How to turn off fire sprinkler?

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We have two freeze prone areas at work. They have a glycol system. The pipes are filled with an anti-freeze solution and there is a reservoir tank attached to it also in the last heated section. This was recommended by both the sprinkler company and the insurance carrier.
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On 6/26/2011 9:08 AM, Ned Flanders wrote:

The dry systems I'm familiar with had compressed air dryers for the compressors to keep moisture at a minimum. I've repaired many a compressor and air dryer system. The dry air was to prevent the exact problems you mentioned. An engineer I was working with on the first indoor cooling tower type setup in The Southeast, bumped a sprinkler head with his hardhat and lucky for us it simply leaked so I tend to believe the things are quite tough as far as resisting water hammer.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Around here, all new dry fire suppression systems must be tested for a minimum delay from when the sprinkler head is tripped to when the water starts spraying at the furthest head. This testing guarantees the system will be wet inside. Blow the lines all you want but you will never get all of the moisture out.
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On 6/26/2011 9:57 PM, Ned Flanders wrote:

I suppose I should have written that the air dryers minimize the introduction of more moisture from the compressed air source. I'm curious as to how often the time to spray water has to be tested? Is it a one time certification or is it an annual test? I know the guys from the fire protection company don't want water pooling in the unheated warehouse sprinkler systems so I don't what their procedures are but I've taken automotive antifreeze and blown it through pneumatic systems that were freezing up in cold weather. If it was extremely critical, I'm sure they could blow denatured alcohol through the system to get rid of residual water like I've done on some pneumatic systems. I'll have to ask one of the guys about it. I guess a fire would melt an ice plug? :-)
TDD
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wrote:

+1 to the fire melting the ice plug...
Although you would want to take every effort to prevent the ice plug from forming as ice is pretty strong and can do interesting things in pipes with the sprinkler heads installed facing downwards... So it is more of a maintenance issue for preventing the heads from blowing out and causing a nuisance discharge...
~~ Evan
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On 6/29/2011 1:39 PM, Evan wrote:

I could have sworn I've seen the sprinkler heads pointing up in a lot of warehouses and industrial buildings. It could be for protecting them from the goofy forklift driver of for making sure no residual water collects in them and freezes. Once again, I'll have to ask one of the guys from the Fire Protection company. It makes sense to do that in an unheated building and I have seen different designs for the little metal umbrella so there is probably one designed just for the upturned head.
TDD
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wrote:

@TDD:
The different designs of the "little metal umbrella" on the sprinkler head is to control the pattern of the water discharge from the head...
The different shapes create different patterns of spray from the head (like the different heads for a pressure washer) as sprinklers installed in different positions need to spray the water in different directions... Overhead sprinklers versus sidewall mounted, facing downwards versus facing upwards from the piping...
~~ Evan
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Just once when the system is installed. After that it just has to be serviced by a licensed fire protection co.

In the 17 years I lived there both systems tripped many times due to malfunctions, accidental contact, vandalism, and car fires. Keeping the pipes dry would have been a hell of a challenge.
After a watching the fire prevention company a few times. I could pretty much have the system drained and compressor back up and running.
All they had left to do was blow out the low points one final time, shut the main valve from the city water, drain the diaphragm check valve and pressurize it from the sprinkler side, open the valve to the city water, and sign off on it.
One time the malfunction was caused by a flaw in a seam of a pipe. The pin hole got progressively bigger until the compressor could not keep up. The system tripped (naturally on the weekend). By the time the fire prevention guys got there on the Monday the small hole was about a centimetre in diameter and the water was gushing out.
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On 6/29/2011 9:43 PM, Ned Flanders wrote:

Darn, defective pipe. I saw a lot of that 20 years ago when I was working for a big construction corp. when the black pipe came from third world countries because they had the best price. There were all sorts of pinholes and casting flaws in the pipe and fittings. I have to wonder how long that stuff lasted.
TDD     
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+1 to what Nate said...
The expenses involved in all the additional sensors as well as the special valves that each "dry zone" needs as well as the dedicated air compressor for each zone required and emergency power to feed it are enough of a barrier to reserve the use of "dry sprinkler" systems to sections of a building where environmental concerns like freezing temperatures are a factor in the fire protection system design like loading dock areas, parking areas and entry ways and stairwells which are unheated...
~~ Evan
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On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 17:58:11 -0500, The Daring Dufas

thanks for pointing this out. I used to wonder about that. Wondered how the other heads knew to start. Now I see that they don't.
P&?M?

