Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Can Set Off Your Fire Sprinkler System?

Thanks to scenes in TV shows and movies where sprinkler systems are set off by very little smoke at all and completely drench the surrounding area, it’s not uncommon for our customers to tell us that they’re worried about their fire suppression sprinkler system going off unexpectedly.

When they talk to us they say that they feel like they’re choosing “one kind of damage over another” because they worry that their appliances, electronics, and all the paperwork which is important to their business will become drenched and be rendered unusable.

In fact, unlike in the movies fire suppression sprinklers don’t get triggered by the slightest bit of smoke, and they don’t all go off at once. If this were true you would be risking all of your businesses’ investments every time you used the oven in the company kitchen, or put a bagel in the toaster.

How Do Fire Sprinkler Systems Work?

Modern systems are set up so that each individual sprinkler head is triggered separately, and is only activated once the temperature reaches between 68.3 degrees C and 73.8 degrees C.

Once upon a time sprinkler systems worked similarly to how we just described: they went off on a hair trigger and would immediately soak the surrounding areas, but modern fire systems are much less sensitive. However, it’s important to remember that there are certain things which can “set off” your fire suppression sprinkler system, which can include:

Overheating by accident

Sprinklers where are installed near skylights, heaters, and other areas prone to high heat can cause the fire sprinklers to discharge accidentally. If you need to have sprinklers installed in these areas then we recommend using high temperature rated sprinklers to avoid this potential issue.

Corroded pipes or fixtures

Older sprinkler systems, or ones which have been installed in harsh environments, can become prone to corrosion which can wear away the varions parts and valves that keep the water contained within your suppression system. Luckily, this issue can be avoided by scheduling regular testing and inspections.

Frozen pipes

This can be an issue in the prairies during our cold winters. Since most sprinkler systems are wet pipe systems the pipes connected to the sprinklers are full of water, and if the water inside the pipes freezes and then thaws, the pressure it produces can break the fittings and burst through the valve caps.

Mechanical issues and damage

Poor installation can cause a sprinkler system to malfunction, or for parts to begin weakening or loosening months or even weeks later. To prevent this, it’s important to work with qualified professionals to ensure that your system is installed properly and to have your fire suppression sprinkler system regularly inspected for issues.

To learn more about fire suppression sprinkler systems and how our qualified technicians can help keep yours running error-free for years to come, contact Bison Fire Protection at 204-237-3473.


Posted by Rob Read at 9:35 AM

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