Residential Fire Sprinklers: Freeze Prevention

Residential Fire Sprinklers have become abundant throughout Maryland as legislation now requires them in new construction. As temperatures drop to all time lows, it is important to prevent residential fire sprinkler pipes and other pipes in your home from freezing.

How...
  • As pipes are exposed to long periods of freezing temperatures, water inside the pipes will freeze and expand the pipe to the point of breaking.

  • Once the water freezes and breaks the pipe, the fire sprinkler system will be useless in the event of a fire.

  • The expanding ice can cause a pipe fitting or sprinkler head to crack but the ice will block the flow of water while it is solid. Water damage will not be apparent until the ice melts.

Tips to Prevent Freezing...
  • It is important to have sufficient insulation and adequate heating during the winter months. Cold air can enter concealed spaces through gaps in sheathing or insulation and find a way into pipe chases and soffits.

  • Leaving faucets open to just a trickle will help prevent freezing pipes.

  • Leaving sink cabinet doors open will allow the heat to circulate through the pipes.

  • Hose faucets on home exterior should be turned off.

  • In attics, pipes should be placed as close to the ceiling as possible with insulation placed over them.  No insulation should be placed between sprinkler pipes and conditioned spaces.

If your pipes break...
  • If a sprinkler pipe or plumbing pipe bursts ensure that the location of the water shut off valve  and the proper method to turn it off is known.  Contact a professional immediately to begin repair. It is recommended to test residential fire sprinkler systems regularly to ensure it is in working order to prevent rupture and flooding.

© 2016 by Maryland Life Safety Information Exchange.