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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Can Your Fire Sprinkler System Cause Water Damage?

10/27/2020 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler systems in commercial buildings are a must to keep a building protected should a fire break out. However, many commercial buildings have outdated sprinkler systems that may cause more harm than good if not properly maintained and inspected. So many of the older buildings might remain in compliance with adequate sprinkler fixtures but fail to take into consideration the aging of these pipes and their ability to fail with time, causing water damage.

What happens when fire sprinkler systems age

First, it’s important to understand that not all fire sprinkler systems are the same. Some systems accommodate a force-fed water supply designed to quickly extinguish flames. That’s ideal for getting a fire out, but a rupture of the lines could cause a significant amount of damage.  Some of the older sprinkler systems did not get designed to be force fed water when there was no emergency in the building. Instead, when these pipes break or rupture, you are only emptying out the current contents of these pipes instead of an endless supply from your service lines. Even with this lessened condition, the network of fire prevention plumbing can contain a great volume of water. Aging pipes weaken, and connectors can go back. These and other conditions can lead to a fire sprinkler causing water damage.

Damage beyond just water

One of the biggest concerns beyond the substantial water damage for our SERVPRO team is the liquid itself coming from the pipes. It’s typical that the standing liquid in sprinkler systems is a mixture of water and an antifreeze solution. This chemical varies in thickness and color depending on the system, posing a considerable risk to anything housed in a commercial building. Unlike plain water, this liquid can cause staining, possible damage to materials, as well as possible odor, depending on the level and acidity of the antifreeze solution. That means that even for older systems that may not release a significant amount of water should it break; it can still cause damage.

What SERVPRO can do when a fire sprinkler system bursts

Should a sprinkler system fail, our SERVPRO technicians can get to work quickly on extracting the water and assessing the damage to fabrics, textiles, and carpeting in the commercial building throughout this process. This inspection guides our professionals towards additional cleaning approaches that might be necessary following the drying of the affected areas. Our trained water remediation specialists will focus on extracting the water, assessing the damage, and proposing a remediation solution for the best possible outcome.

Unfortunately, most commercial buildings don’t think about their fire sprinklers until something goes wrong. Making sure systems are functional enough to extinguish a fire isn’t enough. Systems need to be kept in good shape to avoid water damage as well. Even with best intentions, leaks and failures of sprinkler systems may happen. Fortunately, you can trust our SERVPRO of Central Phoenix restoration specialists to help you clean up your commercial property and get back to business as quickly as possible. Give us a call anytime at (602) 386-4268 to help you with all your water damage needs.

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