Who thinks about spare sprinklers until they are needed? The spare sprinkler cabinet is one of the last features of a fire sprinkler system to be installed and stocked. Often overlooked, the spare sprinklers become a critical feature when a sprinkler is damaged. Sprinkler strikes occur more frequently than most realize.

What spares are required to be provided at any facility?

  1. For protected facilities having under 300 sprinklers – no fewer than six sprinklers
  2. For protected facilities having 300 to 1000 sprinklers – no fewer than 12 sprinklers
  3. For protected facilities having over 1000 sprinklers – no fewer than 24 sprinklers

The annex recommends that at least two of each unique sprinkler provided in any given facility. This requirement may exceed the minimum number of sprinklers to be provided based on the total number of sprinklers at the facility. So how do you know? The spare sprinkler requirements in NFPA 13 since the 2007 edition have required a list of unique sprinklers installed in the property. This list forms the basis for determining what spare sprinklers are required.

For a typical distribution center there may be several unique sprinklers installed. A review of one such project resulted in the following list of unique sprinklers:

  1. Warehouse ceiling level sprinklers standard temperature
  2. Warehouse ceiling level skylight sprinklers intermediate temperature
  3. Under-mezzanine sprinklers
  4. Beneath stair landing pendent sprinklers
  5. In-rack sprinklers
  6. Electrical/mechanical room upright sprinklers
  7. Fire pump room sprinklers
  8. Office semi-recessed sprinklers
  9. Conference room concealed sprinklers
  10. Walk-in cooler/freezer dry pendent sprinklers*

If this facility contains more than 1,000 sprinklers, a minimum of 24 spare sprinklers would be required. Providing two sprinklers for each unique sprinkler type, 20 of the 24 sprinklers are known. What else should be considered? What sprinklers are most likely to be damaged? Certainly, more in-rack sprinklers would be a good option. Without guidance provided by a specification, the makeup of the remaining sprinklers is up to the sprinkler contractor.

Sprinkler wrenches are required to be provided for each spare sprinkler. Often one wrench will be applicable for more than one sprinkler. The sprinkler manufacturer’s product data must be referenced to determine the wrench necessary for each sprinkler type. Multiple wrenches of the same type are not necessary.

A list of all sprinklers in the facility and a list of spare sprinklers are both required to be posted in the spare sprinkler cabinet. The required wrenches should also be included on the list.

*Only if dry pendent sprinklers are measured to fit are spare dry pendent sprinklers not required to be provided. Cooler/freezer dry pendent sprinklers would be required to have spares provided.