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.

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