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Maintaining your Fire Sprinkler System

Posted on: August 26, 2010

Having a fire sprinkler system installed in your home, office, or restaurant is your first line of defense against a damaging fire. But keeping your sprinkler system running at its full potential requires some basic, easy maintenance.

Schedule sprinkler inspections often

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your sprinkler system inspected at minimum four times per year. In addition, the NFPA advises that you have your sprinkler tested when you:

  • Add or change a backflow preventer of water meter
  • Change the occupancy or use of your building
  • Remodel your home, office, or restaurant
  • Face changes in public water supply, such as in response to water shortages

Benefits of regular sprinkler system inspection

Insurance Rate

A good, working fire sprinkler system can provide numerous benefits beyond excellent fire protection. Most homes, restaurants and office buildings with well maintained sprinklers enjoy sizable insurance benefits, often 5-10% off their basic insurance premium. On the flip side, insurance penalties can be levied on companies that do not get their fire protection systems inspected. These penalties can add up quickly, and after a short amount of time even a building with a working sprinkler system will be rated as “Unsprinklered” if that system goes untested.

Peace of mind

Keeping on top of regular fire sprinkler maintenance can save you from the stress of scrambling to set up an inspection a few days before the fire marshal comes in. It can also help you find minor, easy-to-fix issues before they become major, costly disasters.

Freedom from liability

More and more, local courts have been holding business owners responsible for damages if their building did not have a working fire sprinkler installed – even if their building codes did not require them to have a system in place. Often the payouts for these damages cost business owners millions of dollars. Even owners who do have fire sprinklers installed have had to make the same payments if their sprinklers weren’t in working order. Don’t let this happen to you!

How to take care of a sprinkler system

While regular fire sprinkler inspections are highly recommended, there are a number of steps you can take on your own to make sure your home, office or restaurant’s sprinkler system stays in top shape between these inspections.

  • Never paint your sprinkler
  • Never hang anything from your sprinkler
  • Never stack anything close to your sprinkler (as a general rule, try to keep items at least 18 inches below it)
  • Always report damage to your sprinkler immediately
  • Always make sure your control valves are in the open position (the NFPA recommends that you check this once a week)

Installing a working fire sprinkler system and never having it inspected is like buying a brand new car and never changing the oil. If you think you might be behind on your inspection and operate a business in the Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) or Washington, DC area, contact Guardian Fire Protection today to schedule a fire sprinkler inspection and protect yourself from fires (as well as potential fire marshal fines!).

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