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wrote:

Get you facts straight! Dry pipe sprinklers are only used were there is a danger of freezing. They are more expensive to maintain because the condensate traps have to be drained monthly. The compressor for the piping air adds cost and the differential dry pipe valve is much more expensive than the Alarm Check Valves used on wet pipe systems. Preaction only systems are only found were the damage from water might well exceed the damage from a fire. Examples include museums, historic library collections, fur storage, paper supply storage, and similar occupancies. If you are thinking of a combination preaction dry pipe system those are extremely rare and are found only in areas exposed to freezing that are so large that an ordinary dry pipe system would take too long to deliver water to the fire. -- Tom Horne
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On 6/30/2011 10:02 AM, Tom Horne wrote:

I think we clarified that in later posts. I've only seen dry pipe systems in commercial/industrial settings.
TDD
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On 06/25/2011 02:46 PM, bob wrote:

Typically the sprinkler risers are in the stairwells, with the floor control valves on each landing. HOWEVER - if you are not a firefighter, fire marshal, or sprinkler contractor, you probably don't want to touch those valves, unless you like having legal problems. The valve controls all the sprinkler for the whole floor, therefore if the fire is out in your apartment but not in your neighbor's, and you cut the water off, well, you get the idea.
I too share your concern on a visceral level about having all that pressurized water in pipes above all my valuables, but honestly, the sprinkler system is probably better maintained than the domestic water supply. So long as you don't bust a sprinkler head (it happens, especially with non-concealed types) you don't have a lot to worry about.
nate
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The code in our state (maybe nation?) is that the sprinkler heads have to be changed every 50 years.
They can go off accidently, but it is very rare. I've seen sprinkler pipes banged by errant fork lift drivers and nothing happened. Except one time, many years ago. To guys were done for the day and were racing back to the charging station. They had the stand up type of lift and were playing Chariot race, like Ben Hur. One went under a mezzanine with his fork partly raised and he took out a 3/4" pipe. Lots of water in the storeroom that night.
At our business, they put in a new system in parts that had no sprinkler and changed out some 50 year old heads. Never had one go off. The system is tested twice a year.
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Maybe if you bang the pipes, but if you hit the head there's a good chance.
I've seen it happen several times, once in a hotel room where somebody hung a clothes hanger on the head. (Doh!)
That little glass piece is fragile - it handles a good compressive load but any sideways pressure will trip it, and an impressive amount of water will come out.
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@Nate:
What you are discussing in the stairwells is NOT the sprinkler riser pipe but merely the fire hose standpipe riser which is an entirely separate feed down the the fire pump room in the building (and in some buildings the riser pipes are dry and require a fire pumper truck to hook up at the external connection point after the engine has established a water supply from a fire hydrant to feed water into them) to allow the fire crews to obtain water to fight fires on the upper levels without having to drag hoses in from the ground floor...
Typical fire hose standpipe risers are 4" to 6" in size... The main sprinkler piping in a building is generally 8" (small building) or better with main supply pipes serving large sections of the building being at least 12"...
~~ Evan
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On 06/29/2011 02:28 PM, Evan wrote:

Around here generally the floor control valves and the hose valves are tapped off the same pipe, or at least that's what I'm used to seeing.
nate
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@Nate:
That is a poor design -- that means that when serious sprinkler work needs to be done (like replacing a floor control valve or the like) the whole building (including the standpipe risers) needs to be shut down and drained... Leaving the entire structure with no fire water supply...
~~ Evan
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wrote:

That's no ampersand, THIS ('&') is an ampersand. ;-)
'@' is an "at sign", "commercial at", or "atmark".
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