Why Do I Need a Sprinkler Wrench & Spare Sprinklers?

Whether they’re in a residential complex, commercial building or office space, fire sprinklers systems are complex. It’s why having some familiarity with how they work is important, especially in the event of an accidental activation when a sprinkler head shut off tool is essential for stopping the flow of water. Regardless of the reasons for a sprinkler’s activation, it’s important to know that once it goes off, that particular head is now inoperable and will need to be replaced to restore protection to your property. It’s why we always suggest having a sprinkler wrench and spare sprinklers on hand. 

Why Do I Need Spare Sprinklers?

Sprinklers for commercial systems aren’t something you can just go to your local hardware store to purchase. And because systems vary, you may even need to special order replacement sprinklers, which could take several days or even weeks to be delivered. Furthermore, sprinkler systems are designed as such where if one head isn’t replaced or working properly, it could impact the effectiveness of the entire system – potentially leaving your property unprotected in the event that there is an actual emergency.

You should also have spare sprinklers on hand because it’s the law. In fact, all properties with fire sprinkler systems need to have at last six spares on hand at all times. For properties with 300 to 1,000 sprinklers, 12 spares must be on hand. And for properties with more than 1,000 sprinklers in its system, at least 24 spares must be handy.

The Importance of Having a Sprinkler Head Shut Off Tool

Aside from having spare sprinklers on hand that meet the type and temperature ratings of the system installed in your property, it’s also important to have an adequate shut-off tool at your disposal in the event of an accidental activation.

Sprinklers may activate for a variety of reasons, and if they do and there’s no fire, your property could be faced with costly water damage. In fact, it’s estimated that a single sprinkler can release up to 60 gallons of water each minute. That’s about the equivalence of a bathtub full of water after just a single minute of activation. Those without a sprinkler head shut off tool on hand may have to wait for the fire department to arrive to deactivate the system – and this can result in precious time wasted and thousands of gallons of water flooding the property. While you can purchase a sprinkler wrench specific to the system you have installed on your property, you cannot shut off the flow of water at the point of activation, as you would need to shut off the valve and drain the system first. A sprinkler wrench is designed for the install component of a sprinkler system, and required by code to be kept in the box with the spare sprinklers. In the case of an accidental sprinkler system activation, a  universal shut-off tool – such as the Shutgun – is a viable and affordable option that can, and will work perfectly in this scenario. With up to 90 percent of all fire sprinkler system activations stemming from non-fire situations, having a viable shut off tool can be much more than just a luxury.

Sprinklers may activate for a variety of reasons, and if they do and there’s no fire, your property could be faced with costly water damage. In fact, it’s estimated that a single sprinkler can release up to 60 gallons of water each minute (see video to the right). That’s about the equivalence of a bathtub full of water after just a single minute of activation. Those without a sprinkler head shut off tool on hand may have to wait for the fire department to arrive to deactivate the system – and this can result in precious time wasted and thousands of gallons of water flooding the property. While you can purchase a sprinkler wrench specific to the system you have installed on your property, you cannot shut off the flow of water at the point of an activation, as you would need to  shut off the valve and drain the system first. A sprinkler wrench is designed for the install component of a sprinkler system, and required by code to be kept in the box with the spare sprinklers. In the case of an accidental sprinkler system activation, a  universal shut-off tool – such as the Shutgun – is a viable and affordable option that can, and will work perfectly in this scenario. With up to 90 percent of all fire sprinkler system activations stemming from non-fire situations, having a viable shut off tool can be much more than just a luxury.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about why you should have spare sprinklers and a sprinkler head shut off tool on hand, contact us today.

Do All the Fire Sprinklers in a Building Activate During a Fire?

Fire sprinklers are powerful, essential systems for many of today’s businesses. In the event of a fire, a well-functioning sprinkler system can extinguish the flames and save untold amounts of property damage. They are effective at preventing catastrophic damage when they function as intended. But these systems are also capable of creating significant water damage, especially when they activate for a false alarm. In the latter scenario, a fire sprinkler shut off tool can be the difference between minor water damage and a major problem.

In this post, we’re going to answer whether all the fire sprinklers in a system activate in a fire emergency. We’ll also look at how a fire sprinkler shut off tool can help in the case of a false alarm.’’

