Most cities, counties and states require commercial businesses to have their fire sprinkler systems inspected on an annual basis. This helps ensure the sprinkler system is functional should a fire break out. However, if your business has never undergone one before, you may be wondering what will be inspected and why. Here is a bit of information that will help you determine what you can expect during your annual fire sprinkler inspection.
A Visual Inspection
The first thing that will occur when a company comes to inspect your fire sprinklers is a visual inspection. During this process, the inspector will visually inspect the exterior of your fire sprinkler system. This includes the sprinkler heads and lines or piping that carry water to those sprinkler heads.
During this inspection, the inspector will be looking for signs that there may be something amiss with the system. Such signs include rust, signs of moisture, cracks or obvious leaks. If one of these issues is observed, a repair will be needed.
Additionally, an inspector will verify clearance requirements when doing an annual inspection. The clearance requirements vary based on the city, state or county you reside in. But generally speaking, there must be around 18 inches of space between the sprinklers and any boxes, displays or other stored items in your building.
Lubricating the Valves
Another important step that will be performed during an annual fire sprinkler inspection is the lubricating of water valves. These valves play an important role should your sprinkler system need to be turned on and, as such, lubricating them annually is very important.
The water valves allow water to flow into the piping or turn water off when you want to shut the sprinklers off. Over time, the valves dirt and dust can buildup around the valves, making them difficult to turn. If you need to turn your sprinklers on quickly in an emergency, even a few seconds can be vital. Lubricating the valves helps ensure they can easily turn should you need to do so.
Testing the Flow Switches
The flow switches on a fire sprinkler system help regulate how much water flows into the sprinkler system. Too little or too much water affect the amount of pressure that comes out of each sprinkler head. In turn, this can affect the system's ability to put out a fire, should one occur.
During an annual fire sprinkler inspection, an inspector will test the flow switches and determine if the switches are allowing in the appropriate amount of water. Based on their tests, they may adjust the flow switches.
Checking For Proper Signage
The last thing that an inspector will look for when completing an annual fire sprinkler inspection is looking for proper signage. The exact signs that will be needed for your fire sprinkler system vary based on the jurisdiction your business is located in. However, generally speaking, you are required to display instructions on how to operate the system and when the system was last inspected.
The fire sprinkler inspector will know what signage is needed based on the location of your business and ensure those signs are in place. This can help you avoid a fine should a fire inspector visit your location.
If you have never had an annual fire sprinkler inspection, you may not know what to expect when you have your first one. Learning what an inspector will look at and why will help you to better understand the process. If you have any questions about what an inspector is doing and why, be sure to ask. They can help answer any specific questions you have related to your system.