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Residential Sprinkler System Maintenance

What does NFPA 13d Require for Maintenance on Sprinklers Systems in the Home?

Residential sprinkler systems are now showing up in more homes due to local ordinances and the requirements set forth in NFPA and the ICC.  It seems that the questions on maintenance of the system becomes a key part of the discussion when looking at the system.  NFPA 13d maintenance requirements are different then a NFPA 13 sprinkler maintenance, and there are many resources available to help the inspector as well as the home owner.

NFPA 13d refers the user to section 4.2 Maintenance.

4.2.1   The installer shall provide to the owner/occupant instructions on inspecting, testing, and maintaining the system.

4.2.2   Operated or damaged sprinklers shall be replaced with sprinklers having the same performance characteristics as the original equipment.

4.2.3   Any sprinklers that have been painted outside of the factory shall be replaced with a new listed sprinkler.

4.2.4* Antifreeze Systems.   Before freezing weather each year, the following procedure shall be performed:

  1. Solution in the entire antifreeze system emptied into convenient containers
  2. Solution brought to the proper specific gravity by adding concentrated liquid as needed, or a new solution be prepared, in accordance with 8.3.3
  3. System refilled with the new or remixed solution
The tendency is for the user to utilize NFPA 25, although the scope of the standard would advise:NFPA 25, (2008 edition) 1.1.3   This standard shall not apply to sprinkler systems designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.

Lets take a look at a common example based on the code sections listed above.  Most new construction utilizes a mulit-purpose system and are considered “wet” systems.

The home owner would need to ensure:

  • Any open or defective sprinklers (painted sprinkler) are replaced with the sprinklers based on the design.  This typically would be completed by a sprinkler contractor.
  • Ensure the water supply to the system is on.
  • Keep a record of the monthly inspection
  • Check your smoke alarm to!

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has provided great resources to be utilized by every home owner.  This includes multiple hang signs that the contractor can give at the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.  Its that easy!

This video gives a great view of the needed maintenance on the system, it is really this easy!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Tim Rogers July 10, 2009, 8:44 am

    The only problem with 13D maintenance as far as we are concerned is that we can only suggest to the owner that they maintain to this code unless there is something in place to get past 4th Amendment issues. For 13 and 13R systems, the properties are commercial in nature and the owner has to follow the codes as far as inspection and maintenance are concerned. For 13D systems, we’re in the same place as smoke detectors, exit drills and fire extinguishers in the home. We can present the information, but the homeowner has to want to take the initiative to get it done (and spend the money.) As we see more of these systems and start running incidents involving them, report writers need to be filling in the section on sprinklers in the NFIRS reports as to presence and actions of the systems in relationship to the incident. This data will show us if we’re doing any good.

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