September 15, 2022

Nowadays, virtually all commercial and residential buildings in the inner city are fitted with their own fire sprinkler system. These automatic systems are considered to be the first line of defence for buildings in the event of a large fire. As the smooth performance of these systems is integral to the efficacy of any modern fire safety plan, fire sprinkler system maintenance is considered to be one of the most important items on your building’s routine maintenance checklist. 

But what exactly goes into the maintenance of your fire sprinkler system? How often should fire sprinklers be inspected? Whether you’re using a wet or dry pipe system, all fire sprinkler systems must adhere to a strict timeline for maintenance and testing. In fact, scheduling routine fire sprinkler system inspections is a requirement under Australian Standards (AS1851). In other words, building owners or managers must make efforts to ensure that their building’s fire sprinkler system is inspected by the correct technicians, these being certified fire safety specialists. 

We’ll be answering some frequently asked questions surrounding the inspection process, so that you can strengthen your own knowledge on the maintenance and care requirements of this key player in the world of fire safety equipment. 

how often should fire sprinklers be inspected?

How often should fire sprinklers be inspected?

Under AS1851, all fire sprinkler systems are expected to adhere to an inspection timeline that spans the entirety of that system’s usable life. Because of this, a fire sprinkler inspection timeline is naturally going to be dictated by the type of sprinkler system that will be installed.

This is a general inspection and maintenance timeline that you can expect when servicing your own fire sprinkler system:

  • Weekly: check gauges for dry, pre-action, and deluge fire sprinkler systems.
  • Monthly: check gauges for wet pipe sprinkler systems
  • Quarterly (every 3 months): inspect control valves, water flow alarm devices, hydraulic nameplates, and connections to alert fire authorities
  • Annually: inspect pipeworks, spare sprinklers, hangars and fittings for pipes, as well as fire emergency and information signage
  • Every five years: conduct inspections of internal pipework to check for obstructions.

All the different components that make up your fire sprinkler system also need to be thoroughly checked for signs of wear with every scheduled sprinkler system inspection. Most commonly, fire safety specialists tend to look for any signs of rust or corrosion, as well as cracks or dents that could potentially cause leaks. Catching these warning signs early could potentially save you thousands in repairs, replacements, or even rectifying structural damage caused by faulty pipework. 

How often should your fire sprinkler system be tested?

Alongside visual inspections of your fire sprinkler system, your system should also be thoroughly tested to ensure that all components are in good working order. Testing your system is a requirement alongside scheduling routine inspections. That being said, the timeline for testing your system can look a little different to the timeline outlined above for inspections.

Here is a typical timeline for testing your fire sprinkler system:

  • Quarterly (every three months): run physical test on all mechanical devices 
  • Biannually (every six months): testing for vane and pressure switch devices
  • Annually: run physical test on complete fire sprinkler system, including water flow, alarms, and trip tests for automatic systems
  • Every five years: testing of fire sprinkler systems exposed to harsh conditions or higher temperatures. Gauges may need to be replaced at this testing interval as well
  • After 10 years initially, then every 20 years: physical tests for early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinkler systems 
  • After 50 years initially, then every 10 years: physical tests for standard response sprinkler systems.

As you can see, the timeline for testing operates on a far greater span than the timeline for inspections. This is primarily because running physical tests of your fire sprinkler system can be an inconvenience, especially for larger inner-city buildings with hundreds of occupants. The inaccessibility surrounding physical testing of your sprinkler system is yet another of many reasons why sticking to your sprinkler system inspection timetable is of the utmost importance. 

What goes into inspecting different fire sprinkler systems?

Of course, there are different types of fire sprinkler systems, just as there are other methods or tools used for fire protection, including fire hose reels, and fire extinguishers or blankets. So it’s fair to assume that different fire sprinkler systems boast different maintenance and inspection requirements. 

For instance, wet pipe sprinkler systems and most pre-action sprinkler systems, hold water directly in the pipes and use heat-sensitive sprinkler bulbs that are activated by exposure to extreme heat. The breaking of these heat-sensitive bulbs effectively trigger the release of water directly from the pipes and through the sprinkler heads. This differs from dry pipe sprinkler systems, which uses pressurised air or nitrogen to activate sprinkler head valves when a fire is detected. As dry pipes rely on gas or air compression to rapidly guide water flow from a compressed water tank, these sprinkler systems must be checked for gas leaks during inspections.

Similarly, as foam sprinkler systems are fitted with either a foam pump or an additional tank for storing concentrate that is then mixed with sprinkler water to create a foam-based fire suppressant, inspections on these systems require assessing both tanks.

Importance of a technician

With a team of fire safety specialists that have all the right qualifications and experience under their belts, Jetfire’s technicians will be able to provide an in-depth and transparent sprinkler inspection with every appointment you make. 

Our dedicated fire sprinkler system technicians are also accredited and licensed by the Victorian Building Association, meaning that they’re fully aware of necessary safety and maintenance measures required for your building to maintain compliance, as well as the consequences surrounding the failure to do so.

Here at Jetfire, we pride ourselves on offering a thorough fire sprinkler inspection service, alongside being one of your premier local fire protection system suppliers. If you’re already wondering how often should fire sprinklers be inspected, then it is probably time to give us a call. We are dedicated to providing you with full details of the work performed with every callout, and helping you maintain a strong understanding of your sprinkler system’s maintenance requirements and servicing timeline. 

Want to experience the Jetfire difference? Contact us today to book your next inspection or to inquire about any of the other top tier fire safety services we offer.

See Also: What Are The Fire Safety Requirements For Commercial Buildings?

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