What Do You Do If Your Sprinkler Won’t Shut Off?

According to one recent study, quick response fire sprinklers can release between eight and 24 gallons of water per minute when activated. Obviously, this is a good thing if an actual fire is present – but when you also consider the fact that approximately 90% of all sprinkler activations are accidental, you begin to get an idea of how this can go from a mild inconvenience to a major disaster so quickly.

But thankfully, all hope is not lost. If your sprinkler system is activated and you can’t seem to get it to shut off, there are a number of options available to you to prevent long-term damage. You just need to keep a few key things in mind.

Shutting Down Your Sprinkler: What You Need to Know

In the event that your sprinkler suddenly won’t shut off for whatever reason, the first thing you need to do is locate your shut-off valve. This will allow you to cut the water to the sprinkler without actually turning off the water in your entire home. Trace your sprinkler system back to its source and turn the shut-off valve clockwise to stop the water flow to the sprinkler head in question.

Note that depending on the age of your system, you may be dealing with a backflow prevention device with its own unique type of ball valve. This, too, can be used to cut off the water in the event of an emergency. When the ball valve is open, it should be parallel to the water pipe it is attached to. Turn the handle clockwise to stop the flow of water at this point.

Once the water is off, you can safely determine the cause of the issue and take any maintenance steps that may be necessary.

The Importance of Having a Quality Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

When dealing with a fire sprinkler system, in particular, it’s also important to know that there are tools you can purchase to help cut the water to malfunctioning heads or even to entire zones as quickly as possible to avoid damage. Our fire sprinkler shut off tool the Shutgun is one such example, allowing you to shut off an activated fire sprinkler in a matter of seconds.

It’s compatible with not only pendant fire sprinkler heads but also upright heads, wall-mounted heads, semi-recessed heads, and more. It offers convenient, one-hand operation (allowing it to be used safely from a ladder) and simply having one within reach BEFORE you need it could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars in water damage, all while making sure that your environment still remains protected in the event of a fire.

If you’d like to find out more about the important steps you’ll need to take if your sprinkler won’t shut off, or if you’d like to learn more about our innovative fire sprinkler shut off tool that is trusted by homeowners around the world, please don’t delay – contact Shutgun today.

4 Reasons Fire Sprinklers Fail

Fire sprinklers are meant to be used as a safety feature that helps prevent fires from spreading. Although they are important life-saving features, they can end up being activated when there are no fires present. This can result in a significant amount of damage that can cost property owners thousands of dollars or more. Learn more about why fire sprinklers might fail, and consider investing in a fire sprinkler shut off tool to help protect your property from damage. 

Defective Sprinkler System

A fire sprinkler system that has a defective component or damage to any part of it can fail. This is one of the least likely causes of fire sprinkler failure, though, since these systems are generally dependable when they’re installed correctly and regularly inspected. Fires are among the most common causes of damage to sprinkler systems. If your building has had a fire, it’s important to have your fire sprinkler system thoroughly inspected. This can help lower the risk of having fire sprinklers going off at other times when there isn’t a fire.

Hazards Involving the Sprinkler System

In some cases, defects or changes to areas that involve or affect sprinkler systems can cause them to activate when there are no fires around. For example, any changes that affect the way water is distributed in the building might cause a fire sprinkler system to go off on its own. Problems with the way the building was constructed and issues involving passive fire protection can also lead to fire sprinkler system failures. Setting up fire barriers and firewalls can help improve a fire sprinkler system’s reliability. A fire sprinkler shut off tool can help if these systems activate without a fire present in the area.

Inadequate Fire Sprinkler System

Fire sprinkler systems must be adequate enough to provide protection based on the building’s contents. Regular hazards typically don’t require the same amount of adequacy as high hazard materials or contents. If the type of contents being stored changes over time or if other changes create situations where the building has higher hazards, the fire sprinkler system should also be updated or upgraded as needed. Failing to do so can cause problems with the fire sprinkler system’s ability to operate properly.

Problems with the Water Supply and Maintenance

Issues with the water supply system, such as valves being damaged or improperly installed, can have a big impact on a fire sprinkler system’s operation. For example, maintenance on the building’s water supply might involve closing off valves in some areas. Problems with water pressure in other areas could also affect the fire sprinkler system’s ability to work as intended. Keep in mind that routine inspections and maintenance on the fire sprinkler system are an important part of ensuring that they’re able to operate properly. Not doing so can cause part of the system to fail when it should be working or become activated when there are no fires in the area.

If you’re looking for a dependable fire sprinkler shut off tool for your building, please contact Shutgun to learn more about our products. Shutgun is designed to shut off fire sprinklers immediately if they’re activated for reasons other than fire.

