When Do Fire Sprinkler Systems Need to Be Inspected?
Fire Sprinkler Inspection Schedules
These schedules are determined by your local code enforcement agency.
Typically, these inspections are scheduled annually, semiannually, quarterly and sometimes monthly. Determining factors in when they are scheduled include your building’s occupancy type and which components are used in your sprinkler system.
For example, a high-rise building normally has a fire pump to boost the pressure of your sprinkler system to ensure water can reach every floor of the building. A fire pump changes the requirements for inspection schedules of your system.
Who Writes Your Local Code for Inspections?
Your local code, and thus your schedule for inspections, is governed by the National Fire Protection Association’s code NFPA 25. This is the standard for the inspection, testing and maintenance of all water-based fire protection systems, including sprinklers.
Your local code also takes into consideration the International Building Code and state and jurisdiction additions to the standards.
Knowledge of your local codes and what jurisdictions and states require additions to the code is vital, especially when your business is governed by more than one jurisdiction.
The Difference Between Testing and Inspection
When it comes to your local codes, the terms “testing” and “inspection” are not interchangeable.
An inspection of your system requires a technician to visually inspect the device. For example, they have to physically examine the sprinkler head for signs of leakage, corrosion and paint as well as the head’s orientation and clearance. To pass inspection, a sprinkler head must look normal and unobstructed.
When a system needs to be tested, a technician must test the function of the entire system by checking all its components for proper water flow and pressure. Testing the function also includes ensuring the fire alarm panel is activated when testing the sprinkler system.
System Maintenance After a Fire
When a fire sprinkler system has to do what it is designed to do, namely put out a fire in your building, all sprinkler heads that were activated as well as all other heads in the same room or vicinity of the fire need to be replaced.
Once these heads have been replaced, a water flow test and valve test are required to ensure that water pressures are correct and your system is operating correctly.
System Maintenance Documentation
To make sure your fire system inspection goes well, you will be asked to provide the proper documentation for all testing and inspections your system has gone through. A fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) may ask for this documentation, so it’s important to have your paperwork in order.
When your system is maintained by FireTron, Inc., you will be provided with a detailed report of when your system was tested and what parts were tested and inspected. Information you will receive includes pressure readings and flow times, inspection tag dates, and documentation that all your system’s sprinkler heads were clean and unobstructed.
Schedule of Fire Sprinkler Inspections, Testing and Maintenance
Knowing when your system is due for required inspections and maintenance is vital to make sure your system is in working order and in keeping with local fire codes.
According to the NFPA 25, the baseline for all inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems, the recommended schedule you should follow includes:
- Inspection of gauges and control valves in dry, wet pipe, pre-action and deluge systems
- Inspection of alarm devices, hydraulic nameplate and fire department connections
- Testing of alarm devices and main drain
- Inspection of hanger/seisic bracing, pipe and fittings, spare sprinklers, signage, and sprinklers
- Testing of main drain, water flow, fire pump, antifreeze solution, alarm devices, deluge, and pre-action valves
- Maintenance of valves and low point drains in dry pipe systems
To schedule service or to learn more about inspections, testing and maintenance, look no further than FireTron, Inc.
FireTron, Inc. has been the trusted name in water-based fire protection systems since 1990, serving the Houston, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Brazos Valley, and Coastal Bend markets.