Do All the Fire Sprinkler Heads Activate During a Fire?

The answer to this critical question is usually no, though it depends on the type of system your building uses. One type, the deluge system, will activate in its entirety. But most commercial and office facilities will not use this type.

There are plenty of types of fire sprinkler systems. One industry expert outlines six different technologies you might encounter. Most businesses, though, are likely to stick with one of the following three types.

Wet Pipe Systems

Wet pipe systems are your most basic conventional sprinkler system. Their affordability is a significant reason for their popularity. Wet pipe systems have sprinkler heads attached to pipes running full of water. When a sprinkler head sensor is triggered (usually due to heat), water sprays. Wet pipe systems, then, don’t turn on all at once. Only affected sprinkler heads activate.

Wet pipe systems are great for many office and commercial environments, but they are susceptible to freezing in cold weather in spaces that aren’t temperature controlled.

Dry Pipe Systems

Dry pipe systems are a step up in complexity and cost. With these systems, there’s no water in the overhead pipes, making them ideal for semi-outdoor areas and cold rooms like industrial refrigerators. They are instead pressurized with either air or nitrogen. Here, too, heat activates individual sprinkler heads, which will vent the pressurized air and, after a short delay, spray water. This means the entire system does not activate at once.

Deluge Systems

Deluge systems deliver on their name, opening the entire system when a fire threat is detected. Though Hollywood makes it seem like every system is a deluge system, these are usually reserved for hazardous or high-risk scenarios — not your office.

Shutgun: A Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool for False Alarms and Accidents

As valuable as fire sprinkler systems are in the modern business world, accidents and possible false alarms, perhaps the fire alarm that was installed incorrectly in a hot zone, or is defective.  We’ve found that a single sprinkler head does an average of $35,000 in water damage before the fire department arrives to disable it. You need the ability to manually shut off an offending or broken sprinkler head.

Shutgun is that solution. Check out our many case studies to see how Shutgun has saved customers millions.

Ready to purchase? Buy your Shutgun today.


How a Commercial Fire Sprinkler System Works

A close up picture of a fire alarm sprinkler system in action with smoke

Commercial fire sprinkler systems are not household smoke detectors. Smoke detectors, for example, will activate in the presence of smoke so that members of a household can take proper action in the event of a fire. At times, they may also sound due to cooking or smoke from lit candles. Commercial fire sprinklers, conversely, serve more of an emergency role of extinguishing or containing a fire that has already begun, however, these advanced systems too can activate inadvertently or accidentally. Based on the different roles they play, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that they each work quite differently. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how a fire sprinkler system works:

How Are Fire Sprinkler Systems Activated?

Now that we’ve established that they aren’t activated by the presence of smoke, you’re likely wondering how they do operate. The answer: by heat.

Most of today’s fire sprinkler systems are activated by excessive heat, usually anywhere from 155-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Many contain glass bulbs with some sort of heat-sensitive liquid within them. When temperatures consistent with fire-like conditions are detected, the liquid will expand, breaking the glass bulb and activating the fire sprinkler system. Keep in mind that fire sprinkler systems are designed to extinguish or contain active fires, and minimize the amount of property damage in a commercial building caused by a fire. And while they’re ideally activated when the glass bulb breaks from the heat, they can be accidentally activated as well, whether it’s via tampering or just an outdated, ill-maintained system. Accidental activation can be a major problem for commercial buildings if the system isn’t shut off promptly. It’s why we suggest investing in a sprinkler shut off tool.

Why You Need a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

Accidental activation – whether it’s from a malfunctioning or poorly maintained sprinkler system, or from hanging items from sprinklers that inadvertently break the glass bulb – can be a major problem for commercial properties. Keep in mind that just one sprinkler head can release up to 60 gallons of water every minute. Also keep in mind that oftentimes properties need to rely on the fire department to properly shut off the system. By the time firefighters arrive, you could have hundreds – or even thousands – of gallons of water flooding the property and leaving it in a water-damaged mess. That’s where a sprinkler shut off tool comes in handy, as it enables a facility manager to quickly turn off an accidental activation in seconds, greatly minimizing property damage and water usage. For more information on how a sprinkler shut off tool can help safeguard your property in the event of accidental activation, contact us today

