Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Condo Flood?

Flooding is a nightmare for many homeowners, especially those who live in a condo where the actions of other people in the building could have direct consequences on their own property. Here’s what you should know about who can be held responsible for a condo flood and the one tool you need on hand as a condo owner to prevent accidental flooding caused by fire sprinkler systems.

Condo Flood Liability 101

Contrary to popular belief, a condo owner is only responsible for water damage from a flood in their home, that is caused in another owner’s home, if it was their own negligence that led to the flood. For example, if a condo owner on the second floor of a building had a toddler who was left unsupervised and allowed to stuff a sock in the toilet, the condo owner below them with water damage on the bathroom ceiling may be able to obtain compensation for the cost of repairs.

However, if the flood was caused by something outside the second floor condo owner’s control, such as a burst pipe in the kitchen, the first floor condo owner would need to file a claim with their own homeowner’s insurance carrier.

What Happens If There’s a Flood?

A condo flood can originate from a variety of different sources. For example, a burst pipe, a clogged toilet, and a tripped fire sprinkler system are all things that can cause flooding and subsequently extensive water damage. Many people think burst pipes are the most common cause of serious floods, but fire sprinklers are of particular concern in condos.

Did you know that just one fire sprinkler can dump up to 60 gallons of water per minute once the system is tripped? Most residential sprinkler systems have about two sprinklers per room, unless the space is large, such as an open kitchen and living room design. Typically, only the sprinklers in the room the fire is in will trigger, unless the fire spreads. This means that even a small kitchen fire can trip about 2 to 4 sprinklers, emptying roughly 120 to 240 gallons of water every minute.

In a situation where there’s a fire that is handled, but the sprinkler system was triggered, or where you’ve simply bumped the sprinkler and caused it to go off, waiting for the fire department to come shut it off can have disastrous consequences.

How to Prevent Flooding With a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

While not all types of flooding from various sources can be prevented, one thing you can do to protect your condo and belongings — and your liability to other owners in your building — from water damage is to own a fire sprinkler shut off tool.

The Shutgun is an innovative sprinkler shut off device that is designed to be quick and easy to use. Models are available for both traditional and concealed sprinklers, and a variety of attachments is available to adapt the Shutgun to different uses. It requires very little training to operate, meaning anyone can learn to use it quickly, even if they’ve never operated the tool in an emergency situation before. The Shutgun is the world’s most popular and effective fire sprinkler shut off tool on the market today. Get yours now.

Water Damage is Costing Homeowners Billions

a condo owner surrounded by multiple buckets catching water from an activated fire sprinkler

When many people think of home or commercial water damage, they might immediately associate it with a weather-related event. And while flooded properties are a common aftereffect of inclement weather, it might surprise you to learn that more insurance claims are being filed for non-weather-related water damage. And one of the costliest causes of water damage in commercial properties just so happens to be malfunctioning fire sprinklers, which underscores the importance of having proper safeguards — such as a fire sprinkler shut off tool — handy.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why non-weather water damage is on the rise and what you can do to protect your property. Here’s a look:

Property Water Damage Trends

It’s estimated that about 1 out of every 50 homes file a water damage claim each year, with the average cost coming in at just under $7,000. However, large, commercial losses are on the rise — and when these occur, the price tag is much more significant. We’re talking upwards of $500,000. In fact, according to a report from the Insurance Information Institute, these large losses have doubled in number over the last several years — and many of these losses are not weather-related.

The reason for this uptick is largely infrastructure-related. Plumbing systems are aging in many properties and leaks are going undetected. In other cases, water damage is completely accidental. For instance, if a commercial property’s sprinkler system inadvertently activates and cannot be shut off quickly, it could cause a flooded mess. The good news is there’s a fire sprinkler shut off tool to help with this.

The Value of a Fire Sprinkler Shut Off Tool

It’s estimated that a single fire sprinkler can release 60 gallons of water every minute. That’s more than an average size bathtub full of water. What’s more is that for every minute a sprinkler head is spewing water, about $2,000 worth of water damage is incurred. But the real issue is how long it could potentially take to shut off a sprinkler. Often, it’s the fire department that carries out this task — and it may take tens of minutes for firefighters to arrive at the scene.

