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  1. #1
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    Default Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    I never saw fire sprinkler heads located on the exterior of a home before and didn't know what to think of it. But the first thing that comes to mind is how the water supply lines going to the heads could be damaged by freezing temperatures. The house had two of them on the 1st floor and 2nd floor rear decks. The placement of them so close to the a wall seems wrong.

    Thoughts???

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    "Thoughts??"

    You mean other than ... do you have to build a fire under them to keep them from freezing closed?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Rick Maday's Avatar
    Rick Maday Guest

    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    It's probably a dry pipe system, where water doesn't fill the pipe 'til called for. If it's not it should be!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Maday View Post
    It's probably a dry pipe system,
    Had not thought of that, most sprinkler systems I see are wet systems.

    Nonetheless, though, as Nick said "heads could be damaged by freezing temperatures" - I was thinking about a wet system having water in the head and freezing, however, the head itself could have water remaining in it from being tested (all sprinkler systems are supposed to be tested with water, not just air), and that could cause problems with the heads because of freezing, or, maybe even the heads themselves could be damaged from freezing temperatures - I'm just not sure.

    As far as its location goes, it would depend on the the sprinkler head spray pattern, not sure if they make one for mounting that close to a side wall, but they might.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Rick Maday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Had not thought of that, most sprinkler systems I see are wet systems.

    the head itself could have water remaining in it from being tested (all sprinkler systems are supposed to be tested with water, not just air), and that could cause problems with the heads because of freezing, or, maybe even the heads themselves could be damaged from freezing temperatures - I'm just not sure.
    In a previous life I had a bit of experience with temperature sensors which weren't listed for "fire", but rather "overheat conditions". From what I recall (from some "fire" guys I knew), sprinkler heads, once activated, are destroyed and cannot be used again. That was a long time ago, though and technology may have improved since then. Also, testing with water *should* not lead to a problem if the heads/pipes are dried properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    As far as its location goes, it would depend on the the sprinkler head spray pattern, not sure if they make one for mounting that close to a side wall, but they might.
    The location does seem odd, and you are correct about the spray pattern being the determining factor. I think this is one of those that would be outside the scope of a typical home inspection, due to the complexities of testing/verifiying various fire extinguishing sytems.

    Last edited by Rick Maday; 01-12-2008 at 09:02 AM. Reason: forgot the "end quote"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    I've heard that some AHJ are now requiring them as such at exit locations or exit corridors.

    It should be a dry system as Jerry mentioned.

    If its a wet, it could freeze or be subject to vandalism.

    Say someone decides they would like to place an object with fire against the outside sprinkler head causing those in the house to go off and cause damages.

    Just a thought.


  7. #7
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    ... Say someone decides they would like to place an object with fire against the outside sprinkler head causing those in the house to go off and cause damages. Just a thought.

    Naaahhh. You think anyone would want to go and do something like that?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    I've heard that some AHJ are now requiring them as such at exit locations or exit corridors.

    Say someone decides they would like to place an object with fire against the outside sprinkler head causing those in the house to go off and cause damages.

    Just a thought.
    Only the affected sprinkler heads would go off (only those where the heat would open the solder link or break the bulb.) All the heads would not go off because one opened up. Most of the time the fire is controlled by one or two heads. Makes for good TV when every sprinkler head goes off at the same time. 20+ years as a firefighter though and I can tell ya, it don't happen like that.
    As far as where its mounted, it doesn't appear to be proper, there should be a deflector to direct the waterflow down. And while you do test with water the system should be designed and installed so that there is a low spot in the system for the inspectors test & drain.

    Last edited by Alton Darty; 01-12-2008 at 02:45 PM. Reason: forgot something

  9. #9
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Nick,

    I have found many of these systems (in this area) to be charged. The system is filled with Glycol or Glycerine dependent upon the type of Piping used.

    If the Pipe is Blazemaster CPVC (or any type of CPVC) defer it for further review.

    There was a problem with many of the Communities in this area using Glycol in CPVC Systems causing Failure of the CPVC Piping.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Joe,

    From the BlazeMaster Dos and Don'ts list: (underlining is mine)
    - Don'ts

    Do not use edible oils such as Crisco® as a gasket lubricant.

    Do not use petroleum or solvent-based paints, sealants, lubricants or fire stop materials.


    Do not use any glycol-based solutions as an anti-freeze.


    Do not mix glycerin and water solution in contaminated containers.


    Do not use both Teflon® tape and thread sealants simultaneously.


    Do not use solvent cement that exceeds its shelf life or has become discolored or gelled.


    Do not allow solvent cement to plug the sprinkler head orifice.


    Do not connect rigid metal couplers to BlazeMaster® CPVC grooved adapters.


    Do not thread or groove BlazeMaster® CPVC pipe.


    Do not use solvent cement near sources of heat, open flame, or when smoking.


    Do not pressure test until recommended cure times are met.


    Do not use dull or broken cutting tool blades when cutting pipe.


    Do not use BlazeMaster® CPVC pipe that has been stored outdoors, unprotected and is faded in color.


    Do not allow threaded rod to come in contact with the pipe.


    Do not install BlazeMaster® CPVC pipe in cold weather without allowing for expansion.


    Do not install BlazeMaster® CPVC pipe and fittings in dry systems, unless specifically listed for such use.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Exterior Installation of Fire Sprinkler Heads

    Thanks Jerry for the additional info.

    The Company related to the problem installations (in this area) is no longer in business (reportedly bankrupt).

    Many of the problematic systems are still in place throughout many communities. I have inspected 2 homes in the last year with Failures related to the Blazemaster CPVC system piping.


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