All it takes is a little bit of residual water...
As the mild winter shuffles in mediocrity this year, some systems still could not bear through the freezing temperatures. The system you see here is a dry system for an awning at busy restaurant. It is never really anyone's "fault". The systems loose pitch over the years as structures sag, or new maintenance contractors took over the account and perhaps they missed the necessary drains... or... even though this NEVER HAPPENS (right owners? 😉), the building owner decided to not get their system inspected. Regardless the result here was trapped water after an inspection. The contractor who normally handled the account was slammed with emergencies and the property manager called upon us to make a prompt response. The picture was the scene upon arrival; 4 separate breaks in the line with the fire department blaring the horns from down the road as they pursued the call.
The damage of the break was not only in the piping. The valve had a blown diaphragm and it was a specialized part that had to be ordered from the manufacturer's warehouse. The lead time was at least 24 hours and since there is no way to leak the dry system "charged" during freezing temps. The restaurant was either to close their doors until the system is back online or hire a private fire watch company. Either option is costly.
Moral of the story: It isn't only about getting inspections or hiring the right contractor. The owner must be informed about the behavior of systems so that they can confidently exchange the critical information, such as hidden auxiliary drain valves, that could prevent their malfunction when left unserviced.