fire spinkler systemWinter weather is almost here! Don’t forget about your sprinkler system. If you have a sprinkler system protecting your building, there are several steps that you can take to prevent damage to your system from freezing temperatures. Wet Sprinkler Systems A wet sprinkler system consists of a network of pipes filled with water. During the winter months areas that contain the sprinkler piping and sprinkler valves must be kept above freezing. This sometimes becomes an issue when a build owner decides to shut off the heat to save money in a vacant building. Dry Sprinkler Systems In a dry sprinkler system, the sprinkler pipes are filled with air instead of water to protect unheated areas like parking garages or cold storage. If you have a dry sprinkler system, these simple steps should be completed before the cold weather each year: 1. Drain the drum drips until they are free of moisture. Close the top valve and open the bottom valve to drain any water into a bucket or drain. Repeat until no more water comes out. 2. Leave the valves of drum drips in the proper positions (the top valve should be open and the bottom valve closed). 3. Check to make sure the valve room is heated. The area with the sprinkler piping does not need to be heated, but the valve room must be heated. 4. Drain priming to proper levels. 5. Check the operation of the air compressor. These five small steps can save you thousands in water damage and or piping repairs. During our regular scheduled inspections, Associated Fire Protection will check these items for you, but they may need to be checked more frequently depending on how many times we visit your location a year. If you have any additional questions, give us a call at 973-684-7250. What is MIC and how may MIC affect your sprinkler system? MIC is corrosion aided by bacterial activity in your sprinkler system. MIC can destroy sprinkler piping at an alarming rate. In addition, the byproducts of corrosion can clog sprinkler piping and sprinklers, which may inhibit your system from operating as it was originally designed. Galvanized coated piping can delay the process of corrosion. All types of sprinkler systems may be susceptible to MIC.

What can you do? Water analysis testing and internal pipe investigations are powerful tools in identifying problematic water conditions in fire sprinkler systems. Water testing involves physical, mineral, and microbiological culture analysis testing to identify conditions and formulate corrosion mitigation options. The testing methods we use provide clients with a detailed assessment of their particular water condition. The testing is performed as per NFPA 13 standards. Section of the 2007 Edition of NFPA 13 states: Water supplies and environmental conditions shall be evaluated for the existence of microbes and conditions that contribute to microbiological induced corrosion (MIC). Section of the 2007 NFPA 13 states: Water supplies and environmental conditions shall be evaluated for conditions that contribute to unusual corrosive properties. Pinhole leaks, nodules build up on the inside of piping, pitting at the bottom of the piping or unwanted trips (on a dry or pre-action system) are signs that MIC may be present in your system. If you suspect your system may be affected by MIC or for more information regarding MIC treatment and prevention options, please contact Associated Fire Protection at 973-684-4500. Dry and Pre-Action System Protection from Oxidative and MIC Corrosion by Doug Chartier is another interesting article regarding MIC and oxidation.