What we don’t use on a regular basis is often forgotten, thrown into the attic or basement and only remembered during spring cleaning time. Even in a business, tedious jobs, such as routine maintenance, are often relegated to last place behind time-sensitive projects. But failure to perform this routine maintenance on some stationary equipment, like fire sprinkler systems, can truly cost a company dearly.
Even if they are never activated by a fire, Tulsa and Oklahoma City fire sprinkler systems need to be inspected and maintained regularly because of unseen threats that can cause the system to fail. One such threat is sprinkler pipe corrosion, which can result in costly property damage from leaks or unthinkable loss when the system fails to operate during a fire.
A specific type of sprinkler pipe corrosion called Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) is particularly dangerous to the effectiveness of a sprinkler system because it is an accelerated form of corrosion that can result in a premature failure of the system. MIC is caused when specific bacteria rapidly destroy the piping system, thus accelerating and concentrating the general corrosion process caused by oxygen. MIC can cause even a system that’s only five years old to fail.
MIC can destroy the sprinkler piping system in two ways – either by causing pin-hole sized leaks or by causing an obstruction and even fullblockage in the pipes due to a build-up of biological growth. This premature system failure will of course have devastating effects on your Tulsa or OKC business, causing life threatening fire protection situations or costly repairs and liability issues. If you notice any pin-hole sized leaks in piping, discolored water coming from the fire sprinkler system, or a rotten egg smell, these could be signs of corrosion and a professional fire protection system company should be contacted to inspect the system.
How can you prevent this devastating system failure due to corrosion?
First, having a system that’s properly installed and regularly tested for corrosion, following guidelines from the NFPA, will help lessen the opportunities for corrosion. Thus, hiring a reputable fire protection company that won’t cut corners will help ensure these guidelines are followed. The certified fire protection specialists at Mac Systems in both Tulsa and OKC will make sure your system is designed and installed in the best way to prevent these costly problems.
Next, for dry or pre-action sprinkler systems regularly draining drum drips (auxiliary drains) will help to remove extra moisture from the piping system. Not draining these auxiliary drains regularly can result, not only in corrosion, but also the pipes freezing in winter.
Finally, installing a corrosion maintenance system such as a nitrogen generator can help extend the life of your fire sprinkler system. Whereas compressed air is usually used in dry and pre-action systems, nitrogen generators use nitrogen as the supervisory gas, thus eliminating the oxygen in pipes that causes corrosion.
“South-Tek Systems designs and manufactures the N2-Blast® – Corrosion Inhibiting System, which effectively arrests electrochemical, galvanic, and micro-biologically influenced corrosion (MIC) by introducing up to 99.9995% pure nitrogen gas into the dry or pre-action sprinkler system. The N2-Blast® also prevents ice plugs by ensuring a -40oF to -70oF dew point within the sprinkler system,” South-Tek Systems wrote. “As high purity nitrogen gas enters the sprinkler piping, corrosive oxygen and moisture are displaced through the N2-Blast® – AutoPurge System®.”
South-Tek Systems also offers a full line of wet nitrogen generator sprinkler system solutions as well.
Tulsa and OKC fire sprinkler system maintenance is crucial to protecting lives and property. Costly corrosion could devastate a system. Make sure your fire sprinkler system is regularly tested and inspected for MIC. Call the fire suppression system specialists at Mac Systems in Tulsa and OKC to schedule regular maintenance and ask about our corrosion management systems.
(Photos by Viking Group, Inc.)