×
888.361.6662 | Welcome, Guest Login | View Cart
Thoughts on Fire Blog Header

Together we'll make the world a safer place
Our opinion, news, and commentary on everything pertinent to the fire industry
Go to QRFS.com
+Jason Hugo

#70 -- Fire Sprinkler Head Replacement Cabinet: How to Make a Sprinkler Kit

Posted by Jason Hugo and Anna Hartenbach on 8/17/2017 to Fire Sprinkler Regulatory
Do you have a fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet on the premises? 

If you answered “no,” then now’s the time to save yourself a future headache by purchasing and installing the necessary components to meet the needs of your sprinkler system! 

According to NFPA 13 and 25, you should have a supply of six spare sprinkler heads at a minimum. The reasoning is that you need to replace any sprinkler head that has been damaged or activated, promptly. 

Don’t fret; we’re here to help you decide what items you need in your fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet! In this article, we’ll discuss where to store the cabinet and the requirements it must meet. As is the QRFS standard, we’ll reference NFPA Code to provide you with the most relevant information possible.

Already know what you need? Feel free to skip directly to our selection of replacement fire sprinkler heads.

Otherwise, let’s start building your cabinet!

What items should be in a fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet?

At a minimum, your fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet should contain six spare fire sprinkler heads and a fire sprinkler wrench suitable to the type of sprinklers in-use.

Fire Sprinkler Head Replacement Cabinet

Seems easy enough, right? 

As with most things, it goes a bit deeper. The rule of a six-sprinkler head minimum comes from NFPA 13 6.2.9.1* but the asterisk is what makes it tricky, as it indicates there is more in the appendix. In A.6.2.9.1 we learn that for every type and temperature rating in use, there must be a minimum of two spares. As listed in the table below, the cabinet minimum is also dependent on the number of sprinklers within the facility.

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 13: 
6.2.9.5  – The stock of spare sprinklers shall include all types and ratings installed and shall be as follows:
Less than 300 sprinklers6 spare fire sprinkler heads, no less
300 - 1000 sprinklers12 spare fire sprinkler heads, no less
Over 1000 sprinklers24 spare fire sprinkler heads, no less

While the listed minimums in 6.2.9.5 provide a guide for the ratio of spares to in-use sprinkler heads, it is only that – a guide! So if your building has many types of fire sprinkler heads with various temperature ratings throughout, you need to have a more robust replacement stockpile on hand than the listed minimums. 

In theory, you only need one fire sprinkler head wrench since most are designed for use with multiple types of sprinklers. It’s important to note that the appropriate wrench for each sprinkler type is specified by its manufacturer. Therefore the specified sprinkler wrench for each type must be available. All in all, this means if you have a variety of sprinklers in-use and they aren’t compatible with the same type of wrench, then you will need more than one in your fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet.

Spare sprinkler head requirements

Aside from obtaining and storing the necessary amount of replacement sprinkler heads, the NFPA places a lot of emphasis on the performance characteristics of the spares. To ensure that you’re able to easily identify in-use sprinklers and procure a replacement, all sprinkler heads have an identification number. These numbers account for the characteristics of the sprinkler head so you can find its appropriate match. 

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 25:
5.4.1.1Where a sprinkler has been removed for any reason, it shall not be reinstalled.
5.4.1.2*Replacement sprinklers shall have the proper characteristics for the application intended, which include the following:
  1. Style
  2. Orifice size and K-factor
  3. Temperature rating
  4. Coating, if any
  5. Deflector type (e.g. upright, pendent, sidewall)
  6. Design requirements
A.5.4.1.2To help the replacement of like sprinklers, unique sprinkler identification numbers (SINs) and provided on all sprinklers manufactured after January 1, 2001. The SIN accounts for differences in orifice size, deflector characteristics, pressure rating, and thermal sensitivity.

Although A.6.2.9.1 in NFPA 13 specifies that there must be two spare sprinkler heads for every type and temperature rating used, NFPA 25 explains that the replacements are not required to be an exact match regarding make and model. However, they must have the same characteristics such as temperature range, response type, flow rate, K-factor, orifice, and size.