The good news is that there’s an easy-to-use tool in the Shutgun available to quickly and effectively turn off activated sprinkler heads without having to rely on the fire department. When you consider that 90 percent of all fire sprinkler activations are accidental or inadvertent, it’s a tool that’s worth having on hand. Not only will it significantly reduce the amount of any claim that is filed, but it will also make any cleanup efforts far more manageable, permitting businesses to avoid any costly interruption. Even for just peace of mind, the Shutgun can be a valuable tool to have on hand.For more information on how damaging an accidental fire sprinkler activation can truly be and why the Shutgun fire sprinkler shut off tool can be such a valuable accessory in such situations, contact Shutgun today.

Condo Water Damage 101

a lady holding and umbrella as her firesprinkler system activates

Water can cause widespread damage to your condo, as well as your neighbours’ condos if it’s severe enough. Your condo can get this kind of damage from leaking pipes, sewer line problems, roof leaks, and more. In fact, you can end up with serious water damage if your condo’s fire sprinklers turn on by accident. Having a fire sprinkler stopper and taking other steps to prevent water damage in your condo is highly important. Keep the following information about this kind of damage in mind.

Dangers of Water Damage

Smaller leaks might not seem like a big deal, but they can cause mold growth inside walls in your building if they aren’t fixed. Bigger leaks can cause more intense damage in a shorter amount of time. With these leaks, such as from burst pipes or fire sprinklers, you might have serious damage that could cause structural damage due to wood rot. Major water damage can also ruin your household appliances, furniture, and other items. When you live in a condo, you also have to worry about water from your place causing damage to your neighbours’ condos.

What to Do If You Have Water Damage

If water is leaking in your condo, it’s important to have it repaired right away. If you know where your water shutoff valve is, you should turn this off to help stop water from flowing into your condo. Stay away from appliances, electrical outlets, and other sources of electricity in the affected area to reduce the risk of shock. If possible, remove furniture or other items that can be damaged from the area. Keep in mind that the longer water damage goes on, the higher risk there is of developing serious problems, such as mold and wood rot.

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Water Damage

There are plenty of ways you can lower the risk of having water damage in your condo. Making sure smaller leaks in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and other areas are fixed promptly helps prevent gradual damage from occurring. Check for puddles, wet spots on walls, water stains on ceilings and walls, and other signs of a leak in your condo, and have repairs done as soon as possible. Larger leaks should be repaired immediately to reduce the risk of severe and widespread water damage.

Prevent Condo Water Damage with a Fire Sprinkler Stopper

Fire sprinklers can spray large amounts of water in your condo in order to put out fires. However, these sprinklers sometimes malfunction or turn on when they’re not supposed to. When this happens, it’s crucial to shut them off as quickly as possible to prevent severe water damage. A fire sprinkler stopper provides an effective way to turn these sprinklers off fast. Having one or more in your condo is a good way to protect your home from water damage.

If you need to purchase a fire sprinkler stopper to reduce the risk of condo water damage, please contact Shutgun. Our products are able to turn fire sprinklers off right away to stop water damage from occurring.

Important Facts to Know About Water Damage Caused By Fire Sprinklers

Water damager after flooding in house with furniture floating.

While it’s important to have fire sprinklers in your building in case of a fire, these sprinklers can cause water damage when they malfunction. In some cases, fire sprinklers might turn on accidentally if they’re damaged. Even though fire sprinklers are a crucial part of protecting your building from fire, you should be aware of the damage they can cause. Keep the following facts about fire sprinkler water damage in mind, and consider protecting your building with a sprinkler shut off tool

Fire Sprinklers Can Cause Flooding

When fire sprinklers come on when there is no fire present, they can lead to flooding inside buildings. Floods can cause a significant amount of damage to building interiors. In severe cases, they can make buildings structurally unsound or lead to mold growth, which is a health hazard. How are fire sprinklers able to cause flooding? These sprinklers are designed to spray water that is under a high amount of pressure. This can cause widespread and serious water damage in a short amount of time.