Water Damage Restoration Cost

Water damage is one of the sneakier types of destruction that can happen to a property. It doesn’t take much to cause a world of financial trouble. Restoring water damage means first extracting the water, performing a thorough cleanup, and fixing any structural issues that were left behind. It’s why a sprinkler head shut off tool can save you thousands of dollars (and migraines). The best way to avoid water damage is to take as many precautions as possible.

A Wide Range

The average cost for water damage is around $3,000 for an average-sized home. A six-bedroom mini-mansion with a built-in sprinkler system could cost far more, while a tiny patch of damage in a basement might cost far less. In general, though, standard drywall damage and the repainting of the affected areas will generally run several thousand dollars. We’ll look at the cost break-downs per room for a better idea of the individual costs.

Roof

Water damage to a roof doesn’t just affect the exterior shingles, but also the flashing and potentially even the ventilation. Expect to pay about $6 for every shingle for a 500 sq. ft roof. As an aside, this is a good reason to get your roof inspected regularly as the damage likely can’t be seen from the ground.

Kitchen

The drywall in a kitchen generally costs around $55 for each sheet. If it’s a plaster wall, you’re likely to pay around $60 per-square-foot. Linoleum or vinyl floors will be about $1,000 for every 200 square feet of damage. Given the number of pipes in the kitchen, it’s especially important to protect the walls and floors from potential water damage.

Bathroom

One of the biggest costs that you’ll come across for a bathroom leak is for the damage it does to the ceiling. If it seeps through the second floor to the ground floor, you’re going to pay around $250 for each 10’x10′ area. A gray water leak that is contained in the bathroom will typically cost the national average of $3,000.

Laundry Room

The biggest expense in the laundry room is always going to be the washer and dryer. Replacing these will cost $3,000 alone, and you’ll also have to account for potential structural damage or electrical system malfunction.

Basements

Basements can have water damage for years without anyone realizing, resulting in anything from deterioration to mold. Mold removal can cost around $1,500 for professional removal, which is highly recommended for unventilated areas.

A Better Solution: Purchase a Sprinkler Head Shut Off Tool

Water damage can affect everything around the home, including your doors and windows. The above are just some expenses that might result from water that went rogue. One way to prevent this from occurring is to have the right sprinkler head shut off tool that can be operated with just one hand. For $60, a Shutgun can be stored near your fire extinguisher as a simple solution to cut off the water at the source.

How to Stop a Fire Sprinkler

Your fire sprinklers are effective tools that prevent injuries and property damage caused by fire. But, did you know that, 90% of the time a fire sprinkler is triggered, there is no fire? Fire sprinklers can be set off accidentally by human error or equipment malfunctions — in fact, the NFPA reports over 30,000 unintentional sprinkler activations a year. When this happens, gallons of water streams out of the activated sprinkler every minute, potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage. The time that you spend chasing down shut off valves or waiting for the fire department is time that water is streaming down on expensive equipment and furnishings. This is why you need a solution in place. A fire sprinkler shut off tool can save you from hunting for the water shut off valve and allow you to stop the sprinkler in seconds, reducing costly flood damage and clean-up.

Ways to Stop a Fire Sprinkler

Fire sprinklers are fed by pipes that have shut off valves placed periodically throughout the system. If you do not have a tool to shut off the sprinkler directly, you’ll need to shut off water at the source. Every system is different, so the first step would be to contact your sprinkler system’s manufacturer. If you are unable to reach them or if they do not have the information you need, water would have to be shut off at the main, which is usually located outside the building.

Alternately, a fire sprinkler can be shut off using a tool like the Shutgun. The Shutgun allows you to target the specific sprinkler that has been accidentally activated, fixing the problem in seconds. Shutguns are easy to use and compatible with a wide range of sprinkler types.

Why You Need a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool on Every Floor

It’s not always enough to buy a single Shutgun. While you are running for the elevator or the stairs, around sixty gallons of water is pouring out of the triggered sprinkler head every minute. Often, the water that supplies the sprinkler head sits in the pipes for months or years, gathering mildew and debris. The clean-up from several minutes of sprinkler shower can be substantial.

By adding Shutguns in the same spots you keep your fire extinguishers, you can be prepared to respond quickly to an emergency, whether that event is a fire or an accidental fire sprinkler activation. The sooner you are able to shut off an errant fire sprinkler, the less water damage and interruption you are likely to face.

There are a number of Shutgun models available to suit different organizations’ needs. Smaller businesses can buy the basic model for under $60. Larger buildings can benefit from a comprehensive solution like the Compete Shutgun Case. Order your system today to help keep the buildings you are responsible for safe.

Do Sprinklers Need to Be Replaced Often?

