Sprinklers Essential to Safety in High-Rise Residences

Apartment Building. Downtown of Vancouver

High-rise buildings come in many capacities, including senior living communities, college dormitories, hotels, and condominiums. They also come with unique safety challenges in case of fire, such as getting people on the top floors out of the building safely. Automatic sprinkler systems make a vital difference in these types of dwellings, especially when considering that many fires occur at night when people are sleeping. Unfortunately, they can also cause a lot of damage when triggered by accident. A fire sprinkler shut off tool is essential in these situations.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems Required in High-Rise Buildings for Almost 40 Years

In the early 1980s, the National Fire Protection Association implemented the Life Safety Code in all high-rise buildings. The safety code required all new and existing high-rise buildings to have an automatic sprinkler system installed. However, specific building codes vary according to the municipality or state.

Due to these variations, some cities and suburbs have adopted only part of the Life Safety Code based on the type of occupancy in a high-rise facility. For example, some municipalities have grandfathered the requirement for retrofitting high-rise buildings with automatic sprinkler systems. Grandfathering means that community leadership only requires a retrofit to take place when the building changes ownership or occupants.

How Automated Sprinkler Systems Work during a Fire

When an automated sensor detects smoke or fire, it begins releasing water to smolder the flames. The rate of water usage is approximately 60 gallons per minute. An automated sprinkler will continue to release water until it no longer senses smoke or fire, or a member of the local fire department arrives to turn the sensor off. Other high-rise building features that promote resident safety during a fire include:

  • Back-up generators and emergency power systems.
  • Building communication systems in good working order.
  • Construction of the building hinders smoke and flames from spreading.
  • Having an adequate number of smoke detectors with working batteries that sound loud enough to wake people from a deep sleep if necessary.
  • Pressurized and smoke-proof stairwells.
  • Short distance between resident or guest front doors to the nearest exit.
  • Vertical opening protection.

These features, along with an automated sprinkler system, are especially important in high-rise buildings, considering the vulnerable populations staying there either temporarily or permanently. These include elderly individuals, college students, and people staying in hotels in areas unfamiliar to them. As crucial as automated sprinkler systems are, they can also cause extensive damage if a fire sprinkler shut off tool is not available.

What is a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool, and When Would Someone Use One?

As mentioned above, people can sometimes accidentally trip an automated building sprinkler system when no fire is burning. When a fire is minor, it may be out entirely before the local fire department arrives. On average, it takes fire departments 20 minutes to respond to a call for help. By that time, a fire sprinkler could have caused far more damage than a fire ever would have. The average loss reported to insurance companies from an automated building sprinkler system is $35,000.

Located in Collingwood, Ontario, Shutgun.ca manufactures and sells fire sprinkler shut off tools that can save building owners thousands of dollars. Our shop page showcases all of our various options

Increased Water Damage Risk for Home Insurers

From inclement weather as a result of climate change to more Canadians finishing their basements to appliance leakage and accidental discharges, water claims across Canada are on the upswing, per a study from KPMG. As a result of this, many insurance companies are looking for better ways to assess risk and help property owners avoid potential damage as a means of keeping premiums low. There are a variety of things that property owners can do, from ensuring proper drainage around their homes and businesses to ensuring that certain precautions – like sprinkler stopper tools – are in place in large commercial properties.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why there’s an increased water damage risk for property owners and what you can do about it:

Why the Increased Risk?

Like we said in the opening, there are several factors that are contributing to more water damage insurance claims. These include the likes of:

  • Climate change: More severe weather is leading to more property damage throughout the world, let alone North America.
  • More finished basements: More Canadians are now finishing their basements to create more functional living spaces. However, without proper waterproofing or drainage, water is likely to find its way into basements and damage property.
  • In-property leaks: Leaking pipes, leaking water-using appliances and accidental discharge of sprinkler safety systems are also leading causes of water damage.