Fire Sprinklers Can Malfunction for Many Reasons

What might cause the fire sprinklers in your building to turn on if there isn’t a fire? Several things can cause fire sprinklers to turn on accidentally, such as being installed improperly or becoming overheated if they’re in a hot part of your building. Corrosion and freezing are other conditions that can cause fire sprinklers to turn on when they shouldn’t. Damage caused by human error can also cause fire sprinklers to malfunction, such as accidentally bumping them. These sprinklers can also be tampered with, resulting in a higher risk of having them malfunction.

Water Damage Requires Prompt Care

When fire sprinklers begin to cause water damage, it’s essential to prevent this damage from getting worse. In mild cases, you might only need to allow an area to dry using large fans. In more serious cases, you might need professional help from water restoration experts to lower the risk of extensive damage. More severe cases of water damage often require special tools and equipment to ensure proper drying and a reduced risk of mold growth. You should also make sure you have a way to stop fire sprinklers from continuing to run when your building does not have a fire. Doing this can help prevent water damage.

Emergency sprinkler head emergency water stopper

A Sprinkler Shut Off Tool Can Prevent Water Damage

Water damage from fire sprinklers can cost you a significant amount of money to repair, so it’s important to protect your building. A sprinkler shut off tool offers a simple and effective way to turn off fire sprinklers when they’re activated by accident. With these tools, you can quickly stop fire sprinklers from soaking your building interior and leading to mold growth and other moisture problems.If you need more information on how a sprinkler shut off tool can help protect your building from serious water damage, please contact Shutgun. Our sprinkler shut off tools are able to turn fire sprinklers off right away when no fire is present.

Performing Routine Spring Maintenance on Your Fire Sprinkler System

Close up image of fire sprinkler on white. Fire sprinklers are part of an integrated water piping system

Spring cleaning is a popular concept for the home, but what about in the office? Spring maintenance is a great way to keep certain key systems and machinery ready in case of emergency. You don’t want to find out during a fire that your alarm system or sprinkler is not working correctly.

When it comes to sprinkler maintenance, spring is the right time to identify and solve any issues that may have cropped up over the winter.

Check Your Smoke Detectors

You should test every smoke detector throughout the building more than just once a year. So, this is a great task to add to your spring to-do list for sprinkler maintenance. This will include CO2 detectors and could even include other alarms in your building. If they don’t catch the signs of fire, your sprinkler system will have no chance of working.

Look Over the Sprinkler Heads

Do a visual check of your sprinkler heads. Obvious things, like having them blocked or having anything hanging from them, should immediately be changed. Note any heads that look visibly damage or have been covered with something, like paint, dust or other contaminants. You will want to bring up all damaged heads to your expert when they do an inspection.

Have an Expert Inspection Done on Your Sprinkler System

Hire an expert to help you make sure the system is in good working order. During the winter, there is a possibility that the heads and sprinkler piping could freeze over. The spring is a good time to look everything over and adjust things as needed.

Repair or Replace Faulty Heads

Making the necessary changes can be a pain, but it’s crucial for keeping the building safe and protected. You don’t want a faulty sprinkler head if you can help it! Repair or replace damaged and old sprinkler heads before they become a problem, and you will save thousands of dollars.

Have a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool Readily Available

There are times when a sprinkler head fails, even after passing inspection. While a sprinkler head not turning on in the case of a fire is bad, a sprinkler head not turning off can be a huge problem too. A faulty head that comes on without warning or won’t turn off can do a lot of unnecessary water damage to the space.

A single sprinkler releases 60 gallons of water per minute.

Heads can fail without warning, even if you are getting regular inspections. A sprinkler shut off tool on every floor will allow you to quickly turn off the sprinkler head if there is ever a need. Just like any other emergency tool, this item should be readily available and people within the building should know where they are at and how to work them. This can save thousands of dollars in property loss if something goes wrong.

If you don’t have the right tools on hand to instantly shut off a faulty sprinkler head, we can help. The Shutgun is the world’s leading sprinkler shut-off tool and can turn off sprinkler heads within seconds. Get yours today!

