NFPA Issues Safety Alert for Residential Systems that Contain Antifreeze

On July 6, 2010 the NFPA issued a safety alert for residential sprinkler systems that contain antifreeze. These systems are typically installed in residential homes and residential housing complexes where there is freezing potential in unheated attic or crawl spaces. Propylene glycol and glycerin are Class IIIB Combustible Liquids in their pure form. When mixed with water, the flammability of these compounds is greatly diminished. However, recent tests have shown in high concentrations of greater than 70% glycerine and 60% propylene glycol, there is a potential for a “large-scale” ignition. The results of these tests combined with a recent fatal fire has prompted the NFPA to issue the alert. AFP is following NFPA recommendations and advising our customers with residential sprinkler systems that contain antifreeze to drain these systems and fill them with water. In addition, customers should take a look at the protected spaces, particularly attics and crawl spaces, to make sure that these areas are properly heated and/or insulated to prevent freezing of the sprinkler piping.  If you have any questions regarding this safety alert or you need to have antifreeze removed from your sprinkler system, please call us at 973-684-4500. Important links: NFPA Safety Alert “Antifreeze Solutions in Home Fire Sprinkler Systems: Literature Review and Research Plan” (2010)