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How Are Fire Sprinklers Tested

The importance of fire sprinkler systems cannot be understated. They have been proven to be one of the most effective measures in protecting lives and property against fire damage, and in the event of a fire, they are the unsung heroes that act as a first responder on the scene – even before firefighters arrive. Yet, they sit high up on your facility’s walls and/or ceiling, just out of sight enough to become out of mind and escape adequate maintenance. In fact, a 2017 National Fire Protection Association report estimates that up to 22% of times fire sprinklers were reported ineffective after a fire, the problem could have been avoided with regular inspection.

Here at Allegiant Fire Protection, our priority is to make sure you and your building don’t add to this statistic. We take fire sprinkler system inspection seriously, and urge you to do the same so that the unthinkable doesn’t turn into a tragedy that’ll hit your wallet hard. Regular maintenance costs an average of $1,000-$5,000 per year depending on the size of a building, but paying those costs up front are worth it in light of the $20,000 plus dollars you’ll spend on average playing catch up if you neglect to inspect your system adequately as recommended by national guidelines.

Checking your fire sprinkler systems are often a vital part of staying up to code, and you don’t want to get caught off-guard by city inspectors who find out your system isn’t up to date. Clients often ask us how often, exactly, they should have their system inspected, and the short answer is it depends on the needs of the building, the type of building, and the size of the building. You’ll also have to keep local codes in mind when you schedule your professional inspections, as well as complete your own.

In general, we recommend that two types of inspections are performed regularly. Weekly/monthly checks performed by qualified building personnel and Quarterly/Annual inspections performed by a licensed sprinkler contractor. The weekly checks are fairly simple, they should focus on making sure the building has adequate heat (we recommend staying above 40*F), and checking that all control valves are in the open position. The monthly checks are a little more involved. You should perform the same checks as you do weekly. In addition you should also visually inspect the system pressure gauges for consistency, inspect parts of the system that are controlled electrically, and check the control valves as well as system components for visible leaks.

You should schedule your ​professional sprinkler inspections​ quarterly and annually, or at the recommendation of your inspector who will know local codes. During our quarterly inspections, we look over the system as a whole for small defects and test the functionality of all sprinkler system alarm devices. We will also perform a main drain test to ensure adequate water supply to the system. We’ll do the same at annual inspections, but we also perform a full visual inspection of your system. We look for defective heads, rusted, corroded pipes, and any other functionality impairments. The annual checks are more time consuming and require access to all areas covered by the sprinkler system. The inspector will also exercise all control valves through their entire range of motion and perform testing of fire pumps or dry systems if applicable.

The professionals at Allegiant Fire Protection take life safety and the safety of your facility seriously. We know that an improperly working sprinkler system can make a huge difference in injury and casualty counts. Our ​sprinkler system inspection​ and testing schedule is determined by the local code, building occupancy type, and the system’s components. Our NICET-certified technicians follow the requirements outlined in National Fire Protection Association’s code NFPA 25, along with any additional local codes to ensure your peace of mind regarding your facility’s sprinkler system. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call today and discuss your sprinkler inspection options.

Allegiant Fire Protection LLC​, delivers exceptional fire protection services to businesses throughout the greater Chicago area. Services include the design, installation and service of fire alarm systems, as well as offsite alarm monitoring. The firm’s NICET-certified technicians also inspect and test all life safety systems. Allegiant Fire Protection is a privately held firm located in Aurora, IL. For more information about our services, call 630-506-5535 or visit us online at ​allegiantfire.net​.