How to Mitigate Risk with a Sprinkler Stopper

Many insurance companies are looking for more ways to help property owners mitigate risk as a result of upward claims activity. And if you own or manage a large commercial property, one safeguard that you’ll want to take into consideration is accidental sprinkler activation. It’s estimated that a single sprinkler can release up to 60 gallons of water per minute. And when you consider that accidental discharges are on the rise and many properties rely on the fire department to deactivate a commercial sprinkler system, this can lead to a flooded mess in no time flat. That’s where a sprinkler stopper such as the Shutgun comes in handy. Rather than wait 20 minutes for the fire department to arrive and watch your property flooded with water, you can manually turn off the system yourself in a matter of seconds.

Other Tips to Prevent Property Damage

There are various other tips to help prevent water damage to properties. These include:

  • Ensuring that gutter downspouts drain a safe distance away from the property to avoid water pooling around the foundation.
  • Clean the gutters and downspouts regularly, especially if your property is in an area with heavy foliage.
  • Watch out for inclement weather. If a bad storm is predicted, it might be worth it to move valuables to higher ground just in case.
  • Inspect water-using appliances: Make sure you regularly inspect washing machine hoses, ice makers, dishwashers and other water-using appliances for leaks or damage.

Remember, an increased number of water damage claims is likely to lead to an overall increase in insurance premiums, so taking action collectively to prevent damage today is going to benefit all Canadians in the future.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Water Damage From Your Sprinkler System

flooding in luxurious interior. 3d creative concept

In virtually any building, having an automatic fire sprinkler system offers a high level of protection. But to ensure that your building’s system does not fail and lead to significant water damage, it must be maintained through regular inspections, testing, and maintenance as well as having a fire sprinkler shut-off tool available in case of emergency. Since over 25% of all property damage claims are due to water damage, you can see the importance of maintaining your sprinkler system. To reduce the risk of water damage, follow these tips.

Which Sprinkler System Meets My Needs?

To begin with, deciding which sprinkler system would work best for your building is a crucial step in reducing the risk of water damage. While you may have thought there was only one type of sprinkler system, there are actually several that are used based on the environment where they will be installed. The most common is a wet pipe system, which has pipes filled with water and only one or two sprinklers open. Should a fire occur, the fire’s heat opens the sprinklers closest to the fire. Other systems include dry pipe, deluge, and pre-action. Dry pipe systems are used in areas where temperatures go below freezing, use pressurized air or gas to hold water back in a heated space, and rely on a dry pipe valve opening to release water on a fire.

In areas where fast-spreading fires are considered a major threat, a deluge system works best. Since all sprinklers are open with this system, its pipes are not filled with water or gas. Instead, when the deluge valve is opened by a fire detection device signal, all sprinklers will have water flowing from them. Finally, pre-action systems are similar to wet pipe systems. However, they differ in that they are “double interlock” systems, meaning water delivery is delayed so that more sprinklers can be opened quickly to fight a fire.

How Does Water Escape from a Sprinkler System?

Unfortunately, there are many ways water can mistakenly escape from a fire sprinkler system. The most common are when pipes filled with water freeze, or when the system has mechanical damage. Other ways of water escape include poor installation, sabotage, corrosion of sprinklers and fittings, stress cracks in pipes and fittings, and overheating due to excessive temperatures near the sprinkler system. Also, there are times when a sprinkler system may be subject to a manufacturer recall due to various defects. Should a recall ever apply to your sprinkler system, don’t ignore it. If you do, you are almost guaranteeing water damage will occur to your building.

Reduce the Risk of Water Damage With a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

Needless to say, the last thing you want is water damage in your building due to a malfunctioning sprinkler system. To reduce the risk of this happening, you can do several things. First, choose the right system for your environment. Next, have systems maintained regularly to industry standards. This should include knowing where the fire sprinkler shut off tool is and how to use it. When maintenance or installations are needed, have all the work done by contractors who are licensed and experienced. Finally, take appropriate actions to help reduce any chances your building will have fire sprinkler system freeze-ups.

As a crucial part of your building’s fire safety plan, your sprinkler system should always be a top priority regarding proper maintenance and repair. By taking all factors into account, you can make the chances of water damage from your sprinkler system extremely rare.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Water damage can be costly to fix, especially if it’s severe. Can you depend on your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of these repairs? Knowing more about homeowners insurance can help you be prepared in case your home experiences water damage. Keep in mind that tools such as a sprinkler stopper offer an effective way to reduce the risk of water damage.