Do you keep a sprinkler shut off tool nearby? If you’re the manager of a hotel or other commercial property, having a sprinkler shut off tool at the ready can save you quite the headache in the event of a malfunction. It can save you money, as well, if you’re the owner. Water damage from a malfunctioning overhead sprinkler is swift and destructive, causing thousands of dollars in damage in just minutes. You can cut those damages in half by being prepared. Better, you can alleviate them altogether by practicing sound prevention. Here’s what you need to know.

Sprinkler Systems Are Built for Longevity

Unless you see visible damage or know that damage has occurred, your sprinkler heads should not need to be replaced before the 20-year mark. Twenty years is normal for quick response sprinkler heads. Standard response systems may actually last much longer — up to 50 years. A difference between the two includes the size of the glass bulb. A quick response head uses a 3 mm bulb. A standard response uses a 5 mm bulb. The smaller the bulb, the sooner the sprinkler will activate. Quick response systems are usually used in buildings with high occupancy or high traffic, where multiple people need time to evacuate. These include schools, hotels, and office buildings. Standard response systems are typically suitable for storage facilities and warehouses that are meant more to protect property than people. Regardless, your sprinklers should not need replacing sooner than 20 years after they’re installed unless something such as vandalism or fire takes place.

Sprinkler Systems Require Routine Inspections

It is necessary, however, to inspect your sprinkler heads often and to run tests to ensure they’re working properly. At least once a year, perform a visual inspection on each sprinkler head. Any vandalism, corrosion, or other damage should be noted and repaired. Many property managers actually perform quarterly inspections, just to ensure their systems will be ready in an emergency. Any sprinkler heads that fail the test should be replaced, along with the remaining sprinkler heads within that zone to ensure the safety and proper functionality of the system.

A Sprinkler Shut Off Tool Is a Necessity

While age is the primary factor for determining whether it’s time to replace your sprinkler heads, there are other reasons to replace units:

  • Sprinkler heads have been painted over
  • Heads are heavily covered with dust or contaminants
  • Heads are leaking or damaged
  • Heads protect harsh environments

These heads can fail unexpectedly, even between inspections. Therefore, it’s necessary to keep a sprinkler shut off tool nearby. Having a sprinkler shut off tool on every floor limits the time needed to stop the flow of water in a non-emergency. This can save you and your tenants thousands of dollars in property loss and water remediation services.

If your facility lacks tools to shut down the flow from malfunctioning sprinkler heads, we can help. Contact us today for guidance.

Sprinkler Testing On Quick Response Sprinklers: What You Need To Know

Testing is not only recommended but required on all quick response sprinkler systems, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Quick response sprinklers are those most often used in commercial buildings that cater to multiple tenants or guests. These include schools, hotels, hospitals, and more. Quick response sprinklers have shorter reaction times than standard response units to give people time to evacuate in the event of a fire. If your facility hasn’t undergone a sprinkler inspection in over a year, you could be putting yourself and your occupants at risk. Perform regular check-ups, maintenance, and testing on your sprinkler heads, and have a sprinkler shut off tool nearby so you’re prepared in every emergency.

How to Test Quick Response Sprinklers

To test a quick response fire sprinkler head, it must first be removed from the building. This means calling in a professional testing company. A service associate will come and remove a sampling of sprinkler heads throughout your facility, often from different floors and working environments. These heads will then be taken off-site and tested for compliance. Afterward, new ones will be installed in their place.

It’s good to note that if any sprinklers fail the off-site testing, code requires that all sprinkler heads in that area of your facility be replaced. This is for your own protection and for protecting your occupants should a fire break out. Having old, rusted or corroded sprinkler heads in place, or allowing heads to be painted over or compromised by grease, dust, and debris could mean the difference between life and death. It’s better to have your system regularly inspected and maintained, so you know it will perform well when you need it to.

Testing Prevents Malfunctions

Aside from keeping your sprinkler system in good, working order, routine inspections also help prevent costly malfunctions. Millions of dollar worth of damage occur each year from malfunctioning sprinkler systems in commercial buildings. A malfunction happens when a sprinkler mistakenly activates when there’s no fire. This can happen for several reasons:

  • The sprinkler was installed too close to a heating source
  • The sprinkler was damaged in construction or remodeling
  • The sprinkler was vandalized
  • The sprinkler was old and cranky

A sprinkler shut off tool will stop the flow of water from a malfunctioning sprinkler easily. It can stop thousands of dollars in water damage in the time it takes to pull a trigger. Have one nearby on every floor of your commercial property in the event a sprinkler activates in a non-emergency.For more information on purchasing and using a sprinkler shut off tool, contact us today. We’re the Shutgun experts.

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.