Important Fire Sprinkler Requirements For Commercial Buildings

Employees, customers, and visitors count on business owners to do their due diligence when it comes to safety. To prevent serious injuries, sprinkler systems can go a long way to protecting everyone under your proverbial umbrella. These tools can also save expensive equipment, preserve critical documents, and keep merchandise intact. Yet it’s important to consider the potential ramifications of these systems — particularly if they’re accidentally tripped. Learn more about the codes, and how a sprinkler stopper can be a wise investment for your business.

NFPA 13

This is the official national standard for the installation of sprinkler systems, and the most widely used guidelines. You’ll still need to check with local regulators to learn more about specific codes in your area, but this is a good place to start.

Here are a few highlights from NFPA 13:

  • Any building higher than 55 feet will need to install an automatic sprinkler system.
  • Fire pumps are recommended to improve the pressure of the sprinkler system (if working with a non-pressurized water tank or an insufficient municipal system).
  • Water supply control valves need to be easily accessible.

Fire Area

A fire area is defined as a floor area that is bound by fire barriers. You can generally think of this as the total area of the space. New commercial buildings with a fire area of more than 5,000 square feet are required to have automatic sprinkler systems. This includes buildings that have been newly renovated to expand past the 5,000 limit. The same rule applies to a single-tenant expansion that increases a fire area beyond 12,000 square feet.

When it comes to fire areas in commercial buildings, owners need to be aware of the kind of property they own. We tend to think of these as office and retail spaces, but they can also apply to certain kinds of homes. For instance, a townhome that contains more than two units per building will need a sprinkler system.

Sprinkler Systems

The objective of a sprinkler system is to detect heat and immediately provide water to either mitigate the fire or eliminate it entirely. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for fires to ramp up before the water reaches them. This is why pumps are highly recommended in certain cases. A weak stream of water will do little to extinguish roaring flames. Early suppression means more people can safely exit the building and give firefighters more access to any stubborn parts of the fire.

Protecting Your Business with a Sprinkler Stopper

Under NFPA 13, your sprinkler system has to provide maximum coverage. This is great when there’s a real fire but devastating if you have any kind of unintentional activation. Instead of dealing with thousands of dollars worth of damage for no real safety benefit whatsoever, spending $60 on a sprinkler stopper like a Shutgun is a more cost-effective solution. Easy to use and typically stored with the fire extinguisher, it just takes one hand to stop water damage in its tracks.

Top Causes of Fire Sprinkler Leaks

Did you know that fire sprinkler heads cause an average of $35,000 in damage when activated? Many Canadians learn this the hard way after someone in their building accidentally activates a sprinkler head, and they can do nothing but watch helplessly as they wait for the fire department to arrive. Our sprinkler head shutoff tool allows home and business owners to turn a sprinkler head off within seconds. Before we describe how it works, we think it is important to understand the main causes of water leaking from the fire sprinkler head.

Damage to Heads and Pipes of Sprinkler Head

Sprinkler heads can sustain damage when forklifts, ladders, or other types of construction equipment strike them while workers complete a project. Unfortunately, vandalism is a leading cause of sprinkler head damage as well. The best way to protect your sprinkler head from accidental or intentional damage is to surround it with protective netting.

Fire Sprinkler Equipment Failure

Fire sprinkler manufacturers produced approximately 35 million defective O-rings more than 20 years ago, some of which still remain in Canadian businesses. With exposure to water contaminants, the O-ring on a fire sprinkler can leak and corrode. Sprinkler heads not prepared or installed properly can also develop problems with leaking. Improper manufacturing of the sprinkler head itself contributes to this issue as well.

Sprinkler Head Corrosion

Your sprinkler head may corrode over time due to moisture exposure or a lack of oxygen. Here are the most common indications of sprinkler head corrosion.

  • Discolored water
  • Foul odor similar to a rotten egg
  • Obstruction somewhere on the sprinkler head
  • Rusting

If you notice these signs, it could be a warning that you will soon start seeing water leaking from the fire sprinkler head. You may want to contact a fire safety inspector to determine the exact cause of the leak.

When Sprinkler Heads Freeze

Heating system failure is a leading cause of sprinkler heads freezing, but this can also occur for several other reasons. Placing a sprinkler head too close to a window can cause it to freeze and leak from the cold exposure. Be sure to remind everyone in the building to close all windows at the end of the day. You may also want to complete a walk-through to make sure that no one forgot and make sure that all closed windows have a tight seal.

