Top 5 Reasons Fire Sprinklers Accidentally Discharge

Even with intense, extensive manufacturer testing, sprinklers can spring leaks or accidentally activate. Find out the top five reasons fire sprinklers accidentally discharge.

1. Overheating

Most automatic sprinklers feature a liquid-filled glass bulb. Heat rises toward ceilings, and the hot air causes the liquid in the bulb to expand. When the bulb shatters, it triggers the sprinklers.

This happens during a fire, but if you place the sprinkler too close to a heat source, it can also set it off. Therefore, if you add new heat sources to your property, the sprinklers might need adjustments.

2. Freezing

Freezing temperatures are more likely to cause your sprinklers to leak than accidentally discharge, but the effect can be catastrophic. Sprinklers that use a wet pipe system that constantly maintains water are more likely to leak from freezing.

This is because freezing temperatures can cause ice to form and expand inside the pipes. The expansion causes immense pressure that can break fittings, crack pipes, and force valve caps to open. When the ice melts, the water pours out of these openings.

3. Corrosion

Corrosion is another reason fire sprinklers accidentally discharge. Corrosion occurs when oxygen enters the sprinkler pipes and chemically reacts with the system’s metal and water. Corrosion weakens mechanical parts by thinning the metal across a broad surface or localized pitting. The damage can lead to unplanned water release. And since dry systems are not completely dry, corrosion can happen in both wet and dry pipe systems.

4. Mechanical Damage

Sprinkler manufacturers must demonstrate their products meet high standards, which makes quality an unlikely issue for any system. However, the components of sensitive fire sprinkler systems can incur damage during shipping and installation. After installing sprinklers, contractors should conduct system acceptance and operational testing to ensure proper performance.

Additionally, fire sprinklers in places like gyms, construction sites, and warehouses have a higher likelihood of getting damaged than systems in other locations. If something bumps part of the system and damages the component, it can cause water leaks. And if the sprinkler system sustains a larger hit and a sprinkler head gets pulled off, a large volume of water can gush out.

5. Deliberate Setting-Off

Unfortunately, sometimes people deliberately set off fire sprinklers as pranks or acts of vandalism. To help limit this, place fire sprinklers in hard-to-reach areas to deter malicious and mischievous acts. Sprinkler head guards can also protect sprinklers in locations where vandalism might occur. Fully concealed sprinklers are also an option. These sprinklers are located behind a plate that is mounted flush with the ceiling, making it hard for people to recognize the sprinkler or damage it.

Hire Harris Water Main and Sewer for fire suppression system installation. We will ensure the system in your home or business meets DEP code requirements. Contact us today for your new or replacement system!

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