Fire Sprinkler Systems
NFPA 25 Requirements (The Basics)
Sprinklers operate automatically in the area of fire origin, preventing a fire from growing undetected to a dangerous size while simultaneously sounding an alarm. Automatic fire sprinklers keep fires small. The majority of fires in sprinklered buildings are handled by one or two sprinklers.

Automatic fire sprinklers are individually heat-activated, and tied into a network of piping with water under pressure. When the heat of a fire raises the sprinkler temperature to its operating point (usually 165ºF), a solder link will melt or a liquid-filled glass bulb will shatter to open that single sprinkler, releasing water directly over the source of the heat.

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The National Fire Protection Association publishes NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.
This document recommends that control valves without electronic supervision be checked on a weekly basis, just to make sure that they are in the open position. Other system components have different requirements. Check with NFPA 25 or the manufacturers' literature for details.
At least four times each year, a full sprinkler system inspection should be performed by a knowledgeable professional. Most sprinkler contractors offer economical long-term service agreements. These contractors can provide you with inspection reports which will comply with your insurance company and local fire department inspection requirements.
How Often Should They Be Inspected?
What are fire sprinklers and how do they work?
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Commonly Asked Questions
Hydrants, Backflows & Pumps...Oh My
What is a Five Year Inspection? And What's Involved?
NFPA 25 Specifies 5-Year Fire-Sprinkler System Obstruction Inspections be done at a 60 month interval.
Piping, valves, and other devices can become obstructed by foreign materials or corrode to the point where they might leak or fail under pressure. In 2002, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strengthened the inspection code requirement for automatic fire-sprinkler systems. In a move that is helping to drive proper maintenance of these critical life-safety systems, NFPA adopted a code requiring that an internal inspection of piping be conducted every 5 years or when conditions indicate the need for an internal inspection. This type of inspection can identify microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), rust, and slime that may obstruct the piping and compromise the system.In Addition gauges must be replaced per NFPA 25 Chapter 5.3.2 NFPA 2002 edition, "Gauges shall be replaced every 5 years or tested every 5 years by comparison with a calibrated gauge. Gauges not accurate to within 3 percent of the full scale shall be recalibrated or replaced."
Who is responsible for flushing fire hydrants each year - the building owner, the AHJ, or the water company?
Generally, when piping enters private property, the property owner is responsible for inspection, testing, and maintenance of piping and related equipment. Piping and equipment on the public side of the property line are generally the responsibility of the water purveyor.
Is it true that sprinkler heads should be replaced if they are corroded or painted?
If there is corrosion evidence of any kind or if it has any paint at the plug area of the sprinkler, it needs to be replaced. The frame is not an area of concern for this.
How often do standpipe hoses need to be re-racked?
NFPA 1962 states that hoses need to be un-racked annually and inspected as described in 4.3.4 (in-service hose shall be un-racked, unreeled, or unrolled and physically inspected as specified in Section 4.6 at least annually; the hose shall be re-racked, re-reeled, or re-rolled so that any folds do not occur at the same position on the hose).
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