Hanging Items Off of Your Fire Sprinkler System

A close-up shot of a Fire sprinkler and red pipe on white ceiling background

We understand the temptation to use that fire sprinkler system head as a hanger of sorts. Some people might just think it’s practical enough to serve double-duty as both a mandatory commercial safety accessory as well as a ceiling hanging tool. But in reality, you should never attempt to use a fire sprinkler head as anything other than, well… a fire sprinkler head. It’s because these sprinklers are purpose-built to safely spray water adequately throughout an area of commercial buildings – and anything hanging from it could cause damage to the sprinkler that could prevent that from happening or obstruct the spray so that it’s not adequately dousing a fire in an emergency. Worst of all, hanging items from sprinkler heads could also lead to accidental activation.

3 Reasons to Never Hang Something from Your Fire Sprinkler System

In case the examples we outlined above aren’t enough of a reason to refrain from hanging clothes, hangers or decorations from fire sprinklers, we thought we’d share a few other ones:

  1. Sprinklers may not work appropriately: Fire sprinklers in commercial settings aren’t triggered by smoke, but by heat – and any obstruction can make sprinklers slower to react when there’s actually an emergency, thereby delaying them from triggering. Even a small delay can result in significantly more property damage, and potentially even more worker injuries or fatalities than a sprinkler system firing off on time.
  2. Greater potential for water damage from accidental activation: Though commercial fire sprinklers are industrial made, there is a certain degree of fragility with such systems. And even just a small amount of force can break the glass bulb that deploys the water. If you’re hanging items from the sprinklers, this glass bulb is more likely to break – and there’s the potential to have a serious water damage situation on your hands if it does. The only time you ever want the sprinklers to go off is if there’s a fire in the building.
  3. It’s against NFPA code: Hanging items from sprinklers or pipe heads is a violation of two National Fire Protection Association codes – and codes are in place for a reason.

The Value of a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

Whether you’re hanging items from the fire sprinklers or not, there’s always the potential for accidents to happen. And if your fire sprinklers are activated accidentally, there’s the potential for the system to release up to 60 gallons of water per sprinkler every minute. Additionally, another advantage of using the Shutgun over shutting off the valve is that you maintain full fire protection in the rest of the building Most sprinklers can only be turned off by the fire department, and responders may take several minutes to arrive. That’s where a fire sprinkler shut off tool can come in handy, as it enables facility managers to manually turn off the system in the event of an accidental activation within seconds. For more information on our Shutgun shut off tool, contact us today.

The Shutgun Complete Set (7pc) SALE!

Make sure that you are prepared for emergencies and potentially save thousands of dollars in water damage with the Shutgun. This tool is a staple for building managers, hotel maintenance workers, emergency service workers, moving and storage company employees and construction workers all around the United States and beyond. Best of all, you can get our complete, seven-piece Shutgun set for just $399 from now until April 30th (a $450 value).

About the Shutgun

To date, we’ve sold more than 50,000 Shutguns worldwide. It’s easy to see why this tool is fast becoming an invaluable piece of equipment for anyone charged with protecting and maintaining a building. The Shutgun quickly turns off the sprinkler before it can become a costly mess. Did you know that most sprinklers are activated by something other than a fire? Even bumping against a sprinkler or knocking it with a piece of wood during a renovation can set it off. In such cases, there’s no reason for all that water to be gushing from the ceiling. The quicker you can shut it off, the less damage you’ll incur. In the event of a sprinkler malfunction, even a few minutes delay can cause costly water damage. We recommend having one on every floor, right next to your fire extinguisher.

The Shutgun family of devices is designed to work with international as well as domestic sprinkler systems, and will shut off just about any fire sprinkler, including standard, sheared, broken, concealed, institutional, and semi-recessed style sprinkler heads, in a matter of seconds. The Shutgun is easy and safe to use and can be operated with just one hand. We’re proud that our device is the #1 selling sprinkler shut off tool in the world.

