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Will the Water in My Fire Sprinkler Pipes Freeze?

As long as your fire sprinkler system is installed correctly and maintained regularly, you don’t need to worry about it freezing when the temperature drops outside. If you’re not sure what condition your sprinklers are in, you can take the following steps to give yourself peace of mind in freezing conditions.

Preparing a Wet Sprinkler System for Cold Weather

While brutal temperatures are few and far between in Houston, even at the height of winter, it’s better to err on the side of caution with preventative measures. If you have a wet sprinkler system installed—meaning the pipes are constantly filled with water—do the following:

  • Have your fire sprinkler system inspectedat least every three months, including in the fall before the temperature drops outside. The inspection should ensure the piping is properly insulated so it is not left exposed to freezing conditions. It also ensures the system and sprinkler monitoring are all functioning properly.
  • Have the building’s heating equipment serviced in the fall to make sure it’s in good working order. Sprinklers running through heated spaces may not have insulation. If the heating equipment fails, this leaves the piping vulnerable.
  • Check the condition of the building. Major leaks, broken ventilation or other problems could allow freezing air to enter.

Preparing a Dry Sprinkler System for Cold Weather

If you have a dry sprinkler system—meaning the pipes are filled with pressurized air, and water is only released if heat from a fire opens the valve—have your fire sprinklers inspected by a licensed professional. The maintenance visit should include:

  • Checking the air pressure
  • Operating low point drains to remove any residual water that could freeze
  • Testing the devices that monitor low temperature and system air pressure

Other Considerations

As you optimize your building’s fire sprinkler system, consider these points:

  • Sprinklers running through cold spaces, such as the attic, can be equipped with thermometers you can check remotely.
  • If wet system freezing is a major concern, consider using an antifreeze system or replace it with a dry sprinkler system.
  • Keep the heat in your building set above 40 degrees at all times, even when vacant for long periods.
  • Know where the sprinkler valves are so you can promptly turn them off in the event of a system failure.

With active sprinkler monitoring and maintenance, you can avoid frozen pipes. To learn more, please contact Kauffman Co.

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