Fire Protection: Common Malfunctions of Fire Sprinkler Systems

Like any other piece of company equipment, fire sprinklers systems have been known to malfunction from time to time. Fortunately, fire sprinkler malfunctions are rare, but they do still occur, especially if certain precautionary measures aren’t followed. While the most important step in preventing malfunctions of fire sprinkler systems is having your equipment regularly tested, you should also be performing your own maintenance checks to ensure that your fire sprinkler systems are protected in the interim. In this article, we take a look at 3 of the most common malfunctions of fire sprinkler systems, so you can know what to look for when conducting your own inspection.

Overheating & freezing

Both overheating and freezing are common reasons why your fire sprinkler system may malfunction, especially if the wrong sprinkler head has been installed. Your water sprinklers can freeze if the proper precautions aren’t taken, including insulating the pipes and adding antifreeze. 

Confires Fire Protection Service tells us more on how overheating can affect your fire sprinkler system:

“Sprinkler heads are activated by heat, going off when the temperature in a specific location gets too high. When installing a fire sprinkler, make sure you take into consideration the hottest your room can get, even during the summer heat. Different sprinkler heads are designed to go off at different temperatures, so if your ceiling temperature gets to 155 F, you’ll want to install a 200 F sprinkler head, and so on.”


As with any water-based system, your fire sprinkler pipes are vulnerable to corrosion, which can both affect their functionality, and lead to leaks. In order to prevent corrosion, you must be hiring a professional to conduct annual fire sprinkler inspections.

AAA Fire Protection explains more about the effects of corrosion on fire sprinkler systems:

“Corrosion or damage to the pipes that send the water where it needs to go can impact the ability of the fire sprinkler system to deliver life-saving water when it is needed the most. The minerals and additives in water have a bad habit of eating away at pipes, causing leaks and a lack of pressure at a dangerous time. Regular maintenance reviews by your professional fire protection partner and rigorous testing are the best ways to ensure that your system is in full working order.”

Human error

Human error causes some of the most common fire sprinkler system issues, which can easily be avoided with a little care and common sense. Anyone who is regularly present in your building needs to be aware that they cannot touch the sprinkler heads for any reason, let alone paint over them, hang objects from them, etc.

A Total Solution, Inc. explains why human error is your fire sprinkler system’s most common downfall:

“One of the top fire sprinkler system problems is human error. Many people believe that these pipes are indestructible, and use them to hang things like ropes and chains or to even help lift heavy objects. This could detrimentally damage the pipes and compromise the fire protection system.”

Fire-Alert takes pride in equipping homeowners, commercial businesses, and government buildings with all necessary fire safety devices to ensure the well-being of families and employees across the nation. Reach out to us using our contact form to find out more.