Act by April 30th and Save

We want to make it easy for you to have the Shutgun in your arsenal of tools. That’s why we’re discounted our Complete Shutgun Case (seven pieces) from now until April 30th. This set includes the original Shutgun, a sheared head Shutgun, a concealed head Shutgun, an institutional Shutgun, a sheared head attachment for 1/2″ sprinkler head, a sheared head attachment for 3/4″ sprinkler head, a 3/4″ attachment to cover larger orifices on many 3/4″ sprinkler heads and a handy, plastic carrying case. Regularly priced at $450, this seven-piece set is just $399.00 until April 30th.

Average Cost of Repairs After Water Damage

When it comes to your business, water damage is the last thing you want to worry about. But when leaks or flooding does occur, it is best to be prepared with a quick plan for action and a tool like an overhead sprinkler stopper. The cost of water damage will differ greatly on how well prepared you are to face potential threats.

Common Forms of Office Water Damage

Potential water threats are everywhere in the office. In order to be prepared for different types of water damage, you should be aware of the common threats your business space may face. Preparing for disaster will help mitigate the damage done if one does occur. Some of the most common water issues come from:

  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Pipes
  • Overhead sprinklers
  • Cracked foundations
  • Roofing issues
  • Sewage issues
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Water coolers
  • Some forms of equipment

Instances of leaking may not be possible to prevent completely since you often have no warning for failure. Instead, knowing how to best handle each potential water problem will help reduce the damage they are able to inflict. An overhead sprinkler stopper, for example, is the kind of tool that can prevent 60 gallons of water being dumped into your office for every minute you would have to wait on the fire department if the alarm goes off without a true fire to extinguish. Knowing where the shut-off valves for the water lines are in case of a broken pipe can help stop any leaks as soon as possible. Don’t wait for an emergency to occur before you plan for the worst-case scenarios in your office space.

Water Damage Restoration Costs

The average costs of water repair is going to vary based on:

  • Where you live
  • The amount of water damage
  • What type of water is affecting the area (clean water, grey water or black water)
  • The materials affected

Speed of action

If you work in a historical office building, for example, the costs of restoration will likely be higher as your handyman searches for matching materials. If you were able to use the sprinkler stopper tool to turn off a bad sprinkler head almost as soon as it started, you might have to only replace certain electronics and documents—not all the furniture and carpets. A sewage backup is going to be much more expensive to clean up in most cases than an overflowing sink since the sewage water (black water) is much more difficult to clean up than a clean waterflood.

Getting the cleanup process underway quickly will go a long way towards getting the space fixed and keeping the costs down. The longer you let the water sit, the more damage will be done. Water can turn into mold if it is left to sit in materials. Some materials can wick moisture, causing increased damage as the water spreads.

What Accidentally Triggers a Fire Sprinkler System?

For many years, fire sprinkler systems have been one of the most trusted fire-suppression solutions in commercial businesses, industrial settings, and residential apartment settings. While these systems have their obvious advantages, they do have one problem: accidental activation.

Fire sprinkler systems are designed to automatically dispense water when the air temperature surrounding the sprinkler head reaches 155 to 165 degrees. While modern sprinkler heads are less likely to get triggered without just cause, it can happen. Unfortunately, when a sprinkler gets set off, it can take a while to get it to shut off if you do not have the proper tools on hand. Here is a look at some of the common reasons fire sprinklers get triggered accidentally.

Freezing in the Water Lines of the System

If the sprinkler system is connected to water lines, as many traditional systems are, these pipes can freeze if they are exposed to freezing temperatures. When the water inside of water delivery lines freeze, it can put a lot of undue stress on the fittings and valves that cause the sprinklers to open and distribute water. Once the lines thaw, it can force water through the sprinkler head. To prevent this type of issue, it is best if you make sure the lines feeding the sprinkler heads are well-insulated.

Corrosion of Release Valves Due to Age

When a sprinkler system gets really old, some parts can start to break down due to corrosion. For example, the pressure release valves that control when water is released can get weak, which can mean they trigger and release water easier than what they should. Through regular inspection and periodic maintenance, you can avoid this kind of issue with a fire sprinkler system. However, having a sprinkler shut off tool on hand is also a good idea if you have an older system that is prone to accidental activation.

Overheating Around the Fire Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads will automatically activate and disperse water when they sense a high air temperature. It is not uncommon for the sprinkler heads to automatically activate because they are close to a heat source. For instance, if the head is situated near a skylight where bright sunlight is shining through, it can elevate the temperature enough to cause a reaction. You can invest in high-temperature sprinkler heads that activate at higher temperatures, but having a sprinkler shut off tool around is always best if you’ve experienced this issue.

