Fire Code Advisory Bulletin
Your facility may contain sprinklers requiring code-mandated testing or replacement. The following excerpts from NFPA 25 2014 Edition can be used for guidance:
- Where sprinklers have been in service for 50 years, they shall be replaced or representative samples from one of more sample areas shall be tested.
- Sprinklers manufactured prior to 1920 shall be replaced.
- Sprinklers manufactured using fast-response elements that have been in service for 20 years shall be replaced or representative samples shall be tested and then retested at 10-year intervals. Quick-response sprinklers, residential sprinklers and early suppression fast-response (ESFR) sprinklers are examples of fast-response sprinklers.
- Representative samples of solder-type sprinklers with a temperature classification of extra high [325°F (163°C)] or greater that are exposed to semi-continuous to continuous maximum allowable ambient temperature conditions shall be tested at 5-year intervals.
- Where sprinklers have been in service for 75 years they shall be replaced or representative samples from one or more sample areas shall be submitted to a recognized testing laboratory acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction for field service testing and repeated at 5-year intervals.
- Dry sprinklers that have been in service for 10 years shall be replaced or representative samples shall be tested and then retested at 10-year intervals.
- Where sprinklers are subjected to harsh environments, including corrosive atmospheres and corrosive water supplies, on a 5-year basis, either sprinklers shall be replaced or representative sprinkler samples shall be tested. Examples of these environments are paper mills, packing houses, tanneries, alkali plants, organic fertilizer plants, foundries, forge shops, fumigation areas, pickle and vinegar works, stables, storage battery rooms, electroplating rooms, galvanizing rooms, steam rooms of all descriptions including moist vapor dry kilns, salt storage rooms, locomotive sheds or houses, driveways, areas exposed to outside weather, around bleaching equipment in flour mills, all portions of cold storage areas, and portions of any area where corrosive vapors prevail. Harsh water environments include water supplies that are chemically reactive.
- A representative sample of sprinklers for testing shall consist of a minimum of not less than four sprinklers or 1 percent of the number of sprinklers per individual sprinkler sample, whichever is greater.
- Where one sprinkler within a representative sample fails to meet the test requirement, all sprinklers within the area represented by that sample shall be replaced.