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10-Year Sprinkler Test Return to Blog

An Informal Interpretation from the American Fire Sprinkler Association.

10-Year Sprinkler Test

“NFPA 25 in indicates that dry sprinklers have to be tested or replaced after 10 years of being in service. Is a dry sprinkler considered to be in the same category as a regular sprinkler when it comes to testing? For example, dry sprinklers in a harsh environment or corrosive atmosphere. Do you have to take samples from each environment, one sample from freezer and another from an outside canopy? NFPA 25 in A. indicates within an environment, similar sidewall, upright, and pendent sprinklers produced by the same manufacturer could be considered part of the same sample, but additional sprinklers would be included within the sample if produced by a different manufacturer. Do you have to take a sample of each manufacturer within an environment to be tested?”


We have reviewed NFPA 25, 2011 edition that you indicated as the applicable standard. Our informal interpretation is that dry sprinklers are replaced every 10 years or tested and that samples have to include each manufacturer.


First, Section indicates that dry sprinklers that have been in service for 10 years shall be replaced, or representative samples shall be tested. They shall be retested at 10-year intervals. Then in Section it indicates that where sprinklers are subjected to harsh environments, including corrosive atmospheres and corrosive water supplies, on a 5-year basis, sprinklers shall either be replaced or representative sprinkler samples shall be tested. The annex for explains that examples of these environments are paper mills, packing houses, tanneries, alkali plants, organic fertilizer plants, foundries, forge shops, fumigation areas, pickle and vinegar works, stables, storage battery rooms, electroplating rooms, galvanizing rooms, steam rooms of all descriptions including moist vapor dry kilns, salt storage rooms, locomotive sheds or houses, driveways, areas exposed to outside weather, around bleaching equipment in flour mills, all portions of cold storage areas, and portions of any area where corrosive vapors prevail. Harsh water environments include water supplies that are chemically reactive. As such, dry sprinklers are used quite often in areas described in A. where on a 5-year basis, sprinklers shall either be replaced or representative sprinkler samples shall be tested. This seems to negate Section for the 10-year replacement or samples to be tested for dry sprinklers. Since Section does specifically address dry sprinklers on a 10-year basis, dry sprinklers should not be included in with all other sprinkler types in harsh environments addressed by Section The representative samples submitted reflect an area of the building or floor.


As such, if the sample reflects both outside and inside the cooler, a failure would result in all the sprinklers in both of those spaces to be replaced. Conversely, if the sample from the coolers pass and the separate sample from the outside failed, only sprinklers located outside would have to be replaced. Regarding the second question, if there are different manufacturers within the representative sample for testing, additional sprinklers from each manufacturer have to be provided for testing.