If your facility has a fire sprinkler system, you should be aware that its various components require regular maintenance and testing. And of all the tests required, the main drain test is arguably the most important. Below, we’ll discuss more about what a main drain test is, when it’s needed, and how it’s performed — giving you all the information you need to ensure your fire protection system is working properly in the case of an emergency.
Located at your fire sprinkler system’s riser, the main drain is the point of discharge for all water that flows through system pipes to combat a fire in your facility. That said, the main purpose of a main drain test is to measure your fire sprinkler system’s water pressure. It’s also critical for identifying any obstructions that could damage your system or reduce flow in the case of an emergency.
According to NFPA 25-2011, you must test the main drain of an automatic sprinkler system annually, at the very least. Additional testing is required any time the water supply valve is closed, which includes any time the system undergoes maintenance or repair. In most cases, annual testing is simply the minimum requirement, and facilities often complete a test a few times per year.
It’s important to note that, if possible, you should try to be mindful of what time of year you schedule your test. Often, water drained during testing is piped outside, so if outdoor temperatures are below freezing, it could cause a slip and fall risk for anyone near your building.
While it’s possible to perform a main drain test by yourself, it’s recommended that you hire a certified professional. This ensures that the test is performed correctly and your facility is adequately prepared to combat a fire.
If you wish to perform the main drain test yourself, be sure to adhere to the following 10 steps:
Of course, once the test is complete, you’ll also need to know how to make sense of the numbers you recorded. Below is a list of conditions that indicate possible obstructions to your system’s water supply and require further investigation:
If it’s time to complete regular main drain testing at your facility, the experts at Vanguard Fire & Security Systems are here to help. Contact our team today to schedule your next testing and inspection appointment.