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 25:
A.5.4.1.2.2It is recognized that the flow and pressure available to the replacement sprinkler might be less than its current flow and pressure requirement.
5.4.1.4*Special and quick-response sprinklers as defined by NFPA 13 shall be replaced with sprinklers of the same orifice, size, temperature range and thermal response characteristics, and K-factor.
A.5.4.1.4It is imperative that any replacement sprinkler have the same characteristics as the sprinkler being replaced. If the same temperature range, response characteristics, spacing requirements, flow rates, and K-factors cannot be obtained, a sprinkler with similar characteristics should be used, and the system should be evaluated to verify the sprinkler is appropriate for the intended use. With regard to response characteristics, matching identical response time index (RTI) and conductivity factors are not necessary unless special design considerations are given for those specific values.

Now that you know items you need in your cabinet and the amount, this brings us to our next topic of discussion.

Where should a fire sprinkler kit be kept?

First and foremost, a fire sprinkler kit needs to be kept physically on-site. 

Despite the promise of 24-hour services or on-call sprinkler contractors, there is no guarantee that they will be available or have the right type or temperature rating available when you need it. For this reason, many Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will not consider this a valid alternative to physically keeping a kit on site. 

For facilities with multiple buildings, all spare sprinklers may be kept in one centralized location. The main consideration for this type of set up is that all spares must be easily accessible in the instance that a sprinkler head is activated. One way to do this is by storing spare keys in a fire department lock box or in a place where they are accessible by 24-hour staff like security guards, front desk attendants, etc.

Aside from being kept on the premises, replacement fire sprinkler heads must be kept in a cabinet. Hence, the title of this article! 

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 13:
6.2.9.3The sprinklers shall be kept in a cabinet located where the temperature to which they are subjected will at no time exceed the maximum ceiling temperatures specified in Table 6.2.5.1 for each of the sprinklers within the cabinet.

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 25:
5.4.1.5.2The sprinklers shall be kept in a cabinet located where the temperature in which they are subjected will at no time exceed 100°F (38°C).

With spare sprinkler heads, it’s pertinent to maintain them at normal temperatures to ensure they will not operate. For this reason, the spare sprinkler head cabinet needs to be kept in an area where the temperature will never be higher than the maximum ceiling temperature rating for the sprinkler heads within the cabinet, or 100°F.

Sprinkler Kit Labeling and Inspections

In addition to keeping the spare sprinkler heads in a cabinet, there are other requirements and protocol to take into consideration such as labeling and visual and annual inspections.

Once you have the necessary components to fill your fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet and install it in an appropriate location, you must label it appropriately to reflect the contents within. NFPA 13 and 25 both stress the importance of maintaining and posting a list of all installed sprinklers in or by the sprinkler cabinet. 

From the 2016 Edition of NFPA 25:
5.4.1.5.6.1*The list shall include the following:
  1. Sprinkler identification number (SIN) if equipped; or the manufacturer, model, orifice, deflector type, thermal sensitivity, and pressure rating
  2. General description
  3. Quantity of each type to be contained in the cabinet
  4. Issue or revision date of the list
A.5.4.1.5.6.1The minimum information in the list contained in the spare sprinkler cabinet should be marked with the following: 
  1. General description of the sprinkler, including upright pendent, residential, ESFR, and so forth
  2. Quantity of sprinklers to be maintained in the spare sprinkler cabinet

In part, the list serves for identification purposes but also assists with visual inspections. As visual inspections are performed on-site, the list provides a quick reference point to ensure you have enough spares within the cabinet to match those in-use. Furthermore, if a spare replaces an activated sprinkler, the list provides a quick way for you to replenish the spare supply.

During an annual inspection, the fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet is inspected as well to confirm it has the correct number and type of spare sprinkler heads, an appropriate fire sprinkler wrench, and a list of the inventory.

Now that you understand what you need in your fire sprinkler head replacement cabinet, why you need it, and how to maintain it, you’re ready to build your own!

At QRFS, we have a wide selection of commercial and residential fire sprinkler heads to meet the needs of your sprinkler system. We offer fire sprinkler head wrenches from Victaulic, Senju, Tyco, Viking, and Reliable. Additionally, we stock sprinkler head cabinets to hold six or twelve spare sprinkler heads. 

When you buy from QRFS, you benefit from our responsive and knowledgeable customer service. We consciously strive to stay up to date on industry best practices and NFPA Code, so we can provide you with the information you need when you need it.


Still have questions? Comment below and we’ll reply as soon as possible to get your cabinet stocked!

This blog was originally posted by Jason Hugo and Anna Hartenbach at QRFS.com/blog on August 17, 2017. If you found this article helpful, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.

Add Comment