fire water tank inspection

Fire Water Tank Inspection is an Essential Tool to Protect Assets

Fire water tank inspection is a crucial part of maintaining any fire sprinkler system. The hundreds or thousands of gallons of water necessary for fire sprinkler systems have to be stored safely and be available at a moment’s notice. If you’re a manager of a large facility that requires an equally large fire suppression system, you need to know how to inspect your water tanks and when repairs and maintenance are needed.

Monitoring Water Levels

A water tank needs to be able to provide enough water to suppress any fire in a facility. That means the water level needs to be monitored at all times. This is typically done with a device that shows the water level in a tank as well as an alarm that will sound if the water levels fall below where they need to be. Any tank that has such a device only needs to be visually inspected quarterly, while a tank that only has a visual water level indicator will need monthly inspections.

Keeping Water From Freezing

Since many fire water tanks are very large, they are often kept outdoors. This poses a problem for facilities in northern regions during the winter. Simply put, the water in any fire suppression system should never be allowed to freeze. Most facilities prevent their fire water from freezing with a heating system that keeps the water in the tanks above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 40 degrees is the minimum temperature for water in a fire suppression system that is allowed by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. This is higher than the freezing point of 32 degrees due to the water in fire suppression systems being stagnant most of the time.

Heating systems for water tanks include steam, oil-burning, gas-burning, coal-burning, or electric systems. Many of these heating systems have monitoring systems that will sound an alarm if water temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Those that don’t have these monitoring systems need to be inspected daily during the heating season, which is typically between October and May in the northern United States and Canada.

Visual Tank Inspections

The water tanks themselves need to be inspected for damage and corrosion regularly. Exterior tanks and structures such as catwalks and ladders should be inspected quarterly, and their immediate surroundings should be kept clear of combustible material or anything that could cause corrosion. Painted, insulated, or otherwise coated surfaces should be inspected annually.

As for interior fire water tank lining inspections, those should be completed at least once every three years if there is no corrosion protection. If there is a liner or coating that protects from corrosion, the inspections can be every five years. Of course, if you see any external problems, you should assume that you’ll need internal tank lining repairs.

Fire Water Tank Inspection and Lining Repairs

For more information about fire water tank lining inspections or lining repairs, contact Picon today.