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Blog Home Safety Residential Fire Sprinkler Safety Tips
Residential Fire Sprinkler Safety Tips
Home Safety
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Fire sprinklers in homes save lives. It's that simple. If your house is equipped with a residential fire sprinkler system, there are a few things that you should know about. With a little maintenance on your part, these systems can be expected to offer trouble-free operation for years. This article offers maintenance tips and some safety guidelines to follow that should help keep you and your family safe.
fire-sprinklerTypical residential fire sprinklerFire sprinkler systems come in two varieties, wet and dry. The wet systems are the most common in residential applications and the focus of this article. These "wet" systems, as their name implies, contain water and are under pressure at all times. A series of pipes run throughout your home, in the walls and in the attic and serve to bring pressurized water up to the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads are devices on your ceiling and maybe your walls that operate in a similar way to the sprinklers on your lawn, with one significant difference. The volume of water that is emitted from a fire sprinkler is far greater than that of a lawn sprinkler. Accidentally activate one of these heads and flooding will be the likely result. This increased volume of water is necessary to quickly put out a fire and help protect the structure.
 
To allow these systems to operate at maximum efficiency, you should observe a few fire sprinkler safety tips:

Fire Sprinkler Safety Tips

  • Never hang anything from the sprinkler head! Disruptions in the sprinkler heads by placing a clothes hanger on the sprinkler frame for example, can cause the sprinklers to activate and flooding will result.
  • Keep hanging plants and lights a safe distance away from ceiling sprinkler heads. The sprinklers are designed in such a way that their spray patterns overlap - hanging or placing an obstacle in that path and the water will likely not be able to get where it needs to.
  • Keep furniture away from wall mounted sprinklers.
  • If you intend to remodel, don't forget to extend the fire sprinkler system into the new areas of your home.

Fire Sprinkler Maintenance Tips

  • Annually, gently remove dust and cobwebs from the sprinkler heads using a vacuum. Best to not touch the devices!
  • Open the fire control panel to observe the pressure gauge. The panel may be located on the outside of your home or in your garage. Insert a slotted screwdriver in the door and turn the screw to open. Inside you will see a gauge. It should read somewhere between 120 - 150 PSI but depending on the type of system, could be different.
  • Experts recommend that on an annual basis the homeowner should bleed water from the system by opening the system test valve. Keep the valve open until the alarm bell begins to ring. This could take 30-60 seconds. After the alarm sounds, close the valve.

Never Paint Your Sprinkler Heads!

Why is painting the sprinkler heads a bad idea? There are several reasons, all of which can affect the proper operation of the devices. Paint on the glass bulb can prevent the sprinkler from opening at it's pre-determined temperature (the temperature of activation is determined by the color of the fluid within the glass bulb). Paint on the emitter valve can prevent the sprinkler from opening when needed. Paint on the deflector can alter the spray pattern of the sprinkler head and prevent proper coverage throughout the home.
 
Paint on residential fire sprinkler heads should be avoided at all costs, to improve the operation of the fire suppression system so it can work as intended. Unfortunately we see this frequently as the video below illustrates. Watch the video and then go have a look around your home. Identifying painted fire sprinklers in your home could help save a life.
 
 

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Darin Redding
Written on Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00 by Darin Redding

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Last Updated on Friday, 01 June 2012 20:43
 

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