, it is important to contact a qualified local fire protection contractor as soon as possible to schedule any inspections or repairs. AFSA and its members are ready to assist building owners to ensure their fire sprinkler systems can perform as designed and assist with any necessary repairs. Click here to find a contractor in your area


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