Sudden and Internal Water Damage

Homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover water damage that occurs in certain circumstances, such as internal and sudden water damage. When you have water damage from an internal source rather than outdoor water, your homeowner’s insurance might cover the cost of repairs. For example, a fire sprinkler turning on suddenly or a pipe in the wall bursting might qualify for coverage when there’s water damage.

In order for homeowners insurance to cover water damage from an internal source, keep in mind that it usually has to be sudden and unexpected. Homeowner’s insurance might not cover the cost of water damage that was caused by a lack of maintenance. For example, your homeowner’s insurance might not pay for water damage repairs if a fire sprinkler is turned on due to a lack of maintenance, such as rust or corrosion. In this case, you might be required to pay for all of the repair costs.

Water Damage Coverage

Homeowners’ insurance policies often cover water damage in other circumstances. These might include damage due to rainstorms or snowstorms. Your homeowner’s insurance policy might also cover water damage caused by frozen plumbing, interior roof leaks, vandalism, and overflow from toilets or other fixtures. Depending on your policy, your homeowner’s insurance might cover water damage if it occurs due to putting out a fire. You should check with your homeowner’s insurance company to get detailed information on when water damage is covered.

Water Damage Exclusions

Homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover the cost of water damage in all cases, such as when it occurs from neglect. Your policy might also exclude water damage due to sewer pipe backups or water pipe backups. Ground seepage in your yard might not be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy either. Standard homeowners insurance policies also exclude flooding, which is why homeowners need to buy separate flood insurance policies.

Mold from water damage is covered in some cases, but not in others. Your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover the cost of mold if it occurs due to water damage that wasn’t caused by a lack of maintenance.

Preventing Water Damage

Taking steps to prevent water damage can reduce your risk of needing to worry about paying for repairs. A sprinkler shutoff tool offers a quick way to stop fire sprinklers from damaging your home, for example. Routine maintenance on fire sprinklers, plumbing, and other potential sources of water damage can help prevent water damage from occurring.

Contact Us for a Sprinkler Stopper

If you’re ready to choose a sprinkler stopper to help prevent water damage, please contact Shutgun. Our sprinkler stoppers can help keep your building safe from severe water damage.

Water Damage From Sprinkler Systems: 4 Do’s & Dont’s

Emergency sprinkler head water stopper

Sprinkler systems are designed to prevent widespread fire damage, but they have one major drawback. These systems can end up causing severe water damage, which can occur at any time. Sprinkler systems sometimes go off when there’s no fire, resulting in costly damage to building interiors. Although sprinklers are an important fire safety tool, you should have a way to easily turn them off if they go on when no fire is present, such as a sprinkler stopper. In the meantime, keep these tips in mind for what to do and what not to do when you have water damage from a sprinkler system.

Don’t Let Water Damage Continue

Sprinklers can keep causing water damage as long as they’re on. Having a sprinkler stopper on hand allows you to turn sprinklers off quickly and conveniently. This helps prevent additional water damage from occurring. You should keep these sprinkler shutoff tools where they’re easy to reach in case your sprinklers turn on accidentally. With these tools nearby, you’ll be able to stop sprinklers from continuing to spray water inside your building.

Do Prepare Ahead of Time

In addition to having sprinkler shutoff tools close by, there are other steps you can take now in case water damage occurs later on. These steps help minimize water damage if sprinklers turn on accidentally or due to damage. You should know where water shutoff valves are in your building. Your building should have a main shutoff valve, and there might be other valves located in other areas. You should also make sure you know how to properly turn off these valves, as well as the electricity to your building in order to reduce the risk of electrical shock and property damage. Have the contact information for your sprinkler system company and insurance company on hand if water damage occurs.

Don’t Delay Documenting the Damage

When you have sprinkler system damage, it’s important to document it right away. This includes taking photos and videos of the damage for your insurance company. You’ll need to provide these as proof of damage when you file a claim. You should also keep a file with all of the documentation related to water damage, such as receipts for damaged equipment and estimates for repairs. Make sure you also avoid moving larger items before the adjuster does an inspection for insurance purposes.