Invest in a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool to Prevent Damage

In the event of a fire, a sprinkler system is an amazing thing and can really save your structure from total demise. However, when a fire sprinkler gets triggered for no reason, you can be left with loads of water damage that can cost a lot of money to fix. Having a sprinkler shut off tool on hand to quickly shut off the sprinkler that is activated can be incredibly advantageous. It’s even a good idea to have one of these tools on every floor just in case.

Fire Sprinkler Accident Videos: The Hall of Shame

Fire Sprinkler Accident Videos: The Hall of Shame  

When fire sprinklers go wrong, they can create enough chaos that people feel called to capture the whole mess on film. People may dash from the spray, building owners may come out of nowhere to stop the problem before too much damage occurs. Sprinkler fails are a lot more common than you think, whether they’re caught on camera or not. From malfunctioning pipes to too much force, it’s all too easy for sprinklers to activate at the worst possible times. We’ll look at the hall of shame videos that show just how rough it can get. 

Chemistry Mishaps 

It’s probably not too surprising to hear that fire sprinkler failures often stem from experiments gone wrong. This one just happened to be an intentional demonstration that was meant to engage the students, but only ended up causing a major disturbance to the school day. At least the students were awake after the demo though!

Down Low, You’re Too Slow 

Parking garages were never meant to accommodate big trucks. Their ceilings are just too low to have anything that tall make their way through. But sometimes U-Haul drivers ignore those clearance levels in hopes of making it into a convenient space. Instead of just damaging the ceiling of the garage though, this truck managed to break open the fire sprinklers for a serious shower. 

A Shoddy Installation 

When installers skip steps and cut corners, it can end in tears. This video shows just how devastating it can be to have to deal with the aftermath of poor installation. From the property owner to the fire marshal, the whole affair proved that regulatory laws and business codes can’t always save you from an accident. The right sprinkler shut off tool could have saved everyone a lot of hassle. 

Pack ‘Em In 

Trade shows can difficult to pull off even under the best of circumstances. The sheer number of people all trying to make an impression can lead to utter confusion and exhaustion. But imagine how much more flustered the people at an Orlando show felt after the sprinklers accidentally went off. 

Foam It Up 

Water is one thing, but foam is another. Foam systems use chemicals to quickly put fires out, which can make them more effective than a traditional water system. But if the foam fails on account of malfunction, you just end up with rooms that look like a bubble bath went very wrong. 

When fire sprinklers fail from afar, there’s no denying that it’s interesting (even funny) to watch. When it happens to you though, you’re at the mercy of forces that can cost you up to $1,000 a minute. From just $60, you can get a Shutgun sprinkler shut off tool that only takes one hand to operate. It’s the best (and easiest) way to step in when things go wrong.

About The Author: Jason Hugo is the owner of Quick Response Fire Supply. You can read more of his fire and safety & related blogs here

Fire Sprinkler Accidents: 5 Causes and How to Fix Them

Upright Fire Sprinkler Head

Did you know an activated fire sprinkler can cause $2,000 in damage in a single minute if there’s no sprinkler tool to shut it off? Of course, if your building is on fire, that’s a risk well worth taking. But when your sprinkler system activates by accident — not so much. According to the National Fire Safety Protection Organization, firefighters responded more than 33,000 times for faulty sprinkler deactivation in 2014. Here are the top five reasons why:

1. The Sprinkler Head Overheated

If your fire sprinkler is installed in the wrong place, such as too near a skylight or too close to a stove. This can spell disaster when rising heat triggers activation for no good reason. If you must install fire sprinklers in questionable areas such as these, have them calibrated so higher thermal temperatures must be reached to cause activation.

2. The Water Pipes Froze

Of course you’re not going to let the heat lapse in your tenant-occupied building, but what happens during an extended power outage? And what about sprinkler pipes that run through basements or garages? If even a portion of your sprinkler system becomes exposed to freezing temperatures, accidental deactivation or damaging leaks may occur. 