What is a Sprinkler Head Shutoff Tool?

Shutgun offers a tool that allows firefighters and maintenance personnel to turn off an activated sprinkler head using only one hand. The one-hand feature improves your safety when you use Shutgun while standing on a ladder. Shutgun has a fusible link that releases at a temperature of 73 degrees Celsius or 164 degrees Fahrenheit. If a fire does break out, Shutgun ensures that the building remains protected while awaiting assistance from the fire department. We recommend placing a Shutgun sprinkler head shutoff tool near every fire extinguisher in your building for easy access in case of accidental activation of a sprinkler head.Feel free to contact us with additional questions or to order Shutgun for your facility.

How to Disable a Fire Sprinkler Head

Emergency sprinkler head emergency water stopper

Fire sprinkler heads are invaluable because they’re designed to quickly shower a room with water in the unexpected (and unfortunate) event of a fire. But at the same time, irresponsible use of these sprinkler heads could render the entire system ineffective for the one job it was expressly designed to do. At that point, it’s more than just a minor inconvenience – lives are literally at risk. That, in essence, is why a sprinkler shut off tool is so important.

You can’t expect every last person in a business to know exactly where the fire sprinkler room is. Even if they do, they probably don’t know how to find the right value to shut off the sprinkler head in question. The room itself may be locked – leading to a situation where time is being wasted when every moment counts.

But thankfully, a sprinkler shut off tool is a lot easier to use than most think. You just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way.

Using a Sprinkler Shut Off Tool: Breaking Things Down

The most important thing to understand about these types of tools is that most – including the Shutgun – work with a wide variety of activated sprinklers that you may find in a place like an office. This includes but is not limited to not only semi-recessed sprinkler heads, but also pendent heads, horizontal sidewall heads and upright heads, to name a few.

Shutgun attached to the training and demonstration unit

To disable your fire sprinkler head, first insert the adjustable jaws of your shut off tool into the frame of the head that has been activated for whatever reason. As you do so, take care to make sure that the rubber pad of the tool engages with the orifice in a full and secure way.

At that point, all you have to do is pump the trigger on the shut off tool until the water stops flowing out of the head. Then, you can engage the proper employees to get into the fire sprinkler room to shut the system down in a more appropriate manner.

Shutgun for concealed water sprinkler heads attached to a mounted sprinkler

If you’re using something like a concealed head shut off tool, the process will be slightly different. Here, you’ll need to insert the probe on your tool into the head of the sprinkler at an angle. Then, rotate the tool so that the pressure jaw is positioned inside the head’s diffuser arms. The probe itself should be pointing towards the orifice of the sprinkler and the pistons should be parallel to the diffuser arms.

So long as the pressure jaw has engaged the diffuser, you can then pump the trigger so that the probe enters the sprinkler head. Continue to pump the trigger until the water stops flowing. If you’d like to find out more information about how to disable a fire sprinkler head using a sprinkler shut off tool, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.

Sprinkler Pipe Leaks Due to a Freeze

a close-up picture of frozen outdoor faucet

Although they can be readily stopped by a high-quality sprinkler stopper, it’s best to stop sprinkler pipe leaks before they start. And the best way to prevent sprinkler pipe leaks this winter is to protect pipes against freezing.

In addition to surrounding sprinkler system pipes with appropriate exterior insulation, you should follow the advice of wise building owners everywhere by diligently draining pipes of water before any hard freeze. Furthermore, you must regularly check pipes for cracks and leaks, addressing all damage in a timely fashion with appropriate repair procedures. For more information on ways to avoid pipe freeze damage and repair issues as they arise, check out the expert advice of the Pulitzer Prize-winning news and information website SFGATE.