Do Hire Professionals for Cleanup

Avoid handling all of the cleanups from water damage on your own, since this could expose you to contaminated surfaces. Instead, hire a restoration company to clean up damage from sprinkler systems. This helps reduce your risk of exposure to harmful materials and ensures that your building interior will be properly cleaned and restored.

Contact Us for a Sprinkler Stopper

If you’re looking for a reliable sprinkler stopper to protect your building from water damage, contact Shutgun today. Our sprinkler head shutoff tools make it easy to turn sprinklers off in order to prevent water damage from occurring.

Should Homeowners Be Wary of Sprinkler Systems?

Sprinkler systems are a proven way to save people’s lives and prevent buildings from crumbling into ash, which is why more and more neighborhoods are requiring their residents to install them in their properties.

Yet despite their benefits, the fear of water damage from accidental activation or prolonged use has made some homeowners nervous. We’ll look at both the pros and cons of sprinkler systems and how homeowners can prevent unnecessary damage if they have the right fire sprinkler shut off tool at the ready.

Fires, Water Damage, and Insurance

Water and smoke damage are both costly to repair. However, water damage is still easier to fix by a long shot, especially when the other option is a home that’s burnt entirely to the ground. It’s why insurance companies offer up to 25% off premiums and pay to repair water damage caused by the sprinklers.

Fire sprinklers typically only activate when they sense 180°F or more, meaning they won’t go off just because someone burnt their toast or took an extremely hot shower. Plus, they’re designed to go off based on where the fire is rather than activate the full suite of nozzles. 9 times out of 10, the activation of one sprinkler is enough to contain the whole fire.

How a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool Can Help

A sprinkler can produce dozens of gallons of water a minute. This is less than a fire hose, but you can still imagine just how much damage can occur in a short period of time. As a general rule, sprinklers are not easy to turn off by design.

However, the right shut off tool can help. The Shutgun is a tool that takes just one hand to operate. For pennies on the dollar, it’s easy to stop a sprinkler from being overzealous about its mission. From hotels to homes, property owners everywhere have ordered one to keep them from too much damage. After all, even if an insurance company covers it, that doesn’t mean people want to deal with the hassles of the repairs if they don’t have to.

Additional Concerns

At around $1.35 per sq. ft., it’s not nearly as costly to install a fire sprinkler system as many people think. Plus, the upfront expenses are typically paid back via cheaper insurance premiums. Municipalities that don’t require sprinkler systems may also offer property tax reductions to homeowners who make the effort.

Maintenance includes regular testing as well as a general awareness of how weather extremes will affect the water supply and pipes. Those with summer houses may need to turn off the water if they’re not going to use the property for a while or have a neighbor check in on the pipes from time to time. This way, they can rest assured an errant spark or flame won’t set the building on fire because their sprinkler system is still in operation.Shutgun is trusted by thousands of people to work when the chips are down. If you’re looking for a fire sprinkler shut off tool that won’t let you down, contact us today to learn more about our products.

Who Is Responsible to Repair and Pay for Flood Damage?

Flood damage in multi-unit dwellings, such as condos or townhomes, can affect more than one unit. Whether you have flood damage in your own unit or damage that reaches other units, it’s important to know who is responsible for arranging and paying for repairs. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to know if your condo corporation is partially or fully responsible for covering these repairs. While having a fire sprinkler shut off tool can help reduce the risk of flood damage, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with knowledge of whose responsibility it is to pay for repairs.

Common Elements vs. Unit Elements

Condos have certain common elements that the condo corporation or management is typically responsible for maintaining. When flood damage occurs, who pays for repairs might depend on whether the damage involves common elements or elements within a unit. In general, condo corporations are expected to maintain common elements in order to reduce the risk of damage. Condo owners are expected to maintain their own unit to lower this risk. After damage happens, condo corporations might be responsible for arranging and paying for repairs based on section 89 of the Condominium Act of 1998. However, condo owners still might be held responsible for paying for repairs depending on the circumstances.

