Fire sprinkler systems are commonly used in buildings as the first line of defense in the event of a fire emergency. Sprinkler systems are such a critical aspect of fire safety that they must be inspected and tested regularly to guarantee optimal performance when a fire breaks out. Unfortunately, some building owners and facility managers don’t take sprinkler systems inspection and testing seriously. In this article, we’ll take a look at why it’s important to have your sprinkler system inspected and tested regularly and how often this needs to be done.
How often should fire sprinkler system inspection be done?
A sprinkler system is made up of several components, which includes switches, gauges, and pipes. All these parts require inspection at various intervals. We’ll go over the most critical elements of a fire sprinkler system and when an inspection is recommended.
Fire Sprinkler Gauges: These need to be inspected every month since they are a vital aspect of the fire suppression system. Dry pipe gauges require a more regular inspection (once a week if possible) compared to wet pipe gauges which can go a month without the need to perform another inspection.
Alarm Devices: Fire sprinkler systems are made up of alarm devices which need to be inspected every three months to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Fire Department Connections and Signal Devices: These need to be inspected quarterly.
Pipework and Fittings: They can be inspected once a year or according to the manufacturer or installer’s instructions.
Signage and Sprinklers: The sprinklers themselves together with the signage need to be inspected annually.
Internal Pipework: The internal pipework of the sprinkler system can be blocked and must be thoroughly inspected every fire years to ensure it’s in good working order.
How often is fire sprinkler system testing done?
Unlike inspection, which is usually visual, fire sprinkler system testing involves using the equipment to test if it works as intended. Testing is conducted at less regular intervals compared to inspections. Testing is also done at different intervals for various components of the fire sprinkler system.
Fire Sprinkler Mechanical Devices: They must be tested every three months.
Vane and Pressure Switch Type: Must be tested every six months.
The entire fire sprinkler system should be tested once every year. The technicians will physically test different elements of the system such as the water flow and alarm as well as deluge and pre-action valves. If the sprinkler system has been exposed to high temperatures or harsh weather conditions, it must be tested once every 5 years. The gauges of the system must be tested and may need to be replaced at this stage.
Dry sprinkler systems can go for years without testing. In fact, for these systems, testing is recommended every 10 years and after 20 years for fast-response dry sprinklers.
During inspection and testing, the technician should provide additional support and point out any issues that could hinder the performance of the mechanical or electrical parts of the sprinkler system. You should also be given a full report of all the work done by the technician when inspection or testing is completed.