Suppose your business has an unheated space or other structure where cold temperatures might cause frozen sprinkler pipes. If so, it might be equipped with a dry-pipe fire sprinkler system. These sprinkler systems are used in settings where temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit can’t be reliably maintained. Unlike wet-pipe systems in which the pipe is filled with water, dry-pipe systems are pressurized with air that holds the water back from your main water line. Once a sprinkler is activated, the air is released, which releases water into the piping network where it then flows to the sprinkler heads. A widespread misconception regarding dry-pipe systems is that they can’t freeze because the water is held back by valves and only released into the system once it is activated. For some easy steps to help you avoid frozen pipes, read on!
How Can a Dry Pipe System Freeze if It Doesn’t Hold Water?
This is a question many fire protection experts get when responding to a call to fix dry pipe systems due to freezing. Water can get into your dry system in two ways. Usually, it happens as a result of activation during routine testing or in response to a fire, which releases water back into the system. The system should be designed with piping sloped to a low point so that after activation , any excess water can then be drained from the pipes. Water can also collect in dry pipes from condensation, which happens when the system is pressurized with air after it’s been activated. There is always a bit of humidity in the air, which is condensed into the water once the air in the pipes is fully pressurized.
Fire Sprinkler Maintenance
The maintenance requirements for a dry-pipe sprinkler system are different from other systems. While a certified technician should always complete routine testing, there are a couple of things you can do yourself to make sure your dry-pipe sprinkler system does not freeze:
- Check all point drains and empty them when necessary. This takes a few minutes and could save you a lot of money.
- Visual inspections can be completed when checking on low-point drains.
- Check the pressure in your pipes daily when the weather is cold to ensure it is sufficient to keep the valve closed.
- Provide additional freeze protection for pipes in unheated spots with insulation to help block the flow of cold air from getting inside the pipe chases and soffits.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are located in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.