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Top causes of fire sprinkler system failure and preventing it

Commercial fire protection is a priority. Many business owners are affected by the potential damage fire can cause. Business owners invest in the best fire protection services to ensure the safety of their employees and business assets. As per the NFPA, fire sprinklers have proven to be the most successful fire safety device.

Unfortunately, in rare occurrences, a fire sprinkler system may fail due to unexpected errors or circumstances. Although the chances of sprinkler system failure are scarce, provided they are well-maintained and regularly inspected by certified professionals. However, if the sprinkler system maintenance has been neglected and the sprinklers haven’t been used for a long time, there is a higher risk that the sprinkler system may not do its job properly.

Here are some reasons for fire sprinkler failure in commercial buildings.

Frozen pipes

It is a problem that usually affects a water-based sprinkler system. The water remaining in the sprinkler pipes may freeze if the temperature falls below a specific temperature. It may cause the pipe to burst and cause water damage. As per NFPA guidelines, the sprinkler piping should be maintained at or above 40°F to protect the valves from freezing.


Corrosion is among the top reasons for sprinkler failure. Due to exposure to various environmental factors over a long period, corrosion may occur in the sprinkler system’s external and internal piping. It may lead to leakages or cause the valve to get stuck. As per NFPA, a sprinkler system must be replaced if signs of corrosion appear during regular inspections as it can deter the sprinkler system’s performance during an emergency.

Inadequate water supply

If the valve has been turned off during routine system maintenance, building construction, or repair of a plumbing leak and a fire occurs in the premises, it may cause sprinkler failure. Although it is unlikely, if the wet fire sprinkler system does not get enough water supply to extinguish the fire, it may result in devastating loss.

Damaged components like sprinkler heads

Sometimes, fire sprinkler systems fail due to a system defect. This may be caused by damage to sprinkler components such as sprinkler head, pipes, or an operational failure during the activation. These types of failures are usually avoided by regular sprinkler inspection, repair, and maintenance by certified professionals. In addition, you may add small protective cages around sprinkler heads to prevent accidental damages.

Lack of Maintenance

Neglecting regular repair and maintenance may cause a fire sprinkler system to fail. Fire safety regulations by local authorities and NFPA require that commercial establishments, depending on the nature of the industry, must have an appropriate sprinkler system installed.

These failures can be prevented with regular maintenance of the system. Routine sprinkler system repairs are crucial to ensure your commercial fire protection system is equipped to handle any emergency. Therefore, it is recommended to get your fire sprinkler inspected every six months or annually by a certified professional, depending on the state fire safety guidelines. If your sprinkler system has not been inspected in more than six months, contact our certified professionals at FireServ to get your system inspected to prevent failure.

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