How Frozen Pipes Can Lead to Sprinkler Pipe Leaks 

Simply put, subfreezing temperatures place uninsulated and poorly maintained sprinkler pipes at considerable risk. Within the rigid confines of a pipe, water simply has nowhere to go as it turns to ice, expanding significantly while doing so. While this expansion generally won’t cause a break in the sold surface of the pipe itself, it will readily lead to damaged joints and intersections, stretching them apart and making them spring free-flowing leaks

While underground sprinkler piping benefits from the natural insulation of subterranean soil, piping and valves positioned above ground are extremely susceptible to freezing. This creates considerable issues for fire system sprinkler systems, which generally require a significant amount of above-ground infrastructure.

Special Considerations for Fire Sprinkler Systems 

In addition to subjecting all pipes to regular maintenance and repair, the fire sprinkler stopper company Shutgun recommends taking preventative measures in high-risk areas such as corridors and stairways. If these areas are not consistently and reliably well heated, the pipes within them must be adequately insulated. Shutgun also identifies freezing pipes as one of the most common reasons that a fire sprinkler system will activate.

Address Pipe Leaks with a Quality Sprinkler Stopper

Within a few minutes of fire sprinkler activation, you can suffer water damage that may cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. While preventative pipe-freezing measures are an absolute must, a high-quality sprinkler stopper is essential when the unthinkable happens.

Built to be compatible with fire sprinkler systems around the globe, the Shutgun family of fire sprinkler shut off devices can stop water flow from virtually any fire sprinkler in a matter of seconds. These devices even work on sprinkler heads that are concealed and semi-recessed as well as those that have been broken or sheared. Extremely safe and easy to use, Shutgun products allow a single person to shut off just about any active sprinkler head using only a single hand.

For More Information

If your building isn’t protected by quality sprinkler stopper equipment, you may be placing your property at significant and unnecessary risk. To find out more about how to protect your building from frozen pipes and other common problems, contact a skilled and knowledgeable Shutgun representative today.

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Do Fire Sprinkler Heads Expire?

Fire sprinkler and red pipe on white ceiling background

Fire sprinkler heads play a crucial role in stopping the spread of fires inside buildings. However, they need to be in good condition in order to do this. It’s important to know whether or not fire sprinkler heads expire and when they should be replaced. Keep in mind that having a sprinkler head shutoff tool offers a handy way to turn off older or malfunctioning sprinkler heads that come on when no fire is present.

Importance of Having Reliable Sprinkler Heads

Fire sprinkler heads are designed to last for several decades. However, they are subject to develop wear and tear over the years. These sprinkler heads can also become damaged, causing them to work ineffectively. For example, they might turn on when there’s no fire or smoke around. This can lead to water damage, mold problems, and other damage unless you’re able to turn them off immediately with a fire sprinkler head shutoff tool.

Wear and tear or damage could also make it harder for fire sprinkler heads to work properly and come on when there is smoke or fire. Having unreliable sprinkler heads puts your tenants and building at serious risk of injuries and major damage. While sprinkler heads might not have a specific expiration date, you should consider their age and condition, especially if they have not been maintained regularly.

Fire Sprinkler Head Age and Condition

You might not be able to tell if your fire sprinkler heads should be replaced just by looking at them. In some cases, damage isn’t evident, but it can be present. For example, interior components of sprinkler heads can have damage that prevents them from working properly. In other cases, visible signs of damage or wear and tear are easy to notice. Fire sprinkler heads that have corrosion or rust, for example, should be inspected and replaced as needed. Sprinkler heads that have noticeable damage should also be repaired or replaced.

You should try to find out the age of your fire sprinkler heads as well. Knowing how old they are can help you determine when to have them tested. You might also be able to tell if it’s time to replace them based on their age and overall condition

When to Test Fire Sprinkler Heads

How often you should test the fire sprinkler heads in your building depends in part on their type. Extra high sprinkler heads should have tests done every five years, while dry pendent sprinkler heads should have tests done every 10 years. Quick response sprinkler heads need an initial test done 20 years after installation followed by tests every 10 years after that. Standard sprinkler heads should have an initial test done 50 years after installation followed by tests every 10 years after that.

Contact Us for Fire Sprinkler Head Shutoff Tool Details

If you’re looking into getting a fire sprinkler head shutoff tool for your building, please contact Shutgun today. These dependable tools can ensure that you’re able to turn off fire sprinklers right away as needed.

Shoot us a note or give us a call! 1-866-827-8711