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Residential fire system piping

Robert Jones

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Common sense. Back in November when we had that freeze, a bunch of those burst in attics all over the region. Folks around here figured it would never get cold enough to freeze them, so they weren't too careful about insulating them and in some cases didn't insulate them at all.

With a 1-1/4 inch water line feeding those suckers, they dump a whole lot of water into a home in a very short amount of time when they burst. Burst pipe = property damage = $$$$$$. Even my math-challenged mind can do that equation.



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I suspect that there's something somewhere that requires it. In Oregon, the FSS pipes are always covered in plastic before the insulation is installed. That way, there's a small void in the insulation just beneath the pipes to ensure that they'll stay warm.

Since they're all done this way, I suspect that there's a rule that requires it, though I haven't seen the rule.

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Since sprinklers are coming in the newer IRC, we'll all be getting more familiar with them (even if we disclaim them). I'm not an expert on these by any means, but I understand some systems are wet (water in the pipes all the time) and some systems are dry (air in the pipes holds the water back within the warm living space).

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CA has amended the IRC/CRC section dealing with freezing. NFPA 13D allows the use of anti-freeze.

The IRC (P2904) also allows the system to be designed to NFPA 13D.

R313.3.2.3 Freezing areas. Piping shall be protected

from freezing as required by the California Plumbing

Code. Where sprinklers are required in areas that are subject

to freezing, dry-sidewall or dry-pendent sprinklers

extending from a nonfreezing area into a freezing area

shall be, installed. Where fire sprinkler piping cannot be

adequately protected against freezing, the system shall

be designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13D.

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