The following was published in the Property Management section of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal in February, 2020. 

Compromised Life Safety Sprinkler Systems Put Lives in Jeopardy
by Jonathan Epstein, CCIM, JTJ Tech, LLC

Compromised life safety sprinkler systems put lives in jeopardy. This is why pipe freeze in sprinkler systems has always been – and continues to be – a major concern for property owners and managers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association sprinkler code, the obligation of preventing sprinkler pipe freeze falls to the building owner. Each building owner fulfils this obligation typically through its own vigilance, or may get delegated a property manager, building occupant, tenant or some combination thereof.

Each year, sprinkler pipes freeze causing unwanted deluges which are difficult and costly to manage, remediate and restore. One claim can easily cause hundreds of thousands – or millions – of dollars in damages, including lost time and productivity.

Most sprinkler rooms are heated with an un-calibrated unit or baseboard heater and are often overlooked until the onset of cold weather. This approach, based upon the temperature of the room’s air, is expensive, inefficient and unreliable.

In select buildings, those costs are passed through to the occupants in the form of common area maintenance (CAM).

Heating vacant suites also requires large amounts of heating energy, since they are programmed to initialize heat based on the suite’s air temperature.

The Salamander Reservoir can be easily and cost-effectively installed on new or existing wet and dry sprinkler systems to monitor and protect these critical systems so that they can work as designed in the event of an emergency.

In wet sprinkler systems, the Salamander uses the real-time data from within the pipes to initialize heat when the water conditions require. The control system can also notify designated parties when the water temperatures get low, and when they are safe.

In dry sprinkler systems, like parking garages and commercial freezers, a Salamander can alert when water is detected in areas that should be dry. This notification would be the first notification of a potentially
compromised system.

“I am excited about this technology, and would recommend it to anyone who has a wet or dry sprinkler system in a geography that’s prone to freezing. The Salamander Reservoir will help to protect your building and its occupants,” said Ted Wills, Jr., president of Anchor Fire Protection in Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Epstein is a commercial real estate professional and cofounder of JTJ Tech, LLC, the inventors and exclusive distributors of The Salamander Reservoir.

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