How to Winterize Your Fire Protection System
Regular maintenance NOW can help prevent costly repairs.
It’s critical for all buildings to ensure their fire protection systems are ready for the harsh cold weather that winter brings. Regular maintenance NOW can help prevent costly repairs from freezing pipes, cracked valves, pipes bursting, flooding, your system not functioning properly when you need it most, and more!
What can you do to winterize your system?
It’s important to inspect your fire protection systems regularly—before the arrival of cold weather as well as check it throughout the winter months. Visually check for leaks, corrosion, the integrity of pipe insulation, dry and cracked wires, or anything that appears out of the ordinary.
Fire Sprinkler Systems:
A small drip can become a flood quickly in winter. FEI recommends that inspection and testing of all dry, wet, and antifreeze sprinkler systems be done before the onset of cold weather. Take some time to inspect the following.
- Verify the Fire Department Connection (FDC) is not full of water and ball drips are working properly.
- Visually inspect attic spaces for wet pipe areas to ensure the required insulation is in place or if it’s been disturbed.
- Check all dry pipe and pre-action systems to ensure they are not flooded.
- Drain ALL low point drains to ensure no water is trapped in the dry systems.
- Confirm proper operation, function, and settings of the air compressor and if applicable, drain any condensation from the air compressor.
- Check valve rooms, pump rooms, stair enclosures, and areas with exposed piping to make sure heaters are operational and no unprotected openings are present.
- Don’t forget to check antifreeze! If there is an antifreeze loop, determine if it is still within the applicable range and if it’s not, replace accordingly.
Fire Alarm Systems:
FEI also recommends checking your fire alarm systems to ensure they are working properly. A few items include:
- Make sure the area where the fire alarm panel is located remains above freezing temperature. Double-check to make sure the heat is working.
- Check the dates on the batteries in the cabinet. If they are over 3 years old, have them replaced by a professional to avoid the emergency service calls—cold weather can be a drain on batteries.
- Make sure all fire alarm internal devices are dry with no exposure to rain or snow.
When in doubt, contact the fire protection experts at FEI!
FEI may provide winterization services as a standalone service call or as part of an annual and/or quarterly inspection services agreement. Contact us today to avoid getting caught in the deep freeze.