Article by Tom Morrow – Inspections Sales Manager
While many people believe that sprinkler escutcheons are just for aesthetics and serve no real purpose, they are actually very important and necessary components to help your sprinkler system function as designed.
When a sprinkler system is installed, a hole is cut in the ceiling or wall to install the sprinkler head. An escutcheon is then put in place to cover the gap between the sprinkler head and drywall. Where this does provide an aesthetically pleasing, more finished look, it is also vital to the operation of the sprinkler head.
All sprinkler heads are designed to activate at specific temperatures. If a fire occurs in a location where an escutcheon plate is missing or is improperly fitted, it can delay the activation of the sprinkler head by allowing the heat from the fire to escape through the gap and above the ceiling. With the heat escaping the sprinkler head may not go off until the fire is already beyond containment. Not only can the heat escape, but this gap also provides a conduit for smoke to escape and can delay activation of any local smoke detectors.
So, when a fire official or a sprinkler inspector writes up an escutcheon violation, they aren’t just nitpicking. Don’t just treat a missing or improperly fitted escutcheon as an eyesore, but rather treat it as a vital piece to the life safety of your building.
Remember, a new escutcheon plate costs a few dollars; delays in the activation of your sprinkler system could cost lives.
*featured image courtesy of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA