When Jack Frost Arrives, Will Your Dry Sprinkler Systems Be Ready?
Last year Jack Frost had some fun in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in an unusually cold and snowy winter. The freezing temperatures wreaked havoc on dry fire sprinkler systems across the region that had accumulated water and condensation in pipes.
Dry sprinkler systems are commonly used in areas where the pipes might be exposed to freezing temperatures, such as unheated warehouses, parking garages, or industrial facilities. Draining the low points in these systems before the weather gets cold is essential to prevent any residual water from freezing and expanding—which could lead to pipes leaking, cracking, or bursting.
Learn more about dry sprinkler systems, how to identify if you have one, and all the reasons it's necessary to drain low points in your system before Jack Frost comes to town.
At PSI, our factory-trained and NICET-certified technicians provide comprehensive fire and life safety services—monitoring, testing and inspecting, system maintenance, installations, and code compliance consultations—all under one agreement. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Dry Sprinkler Systems
Dry sprinkler pipes are typically found in exposed and uninsulated areas such as parking garages. They are pressurized with air that holds the water back from the main water line. When a sprinkler is activated, the air is released, which allows the water to flow through the pipes and out the sprinkler head.
Dry pipes are monitored by a fire alarm system via air pressure switches that will alert you in the case of a leak in the system when the pressure is unusually low, however, moisture and water may go undetected. Throughout the year water vapor builds up inside the sprinkler piping, this vapor condenses and collects on the walls of the pipes.
The system’s piping is designed to drain to various low-point drains (see image) through the building. This water collects at the low points and will freeze if exposed to freezing temperatures. This water can go undetected by electronic monitoring and visual inspection until it’s too late.
To prepare for winter, a fire sprinkler technician will check and drain the low points of the system where drains are located to dispose of the condensation.