Fire is a major hazard for places of business and homes. For that reason fire sprinkler systems need to be monitored regularly to ensure that they are working properly and that no problems occur during their operation.
Monitoring Your Fire Sprinkler System
Some of the ways you can monitor your fire sprinkler system include:
1. Inspecting the Area Around the Building for Holes
It is important to inspect the area around the building to ensure no holes or gaps could allow water to escape from the sprinkler system. These holes could be caused by damage to the building or drilling that has taken place in the area. Holes and gaps can significantly reduce the efficiency of the fire sprinkler system and can cause it to fail in the event of a fire.
2. Check the Water Pressure
Fire sprinkler systems rely on a specific water pressure to function correctly. It is important to monitor this pressure regularly to ensure it is within the correct range. Water pressure that is too high can also cause damage to the pipes and fittings within the system.
3. Test the Sprinkler Heads
The testing should include checking for clogs or obstructions, ensuring that the heads are properly aimed, and confirming that they are not damaged or leaking.
4. Inspect the Alarms
The alarms on a fire sprinkler system are designed to notify people the building is on fire so that they can exit safely. You can test it by setting off the alarm and then determining if it has been properly set off by listening to it. You should also ensure it is time sensitive because it will only go off for a specific time.
5. Verify the Control Panel
The control panel is the brain of the fire sprinkler system. It monitors the water pressure, alerts the occupants of the building in case of a fire, and activates the sprinkler heads when necessary. It is important to verify it is functioning correctly and that all the sensors are properly connected.
6. Conduct Regular Inspections
These inspections should be conducted by a qualified professional who can identify potential problems and take the necessary steps to correct them.
Pros of Monitoring your Fire Sprinkler System
1. The Chance for Early Detection
By regularly inspecting your fire sprinkler system, you can spot any problems that may occur before they become serious. Doing this ensures the system continues to work even as it ages.
2. Helping to Maintain your Building’s Value
Maintaining a fire sprinkler system can help to lower your insurance premiums, protect the value of your home or business, and decrease any financial burden that may occur if a fire sprinkler system fails in the event of a fire.
3. Helping to Reduce Liability
If a fire starts due to a sprinkler system, the property owner may find that they are held liable for any injuries or damage to the property. Having a fire sprinkler system that is properly maintained can help you to prevent these types of troubles.
4. Helping to Protect the Environment
By regularly inspecting your fire sprinkler system, you can help reduce the potential damage caused by fire to the environment. It could include any trees or wildlife in the area.
Cons of Monitoring your Fire Sprinkler System
1. Proper Training Required
You will need to train your employees to complete these checks and perform regular maintenance on the fire sprinkler system. If they are not properly trained, they may not be able to identify problems or complete the necessary steps to make repairs.
2. Time Involved in Regular Checks
In many cases, you will need to regularly inspect the entire fire sprinkler system or specific parts. These checks can take considerable time and effort, especially if you have a large building.
3. Additional Equipment to Keep on Site
You should keep equipment such as pipe wrenches, flashlights, and screwdrivers on hand if you need to make repairs as part of your maintenance plan.
4. Violation of Local Ordinances
Sometimes, you may need to obtain a permit or pass an inspection before you begin monitoring your fire sprinkler system. Before starting this program, you should check with the local township and city codes.
Cost of Monitoring your Fire Sprinkler System
Some of the factors that determine the cost of monitoring a fire sprinkler system include the following:
1. Size of the Building
A larger building will require more sensors, sprinkler heads, and valves to monitor the entire area. These extras can make the monitoring plan more expensive.
2. Type of Sprinklers
There are multiple types of fire sprinkler systems, and each one works on slightly different principles. These differences can affect the cost of installing it and the maintenance required to keep it working properly.
3. The Maintenance Company you Hire
Depending on who is doing the maintenance, the cost can vary by several hundred dollars. A company with a long track record will have lower rates and better insurance rates.
4. Location of the System
If the sprinkler system is in an industrial area or in a very dry climate, you may need to install a moisture monitor on your fire sprinkler system. This monitor should be installed near the control panel to monitor the humidity levels in the area and alert you if too much moisture gets into the system.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Fire Sprinklers Fail?
Fire sprinklers can develop problems over time, but they are relatively reliable when used in the right conditions. With frequent monitoring and maintenance, you can keep your fire sprinkler system in good working order for many years.
2. What’s the Difference Between Fire Sprinkler Systems and Smoke Detectors?
The main difference is that smoke detectors are usually used to detect smoke and fire in an area before it becomes a major problem. Fire sprinklers are installed to stop the spread of fire as soon as it occurs.
3. What are the Main Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems?
There are two main types of fire sprinklers: pneumatic and automatic. Pneumatic systems are usually found in older buildings, while automatic systems are more common in new constructions.
4. Can I Disable My Fire Sprinklers?
If you disable your fire sprinklers, you will be violating local ordinances, which could cause you to be charged for any damage in the event of a fire. In addition, this can make your building less safe overall and result in higher insurance premiums.
5. What is the Difference Between In-Building and Pre-Action Systems?
In-building systems are installed in existing buildings, while pre-action systems are built into the original construction of a building before it is built.
6. How often do in Need to Monitor my Sprinkler System?
You will need to perform at least four inspections of your entire system and all individual components yearly. Depending on the size and complexity of your system, this may take several hours.
7. How do I Know Which Company to Hire?
Getting references from local commercial property owners is a great way to find a good company for your fire sprinkler system. You can also look for local companies that are members of the International Fire Sprinkler Association. A reputable company will have its name listed on the IFSAs website, and you can verify its membership status easily.
8. How do I know if my System Needs to get Inspected?
You should inspect your entire fire sprinkler system at least once a year and more often, depending on the system’s level of use, frequency of use, and age.
9. Why is it Beneficial to Hire an Expert for my Fire Sprinkler System?
An expert will be able to repair any problems that occur and make sure your fire sprinkler system is always safe to use. They will also ensure you follow all local ordinances, which can help reduce your risk of water damage.
Fire sprinkler systems are an effective way to protect your home or business and save many lives in the event of a fire. There are some drawbacks to using a system like this, but with regular maintenance and monitoring, you can have a reliable system for years.
For more information, contact the professionals at Nextgen Electric.
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