Condo Corporation vs Condo Owner Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage might help cover the cost of repairing flood damage, although specific policies can differ. In general, condo owners are responsible for paying for the cost to repair or replace personal items that have been damaged in a flood. Condo owners are also usually responsible for covering the cost of additions or improvements made to the unit due to flood damage. The condo corporation’s insurance coverage is generally used for repairs made to the standard unit after flooding.

Insurance Deductible

When it comes to using insurance coverage for flood damage repairs, keep in mind that a deductible might need to be paid first. The condo corporation is typically responsible for paying this deductible, but this can change based on who was at fault for the flooding. For example, condo owners might be held responsible for covering the cost of repairs if they were responsible for the flood damage that occurred.

Preventing Flood Damage

Taking steps to prevent flood damage can help you avoid the hassle of figuring out who is responsible for arranging and paying for repairs. If you’re a condo owner, this might mean keeping plumbing fixtures in good condition, such as having clogs or leaks handled promptly before flooding can happen. Fire sprinklers can also cause flooding in a short amount of time, so having a fire sprinkler shut off tool on hand is important. This tool allows you to shut off fire sprinklers right away before they’re able to cause damage.

Contact Us for a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

If you need a fire sprinkler shut off tool to help prevent flood damage, contact Shutgun today. We can help you find the right tool to protect your home or business from flooding.

Causes of Non-Weather Water Damage

Water-damaged properties are most commonly associated with inclement weather, but you might be surprised to learn just how many losses are the result of something other than heavy rain. In fact, about 20 percent of all water-damage-related insurance claims are because of something other than rainwater. The good news is that most of these non-weather water losses can be easily prevented with a little bit of preventative maintenance and by investing in equipment such as a sprinkler shut off tool for properties that have fire protection systems.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the leading causes of non-weather water damage.

Top Causes of Non-Weather Water Damage

Plumbing

Water damage can stem from many issues involving pipes and plumbing, and the scary thing about this is that you may not even notice there’s a problem before it’s too late. Hard water can lead to mineral deposit buildup in your plumbing, which can eventually damage the areas around seals or even form a blockage in the pipes. Other plumbing issues tend to be more noticeable. Listen for water hammers or loud banging noises that occur when water is abruptly shut off. If these are too extreme, they could damage the pipes. Check your property’s water pressure too. If it’s too high, it could lead to a greater likelihood of a pipe burst.

Bathroom Fixtures

In a perfect world, bathtubs and showers are properly caulked and sealed to ensure that water stays where it’s supposed to be. Toilets are also sealed to ensure there’s no gap between your plumbing and floor so that water or waste can’t escape the plumbing system. But caulking and seals tend to wear down over time, leaving parts of your property susceptible to moisture intrusion and water damage. To prevent this from occurring, be sure that you’re regularly inspecting the condition of caulk and seals in the bathroom.

Appliances

Water-using appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators with built-in icemakers and more are all susceptible to leaking and causing damage within a property. Make sure to regularly check the condition of hoses and other components that help these appliances connect to the property’s plumbing to avoid water damage.

Sprinkler Systems

It’s estimated that accidental activation of fire sprinklers in a commercial property can lead to $35,000 worth of damage on average – and that’s not even counting the lost profits and productivity from potential business interruption. That’s why a sprinkler shut off tool is so important to have on hand in a commercial property. With this easily accessible, you won’t have to wait for the fire department.

When Can You Claim for Water Damage Coverages on Home Insurance

Having a sprinkler system in your home is a great way to avoid potential issues with fire hazards, but sometimes the sprinkler system can be as problematic, causing significant water damage. Filing a homeowner’s insurance claim can be a pain. One option to help with the amount of damage that can be caused from a sprinkler system gone awry is a sprinkler shut off tool, but if you don’t happen to have one, you can end up with extensive damage that will cost a lot to repair.

What Kind of Water Damage Isn’t Covered By Your Homeowner’s Insurance?

Let’s start by clarifying what kind of water damage is and is not covered by your homeowners’ policy. For the most part, your insurance company will expect you to keep your home well maintained, which means that damage that happens over time due to neglect will be denied. This can include issues such as long-term pipe leakage and seepage from cracks in a roof are not covered. However, accidental breakage or discharge of pipes, sewer backups, storm damage, flooding and sprinkler discharge either accidental or due to a fire are typically covered. What makes the difference is if it’s a sudden influx of water into your property that causes damage.

