How to Prep Fire Sprinklers for Cold Weather

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Is your fire sprinkler system ready for the cold weather ahead of us? Have you taken the proper steps to protect your valuables from potential water damage?

Read below to learn more about fire sprinkler freeze and how to prepare your sprinkler system.

Fire Sprinkler Head

Wet Sprinkler Freeze

Most times when you hear about a sprinkler pipe freezing and bursting, it occurs in a wet sprinkler system. This is due to the fact that there is water sitting in the sprinkler pipes at all times. When exposed to low temperatures, the water expands in the pipe. When sprinkler pipes are not properly heated or insulated, they are at an increased risk for a freeze failure. If sprinklers are exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended to install a dry sprinkler system over a wet one.  If you have a wet antifreeze system, during annual inspection, a sprinkler sample should be taken to see if the proper antifreeze concentrate is in the system.   

Dry Sprinkler Freeze

A misconception with dry sprinkler systems is that since they do not have water in the pipes they cannot freeze and break in cold temperatures. This is not true. When the air pressure drops below a certain point in a dry sprinkler pipe, the air compressor is tripped and fills the pipe with an adequate amount of pressure. If the air that comes out of the air compressor is warmer than the air in or around the dry sprinkler pipe, the warm air will condense and create condensation. When condensation occurs, water takes the least resistant path, which often leads to low laying areas. If the water pools in the low lying area and does not drain properly, it may cause a sprinkler freeze failure. In order to avoid this, it is imperative to make sure the dry system is installed with the proper pitch and low point drains. Installation around the pipe is also important.

Regular maintenance and inspections on a sprinkler system can help prevent freeze failures. If you would like to schedule us to come check your sprinkler system please call 973-560-1600