Protect pipes, sprinklers from freezing

  • Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Updated Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:49 am

GEORGETOWN COUNTY ó Itís not often that Georgetown County residents experience temperature drops below freezing, and this kind of weather can cause serious problems for those not accustomed to dealing with cold weather related issues.

Midway Fire Rescue has responded to 11 calls recently that are related to frozen pipes, including for fire sprinkler systems. The department urges homeowners and businesses to take necessary precautions to protect water pipes from freezing, including for fire sprinkler systems. Fire sprinkler systems are in place to protect life and property in the event of a fire and they are very effective if working properly, said Midway Chief Doug Eggiman.

When temperatures drop below freezing, areas of exposed piping are susceptible to freezing and can cause damage to the system and/or the frozen water will create an obstruction rendering that part of the system inoperable. As a result, Midway recommends the following to help reduce the occurrences of frozen pipes:

Inspect all areas of your building for potential exposures especially in attics, crawl spaces, voids, between floors, under stairs, and in areas with false ceilings.

Search for areas where drafts can potentially cause an exposure, especially during high winds, and maintain your building envelope; sealing up all holes.

Install extra insulation or heating elements around piping in areas that could potentially be exposed to low temperatures.

Ensure that your existing insulation has not been displaced and repair/replace as necessary.

Ensure that all exterior piping is covered with weather tight boxing.

Provide adequate heating capacity in areas or rooms that are susceptible to freezing.

If you have a dry pipe sprinkler system, ensure that your fire sprinkler contractor has properly drained the entire system after testing especially in the lowest areas of the system. Extra drains may need to be installed in areas that donít have the proper slope for draining.

Some areas of your building may require system design changes such as dry pendants, antifreeze systems, and/or dry systems. Contact your fire sprinkler contractor for system design recommendations.


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