A Step by Step Guide to Repairing Leaking Fire Sprinkler Mains

A fire sprinkler water main is a property’s most important defense against a fire. What most people do not think about is if the pipe starts to leak. A leaking fire sprinkler main can become a liability resulting in water damage in addition to a safety hazard. It is important to understand all details associated with fire sprinkler mains, understanding best practices to address and repair leaks as needed.

Safety- Always turn off the water supply at the main control valve when performing internal repairs. External repairs should be handled by a licensed sub-surface water main contractor.

Communication- Both the building and fire department should be made aware that a repair is needed. In addition, the fire department should be made aware if the system will be shut down. This is also known as being on a fire watch.

Locating the source of a leak- On the inside of a building this is a visual observation that should be observed with the naked eye. In some cases, you may need specialized leak detection tools to assist.

External sprinkler main leaks-When dealing with leaks below the sidewalk or roadway, there is a listening device that can be used on the inside of the building. The challenge is that this device is not 100% accurate. The only way to confirm the source of a sub-surface leak is to excavate and observe the leak.

Preparing for the repair- It is always important to make sure you have hired a licensed and insured plumber. It is common that a property owner will hire a non-licensed plumber or a licensed plumber without adequate insurance. This is extremely risky, and, in most cases, it is not worth the risk to save a few hundred dollars.

Once you have identified the right plumber, they should handle all aspects of the work including permits, inspections, and final restoration.

When deciding on repairing your pipe it is important to make the right decision. Repairing a section of the leaking pipe is not always the best solution, especially if the pipe leaks again soon. A few variables to consider include the size of your pipe, age and material. You plumber can advise you of the risk associated repairing the pipe pending these variables.

Once the repair is completed the pipe should be inspected by the DEP for the final sign off. Shortly after the open excavations will be back-filled with dirt and restored per DOT guidelines.

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