3. The Components Became Damaged

It’s rare that fire sprinklers suffer defects in manufacturing, but shipping is a different story. Fragile parts get jostled or dropped, and there’s no way to tell until after they’ve been installed and begin to malfunction. 

Often, damage to sprinkler heads occur after installation, as well. When a technician tightens a sprinkler head too much, a ladder used in renovation clips a fire sprinkler, or a tenant accidently hits the fire sprinkler with a tennis racket — activation may occur. You can help prevent accidental damage by placing guards that resemble metal cages over your sprinkler heads. 

4. The Pipes Corroded

Corrosion on pipes may not cause your sprinkler to activate, but it will destroy your water pipes over time, causing costly leaks. The same solutions that’s so effective at dousing many fires is also highly corrosive to water pipes. Regular inspection and maintenance of your system and pipes may help prevent this scenario. 

5. The System Was Vandalized

Vandalism is a huge problem in some areas, and hardly noticeable in others. But, if you own a building in a high-crime area, expect vandalism. Be proactive by installing institutional sprinkler heads that are difficult for vandals to access.

A final solution involves keeping a sprinkler tool, such as a Shutgun, on-hand at all times. Shutguns should be stored with your fire extinguishers and easily accessible in the event of an accidental deactivation. This tool is simple to use and instantly shuts off the flow of water at each fire sprinkler head without damaging it further. 

Fires are destructive, but so are accidental fire sprinkler activations. A simple sprinkler tool such as a Shutgun can help protect you from one without interfering with the other. Consider buying a sprinkler tool today.  

About The Author

Jason Hugo is the owner of Quick Response Fire Supply. You can read more of his fire and safety & related blogs here.

Shutgun vs Quickstop Fire Sprinkler Tools: Which Shuts Off Heads Better?

When it comes to protecting your property from water damage due to a fire sprinkler system, you want to have the best sprinkler shut off tool for your situation and goals. Although it is (infrequent) for a sprinkler system to activate without a fire, it does happen.  Having the right shut off tool reduces the impact of accidental activation. Shutgun and Quickstop are the two most popular options, but you want to compare them to determine the right option for your needs.

Quickstop

Quickstop became a widely known product due to its debut on the popular television show “Shark Tank”. It was originally developed by a firefighter who noted that he saw water damage due to accidental activation of a sprinkler system that created concerns for property owners.

The primary advantages of Quickstop include:

  • Light weight design
  • Simple instructions for using the tool
  • A full warranty

The potential downside of the Quickstop tool is the limitations on the sprinkler heads that it may fit. Since it is an “all-in-one” tool only for exposed fire sprinkler heads of a certain type, it does not always suit every building or sprinkler system. It is best suited for firefighters that want a tool that will do more than just shut off a fire sprinkler head; however, it is not ideal for many residential or commercial properties in locations that may use a narrower or different type of sprinkler head.

Shutgun

Shutgun is growing in popularity due to its unique design and usability. It offers a wider range of potential usage as a sprinkler shut off tool because it provides a range of different sizes and styles to fit different sprinkler systems.

The primary advantages of Shutgun include:

  • The standard Shutgun fits all ½” upright, pendant, wall mount and semi-recessed sprinkler heads.  That is 90% of the sprinkler heads that you see in use.
  • It has interchangeable parts and models for various types of sprinkler heads, including concealed and recessed heads, sheared heads, and institutional heads
  • The cost is reasonable

The primary downside associated with Shutgun is that it will require a little time to review the instructions and select the right model for the building. It is ideal for property owners who may have unique sprinkler head systems due to sizing or style or for contractors that do not know what kind of sprinkler system they may encounter.

Which is the Better Sprinkler Shut Off Tool?

Although Quickstop offers a simple all-in-one tool, it is not ideal for most situations and buildings. It has limitations on the systems that work well with the tool, so it may not work for institutional or commercial buildings that have systems with unique designs. The Shutgun is a better tool for most buildings due to the flexibility of multiple parts and accessories. It also has a lower price-point, which makes it ideal for building owners to keep in case of unexpected sprinkler activation.

Comparing the Quickstop and the Shutgun tools starts with clarifying your needs. When you are unsure about the best option, the Shutgun offers more flexibility and a lower price that may help reduce your concerns while giving you the right tool to minimize and prevent water damage.