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Maintaining Your Home Fire Sprinkler System in Arizona

Home Maintenance Beth Kohoutek July 3, 2024

Maintaining Your Home Fire Sprinkler System in Arizona

Fire safety is a crucial aspect of home ownership, especially in Arizona, where the dry climate can elevate fire risks. One of the most effective ways to protect your home and family from fire hazards is by having a well-maintained residential fire sprinkler system.

Recently, a local client's fire sprinkler system malfunctioned, leaving them with a wet garage. This incident prompted us to question the best practices for fire safety maintenance. Specifically, we wondered if it is required in Arizona to have fire sprinkler systems in private homes inspected annually for insurance coverage. The answer is no. A yearly inspection is not required but yearly maintenance is a good practice.

The Importance of Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire sprinkler systems are designed to detect and control fires in their early stages, significantly reducing the risk of extensive damage and increasing the safety of residents. Scottsdale, a city recognized for its proactive stance on fire safety, has mandated that all commercial, multi-family, and new single-family residences built after January 1, 1986, be equipped with fire sprinkler systems. Fountain Hills adopted this standard shortly after in 1998. These systems have been credited with saving numerous lives both locally and nationally.

Yearly Maintenance Guidelines

Even though the National Fire Code does not mandate annual inspections for residential sprinkler systems after the initial inspection, it is highly recommended to have them checked by a licensed professional yearly. Regular maintenance ensures that your system remains effective and ready to protect your home.

System Maintenance Procedures

To keep your fire sprinkler system in optimal condition, follow these guidelines:

  1. Monthly Visual Inspections
    • Ensure that no objects obstruct the sprinklers, as obstructions can interfere with the water spray pattern.
    • Avoid hanging items from the sprinkler heads.
    • Ensure the sprinkler heads are free from paint and overspray.
    • Do not tamper with or damage the sprinkler heads.
  2. Annual Professional Inspection
    • Hire a licensed company to inspect your system. Look for companies listed under “Fire Protection Equipment” in the Yellow Pages, or contact the company that conducted the last inspection using the tag attached to your riser.
  3. Pressure Relief Valve
    • Do not alter the setting of the pressure relief valve. It is preset at the factory to ensure proper system operation.
  4. Testing and Drains
    • Regularly test your system or have it tested by a professional to confirm it is functioning correctly.
    • Ensure the main drain valve is kept in the closed position.
  5. Cold Weather Considerations
    • Insulate the sprinkler pipes to protect against freezing temperatures.
  6. Replacement and Recalls
    • Ensure any replacement parts are installed by a licensed or certified sprinkler contractor.
    • Be aware of recalls, such as the 2001 Omega Sprinklers recall. If your system includes Omega sprinkler heads, consider replacing them even though the recall period has ended.

Smoke Alarms

In addition to maintaining your fire sprinkler system, don't forget to regularly check and maintain your smoke alarms. These expire every 8-10 years check the date on the back of your alarms. They are a vital part of your home's overall fire safety strategy.

Proper maintenance of your residential fire sprinkler system is essential for ensuring it functions correctly in an emergency. By following these guidelines and scheduling annual inspections with a licensed professional, you can keep your system in top condition and provide your home with robust fire protection. For more detailed information and resources, you can visit your local municipality website or consult the NFPA 25 standards.

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