When to Claim Water Damage on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you’ve only got a little bit of damage, such as a few pieces of flooring, a rug that isn’t very valuable, some drywall or similar areas of concern, you may want to wait on filing a claim. Small amounts of damage may not be worth the hassle of filing a claim or may be less than your deductible. Because your insurance is based on risk, multiple small claims may cause your rates to increase, costing you whatever small benefit you may have gained from the claim itself. For this reason, you’ll want to use your homeowner’s insurance in situations where you can’t cover the repair costs above the deductible.

Using a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool to Reduce Your Total Water Damage

If you have a sprinkler system in your home, you probably know that it can accidentally discharge in a range of situations, from smoky candles to oven fires. However, because you can often deal with these issues, you don’t want to have to wait dozens of minutes for the fire department as each sprinkler in your home drops an average of 60 gallons of water per minute. Instead of having to deal with your insurance company, where water damage claims typically average $35,000, a sprinkler shut off tool turns the water off in seconds, minimizing damage.​​By having a solid understanding of what kind of water damage your insurance will or will not cover, at what point you should claim water damage on your homeowner’s insurance and how you can reduce the total water damage using a sprinkler shut off tool, you can be better prepared in case you need to make a claim. If you’re looking for a quality sprinkler shut off tool for your home, a Shutgun can turn off your sprinklers in seconds, saving tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Pick one up today and keep it handy to help prevent significant damage to your property.

Protect Against Water Escape and Rupture

Emergency sprinkler head water stopper

Water damage to your home or building can cause a significant amount of money to repair. This kind of damage can also cause a number of other problems, such as promoting mould growth, which can lead to health issues. Insurance companies often refer to this as water escape and rupture, and it’s considered the homeowner or property owner’s responsibility to stop it from occurring again. Find out how to prevent water escape and rupture from happening, including using a sprinkler stopper.

What Is Water Escape and Rupture?

Water escape happens when you have water spraying or overflowing in your home or building from fire sprinklers or other water sources. Rupture occurs when fire sprinklers or other systems in your home suddenly burst or tear apart from water pressure problems. If water escape or rupture occurs, you should turn off your water supply right away and have plumbers do repairs as soon as possible. While you might be able to avoid major damage with prompt repairs, it’s important to take steps toward preventing water damage from happening in the first place.

Watch Your Water Pressure

Changes in water pressure can indicate a problem with your plumbing. You should find out what is causing these changes, so you can have the problem repaired to prevent leaks from occurring. Whether you have low or high water pressure all of a sudden in your home or building, have a plumber determine the cause and make any necessary repairs.

Replace Washing Machine Hoses if Needed

Check your washing machine hoses every so often for signs of damage or wear and tear. When these hoses become worn or if they have severe damage, replace them with new ones to prevent water damage from occurring.

 Check Connections and Waterlines

You might be able to prevent water damage when you check for potential problems on a regular basis. Doing this allows you to have problems handled sooner rather than later, so that water escape or rupture won’t happen. You should inspect your waterlines and connections from time to time for signs of potential problems, such as leaks, damage, or corrosion. You should also be on the lookout for signs of leaks that could be happening in walls or ceilings, such as water spots and stains.

Turn Off Fire Sprinklers Immediately

If your home or building has fire sprinklers, keep in mind that they can cause large amounts of water to damage your home in a short time. These sprinklers are supposed to go off when a fire is present, but they can malfunction for many reasons. Sprinkler stopper tools are an important item to have on hand in case this occurs. With one of these tools, you can instantly stop fire sprinklers from spraying water in your home or building. These tools are easy to use and allow you to avoid or minimize water damage.

Find a Sprinkler Stopper for Your Home or Building

If you’re interested in getting a sprinkler stopper for your home or building, please contact Shutgun today. Our fires sprinkler head shut off tools make it easy to turn fire sprinklers off quickly before they’re able to cause severe water damage.