In Florida, all high rise condominiums, anything over three stories really, has a fire sprinkler system throughout each unit and some common areas. The common area sprinklers are typically found in elevator shafts, electrical room, pump rooms and lobby areas. The reason condominiums have sprinklers is obviously to put out fires. Now that we’ve stated the obvious, let’s go over what you should do and not do with the sprinklers in your unit.
If you look closely at a fire sprinkler you will see a tiny colored glass bulb inside. The glass is colored based upon the temperature at which the bulb will melt. The bulbs will melt at a fixed temperature as indicated in the picture. That glass bulb is all that separates the thousands of gallons of water available in the sprinkler systems and the prized possessions in your condominium.
Having said that, there are some things that you SHOULD NOT do with the sprinkler heads in your condominium.
1) Do not paint the sprinkler head. As tempted as you are to blend your sprinkler head into your tray ceiling mural, DO NOT paint the sprinkler head.
2) Do not hang anything from the sprinkler head. Remember, fire sprinkler systems are installed by the builder and typically are performed by the company that provided the cheapest quote. Hanging anything from a sprinkler could break the glass bulb, pull the sprinkler away from its fitting (causing flooding) or develop a slow leak that could damage the ceiling.
3) DO NOT prohibit access to your unit by the maintenance company contracted to perform routine service or preventative maintenance. This applies to your renters and tenants as well.
The best thing to do is pretend the sprinklers are not even there. If you do not damage or harass the sprinkler heads, chances are you’ll never have a problem and they’ll perform exactly as they should. Hopefully that time will never happen to you.