If you spot a puddle of water on the floor in your facility, it may indicate that you have a fire sprinkler leak. A fire sprinkler may develop a leak due to the following reasons:

  • Equipment Failure
  • Corrosion
  • Damaged Sprinkler Heads and Pipes
  • Freezing

How do these leaks happen?

Equipment failure

Fire sprinklers may leak due to a manufacturing or human error. Despite the recall in 2001 on over 35 million o-ring sprinklers, there are still millions that weren’t replaced. When the o-ring seals are exposed to water contaminants the sprinklers can corrode and leak. Additionally, improperly designed, installed, or repaired sprinklers also are a root cause of the problem. These issues occur when fittings are overly tightened or sprinkler heads aren’t properly installed.


Microbiologically influenced corrosion was thought to be the primary cause of fire sprinkler corrosion for many years. But the real culprit is oxygen. If you come across a rotten egg smell, discolored water, rusting, or an obstruction then corrosion may have caused the leak. You can look for these signs on your own and also hire a fire and life safety company to examine the system. They can perform an internal pipe inspection to uncover the source of the fire sprinkler leak.

Damaged Sprinkler Heads and Pipes

Sprinkler systems may become damaged accidentally and in some cases by acts of vandalism. Often times, when construction or renovation takes place sprinklers are damaged by ladders, forklifts or other equipment. A simple solution is to install protective cages around sprinkler heads to prevent them from being bumped or tampered by vandals.


There are a few scenarios that cause fire sprinklers to freeze other than heating system failure. Monitor the temperature to ensure it doesn’t drop below 40 degrees when the heat needs to be turned off in an area or insulation is removed in order to perform work. Also, turn the heat back on and replace the insulation once the work is finished. Additionally, fire sprinkler heads in close proximity to the open windows may freeze and leak. Remind people to close windows and to check for open windows throughout the facility to combat this problem.

You can take action in order to prevent fire sprinkler leaks from occurring at your facility. The best way to prevent this issue is to have your facility’s fire sprinkler system maintained according to NFPA 25 code requirements. Hiring a fire and life safety company to regularly service your system will help prevent fire sprinkler leaks.

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