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Restaurant Fire Sprinkler Maintenance

Fire sprinkler maintenance is a must for restaurant owners intent on keeping their establishments safe throughout the year. A closely followed maintenance schedule can help you prevent accidents in case your sprinkler system ever malfunctions. You don’t want to find out about a failure of your system the moment a fire breaks out, do you? Of course not. That is why a checklist is in order.
Here are a few tips from our fire sprinkler experts to help you keep your business safe and save money as you work to maintain your valuable fire protection system.

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1.Schedule Regular Inspections

No matter how busy you are, you should find time to fit in regularly scheduled inspections. These checks of your fire sprinkler components are a necessity if you hope to keep your system in excellent working order. These inspections can save you money in the long run that you might otherwise spend on repairs or replacement. A well-maintained fire sprinkler system starts spraying when it should to put out dangerous fires fast.
If you don’t schedule regular inspections, you really have no idea what will happen on the unfortunate chance that a fire does occur. An inspection schedule example might include the following.

  • Weekly Inspection

    • Gauges and Control Valves:

      Inspect the gauges on dry, pre-action, and deluge on a weekly basis, and ensure you get a normal read on air and water pressure. The control valves should be checked closely to make sure they are free of leaks. The valves should be locked, properly sealed, and left in the open position.
      When you are finished, ensure your valves include signage so that anyone can identify what parts of the sprinkler system they control.

  • Monthly Inspection

    • Gauges and Control Valves:

      If your restaurant employs a wet pipe system, check that the water pressure is maintained and that there is no sign of physical damage. Check the alarm valve for damage, too, while you’re at it.

  • Quarterly Inspection

    • Valves:

      Each quarter, make sure the valves your system employs are easily accessible, in excellent condition, and that they bear no signs of physical damage. Place all valves in the normal open or closed state and check to determine that the valve is sealed, locked, and adequately supervised. The valves should also be free of leaks and properly labeled.

    • Alarm devices and hydraulic nameplate:

      Every three months, check that your alarm devices and all accompanying components are free from physical damage. The hydraulic nameplate should be secured to the sprinkler riser and clear as day to read.

    • Gauges:

      Each quarter take a look at your gauges to keep them free of physical damage. Replace them if damage has been sustained. For wet system gauges, check that normal water supply pressure is properly maintained. For dry system gauges, make sure the water pressure is normal and that the gauges on low air or nitrogen pressure alarms are inspected on a monthly basis.

    • Fire Department Connections:

      Add to your quarterly inspections a check of all fire department connections. The connections should be visible with no damage and the gaskets should be working with no breaks or leaks.

    • Pressure-reducing and relief valves:

      Finally, inspect your pressure-reducing valves and relief valves to check for physical damage and assess leaks. Take care that the hand-wheels are installed and not broken, and that all are placed in an open position.

  • Yearly Inspection

    The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that you have a licensed technician inspect your fire sprinkler system on a yearly basis to keep your building safe. Your quarterly inspection should be repeated each year, along with a few extra tasks.

    • Sprinkler heads:

      Check all the sprinkler heads and the pipes they are connected to. While you’re at it, inspect the fittings on the floor level to ensure they are holding properly. To prevent any downtime, ensure that you have extra sprinkler heads on-hand, along with the tools to replace them.

    • Dry pipe valves:

      If you have a dry pipe system, every year you will want to inspect the interior of the components while resetting the device. Next, test the main drain waterflow and check for changes in the water supply piping.

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2.Understand How Your System Works

If you are unsure how the gauges and control valves work, you can’t do a proper inspection, nor will you be able to conduct the necessary maintenance when needed. To get the most out of your system, educate yourself on every component of your fire sprinkler system uses to keep your business and people safe. You will want to learn about gauges, control valves, alarm devices, hangers, pipes, sprinkler heads, antifreeze solution, pre-action/deluge valves, backflow prevention components, the main drain, and the water flow alarm.

3.Flush Your Sprinkler System to Keep Pipes from Freezing

For restaurants that operate in areas where the weather gets to below freezing, you will want to conduct a dry-pipe flush. You will also want to take a few steps to keep your pipes from bursting due to a deep freeze. For example, check to determine if the pipes are at the correct pitch. Doing so can prevent standing water, which can then freeze. If the pipe isn’t at a pitch you prefer, re-pitch it and install drum drips if you haven’t already.When you install drain drips, keep them drained on a weekly basis to prevent standing water. Every three years, you will want to test your dry pipe sprinklers to ensure nothing is blocking the pipe. This will help to keep your fire sprinkler fully operational, even in frigid weather.

