If you live in a new home in the Houston area, you more than likely have a fire sprinkler installed. Fire sprinklers are an indispensable resource for keeping your home protected from fire 24/7, mostly because they work automatically without you having to do anything!
Most of the time, your sprinkler system is supplied by the water main, the part of your plumbing system where water enters your house. The sprinkler itself connects to the Water Main, so when it goes off you’ll know its drawing water from a reliable source. In some systems, the water also flows through a Backflow Valve that will force the water to move only in one direction. Water flow is controlled by the appropriately named Control Valve, a valve on the pipe that allows you to turn the water flow on and off.
Since it directly controls water flow to your fire sprinkler, the Control Valve is one of the most important parts of your sprinkler system – you want to make sure it is open at all times! When the control valve handle is in line with the rest of the pipe, the pipe is OPEN. If the valve handle makes a corner with the pipe, it’s closed. Most sprinkler systems will come with a padlock to keep the valve locked in the OPEN position. If you ever find the valve turned to the closed position, make sure you turn it back on immediately so your sprinkler will always be able to protect you from fire.
Obviously, it’s crucially important to keep your fire sprinkler protected against anything that could damage it or impede its operation. First of all, never hang anything from your sprinklers. The only thing holding the water back from flooding your home is a small, fragile piece of glass – you don’t want to risk anything breaking it! Even lightweight objects can damage your sprinkler, so take care to make sure nothing is hanging from it (also be careful when moving tall objects near your sprinkler heads!).
You also want to make sure nothing blocks the flow of water in the event the sprinkler head opens. Keep pictures and large furniture away from wall sprinklers, and hang lamps and plants away from ceiling sprinklers. Finally, don’t paint over your fire sprinkler heads. If you are planning on painting, keep the sprinkler heads covered with plastic – just don’t forget to uncover them once you’re done!
Once a year, call a fire protection company to perform a flow test on your fire sprinkler system. They will open your test drain and leave it running for about 60 seconds to make sure the water is flowing adequately.
If you have questions about your Houston fire sprinkler, or if you want to schedule your annual flow test, call Kauffman Co today!
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