*UPDATE: As of April 2017, Dyne Fire Sprinkler Head Test Report’s now reflect when a sprinkler passes or fails a requirement.”, see the Sprinkler Head Sample Report for an example. 

*UPDATE: As of March 2017, Dyne will no longer be checking heads for recalls, see the Blog article for more details.

It is important to send in a sample of sprinkler heads to be tested by a recognized testing laboratory such as Dyne Technologies to ensure that a sprinkler system will work properly in the event of a fire.  Dyne completes an appearance inspection as well as a test of the response time of the sprinkler heads received in our laboratory.  In addition, Dyne will check the sprinkler head to ensure it is not part of a sprinkler recall.*  Any test that does not meet the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 25 requirement will show up as “Out of Specification” on the test report.

Each sprinkler head is inspected for paint, corrosion, damage, and loading.  For an “Out of Specification” appearance test, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may decide to replace only the affected head(s) but it is recommended that the whole system be inspected for that identified issue.  This is because paint, corrosion, damage, or loading may affect the release mechanism and/or water seal, causing the sprinkler head to not release properly when subject to heat.

Each sprinkler head is also tested for the response time in our state-of-the-art plunge oven.  The response time is tested to ensure the head will release properly in a specified time when exposed to a defined temperature and flow.   If the sprinkler head is found to release outside the required Response Time Index (RTI), the sprinkler head response time will be marked as “Out of Specification” on the report.  The customer can then discuss the result with the AHJ to determine if replacement of the heads in the system is warranted.

In some circumstances, while the release mechanism releases in an appropriate time, the water seal does not release.  It may also be the case if the release mechanism fails to release at all.  This will be indicated as, “Did Not Release” on the test report and the subsequent, “Out of Specification”.  A water seal not properly releasing may be due to corrosion and/or paint. Corrosion and/or paint on the water seal can be especially detrimental to the sprinkler performance when it does not allow the water seal to open and allow water to flow through the head. 

Loading may also affect the results of the plunge oven test, such as increasing the response time of a sprinkler head.  The appendix of NFPA 25 A.5.2.1.1.1 states, “In lieu of replacing sprinklers that are loaded with a coating of dust, it is permitted to clean sprinklers with compressed air or vacuum, provided that the equipment does not touch the sprinkler”.  It is suggested to make sure that samples sent in for testing are cleared of any loading that may affect the operation of the sprinkler head.

For a detailed explanation of all the sprinkler tests listed on the report, view LBTR-4402 Sprinkler Testing Explanation.  For information on Dyne sprinkler testing services, check out the sprinkler information on our websiteemail us or give us a call at 800-632-2304.

By Kayla Kuhlman, Quality Manager