Preventing Frozen Sprinkler Pipes/Systems

Across the state, sprinkler pipes are freezing and breaking due to the extreme temperatures making it difficult to maintain building temperature.  Below is a quick list of items you can use to help prevent sprinkler systems from freezing/breaking.

  • Per NFPA 13, facilities must maintain a minimum of 40 degrees F in the spaces containing the systems
  • Check attic insulation. Tradesmen may have moved the insulation and not replaced it.
  • Add additional insulation.
  • Install temperature sensors to check for cold spots.
  • Possible heat tracing for branch lines per NFPA 13. Remember these are not allowed on valve bodies.
  • Re- balance HVAC to ensure adequate coverage in all areas.
  • Install additional permanent heaters (temporary heaters (such as space heaters) are not allowed)


NFPA 13, 2010 edition

  • 16.4 Protection of Piping.
  • 16.4.1 Protection of Piping Against Freezing.
  • Unless the requirements of are met, where portions of systems are subject to freezing and temperatures cannot reliably be maintained at or above 40°F (4°C), sprinklers shall be installed as a dry pipe or preauction system.
  • Small unheated areas are permitted to be protected by antifreeze systems or by other systems specifically
  • listed for this purpose, including but not limited to listed heat tracing systems.
  • Where aboveground water-filled supply pipes, risers, system risers, or feed mains pass through open areas, cold rooms, passageways, or other areas exposed to temperatures below 40°F (4°C), the pipe shall be protected against freezing by insulating coverings, frost proof casings, listed heat tracing systems, or other reliable means capable of maintaining a minimum temperature between 40°F (4°C) and 120°F (48.9°C).
  • Where listed heat tracing systems are used, they shall be supervised.
  • Where listed heat tracing is utilized for branch lines, it shall be specifically listed for use on branch lines.