4.Replace Components on Schedule

Certain fire sprinkler components should be replaced or tested every so often. These include:

  • Gauges:

    Your fire sprinkler gauges should be replaced or at least tested every five years. These inspections should be conducted by a licensed fire sprinkler technician so that the system can be calibrated properly.

  • Sprinkler Heads:

    Replace all the heads on your fire sprinkler system every fifty years. If you have “fast response” sprinklers, you might want to replace them every twenty years to be on the safe side.

5.Know How Much Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance Costs

When you receive a quote from a fire sprinkler maintenance company, you never quite know if the estimate you are given is fair. The only true way is to shop around. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $1000 and $2000 or more for internal fire sprinkler inspections. The fees you pay will depend on the size of your facility and number of sprinkler systems.

6.Know what To Look for in a Fire Sprinkler Maintenance Company

With the level of importance that a fire sprinkler system delivers to your business, you can’t afford to trust your maintenance services to a bunch of amateurs. Aside from weighing the costs of regular inspections and fire sprinkler maintenance, you should look for the following qualities when assessing the ideal service for your restaurant business.

  • Trustworthiness

    You put a lot of faith in a company when you hire one to maintain your fire sprinkler heads and components. How do you know if the technicians are doing a good job? To set your mind at ease, ask plenty of questions and ask yourself if you trust the answers you receive. Sometimes it all comes down to trusting your gut. If you feel that you cannot put your faith in the company to ensure your sprinkler heads will act when required, then continue your search. You’ll thank yourself later.

  • Professionalism

    From the initial visit to the website or phone call to the office, you should be greeted with pleasantries and treated like a VIP. If you feel uneasy because of the way you are treated, once again, trust your gut. You may find that the technicians show up unprepared or in plains-clothes sporting bad attitudes.
    Instead, only work with representatives of a company who treat you with respect and who make every effort to ensure your satisfaction.

  • Knowledgeability

    Ask lots of questions when you first assess a fire sprinkler maintenance company. Find out if the person you are speaking to understands your type of system and what it might need for adequate maintenance and service. If your questions stump the representative, keep moving along. The ideal company representatives know all about fire sprinkler systems and the components that make them work. These experts know all the worst-case-scenarios and can put the necessary elements into action to keep your system working properly at maximum performance.

  • Customer-First Mentality

    Does it seem like the representatives of the company are more concerned with their needs than yours? Do you get the feeling that you are valued as a customer? These are important questions to ask. All companies appear to put customers forward, but it’s only when you ask pressing questions does the selfishness arise out of some. For instance, if you make a special request, such as to do the work on Sunday instead of Saturday, does the representative scoff or is every effort made to abide by your wishes? Make sure you are a priority with the company you select or else the level of service may decline as time goes on.

  • Parts-Ready

    If your sprinkler system requires parts, will your regularly scheduled service be delayed? The ideal company won’t force you to wait for one moment. Your fire sprinkler system needs to be able to act at a moment’s notice. Putting service off can cost you valuable time and can lead to untold amounts of destruction if a fire were to break out.
    Before you start working with a maintenance service, ask the representatives a few of these worst-case scenarios, such as: What happens if a valve breaks and we need one replaced fast? Or, what if one of the pipes springs a leak during a particularly busy shift when the fryers are super-hot?
    The ideal company will be ready with parts if needed to offer equipment replacement when you need it most. Being able to replace your fire sprinkler components rapidly can save you time and money while keeping your restaurant and everyone inside absolutely safe.

  • Recommended

    Before you begin working with a fire sprinkler inspection and maintenance team, ask for referrals. A reputable company won’t hesitate to provide them, so you shouldn’t receive any pushback. Calling any referrals you are offered is an excellent way to find the ideal maintenance and repair service. Make sure you actually call and speak to the business owners when you are given one or more referrals. The more you call, the better ideal you will receive of the company in question.

  • Committed

    When you call for maintenance and service of your fire sprinkler system, you should be greeted with enthusiasm to help right away. The company should be quick to schedule you for yearly or quarterly inspections, or any other service you require.

Call Now for a Free Estimate

Nationwide Fire Protection does take a customer-first approach and we want to help you maintain a healthy fire sprinkler system that works just when you need. With regular inspections and the ability to supply parts quickly, we are the service to turn to when you want sprinkler service you can trust.
We work with all types of quality sprinkler systems and can help no matter how intricate your kitchen layout happens to be, or how many sprinkler systems you employ. Let us set your mind at ease with regular maintenance and service by experienced technicians you can trust.
Call now in Denver, Colorado

, and tell us about your fire sprinkler components and the service you need. We are sure to find a maintenance schedule that works for you, and one that will keep your sprinklers on constant ready just in case fire rears its ugly head.

read more about: Sprinkler Systems Are Only One Line of Fire Defense