Preventing fire sprinkler freeze-up

NASHVILLE (press release)—As temperatures plunge this winter, fire sprinkler systems become vulnerable to freeze-ups just like all water-filled pipes. The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging home and business owners to take a few preventative maintenance steps now in order to keep buildings safe from fire during the winter months and help owners avoid costly repairs down the road.

“Forecasters predict temperatures will drop below average this winter across the south and southeastern portions of the U.S,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Fire sprinkler users should take precautions ahead of the season’s coldest weather to ensure they have peace of mind throughout winter.”

Fire sprinkler system owners can prevent sprinkler system freeze-ups by following these tips:

  • Make sure all building heating systems are in good working order and ready for cold weather.
  • Repair broken windows and doors that won’t seal up tightly. Replace missing insulation and add additional pipe insulation in unheated areas where the system is located. Seal cracks or other places where cold air can access buildings.
  • Encourage employees to report drafts and cold areas to building maintenance personnel.
  • Conduct regular inspection, testing and maintenance of the system.This should be performed by a qualified National Fire Sprinkler Association contractor in accordance with National Fire Protection Association guidelines.
  • Install and test the system’s water flow alarms to alert users water might be flowing in the system.
  • Drain all water and condensation from drains and low points as often as necessary.
  • Check pressures daily during cold weather, especially at night when temperatures are lowest.

For more information on preventing fire sprinkler freeze-ups, contact the National Fire Sprinkler Association at (865) 755-2956 or the National Fire Sprinkler Association at (845) 878-4200.

The Division of Fire Prevention is the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which is part of the Department of Commerce and Insurance. The division works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. The division includes the state’s building and safety codes enforcement operations, as well as arson and explosives investigations. The division also conducts consumer and children’s fire safety education programs across Tennessee.

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