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Corrosion: A Common Phenomenon In Fire Sprinkler Systems.

Posted by: Piyush Singh
Category:

What Is Corrosion?

Corrosion is the process through which refined metals are permuted into more stable compounds such as metal oxides, metal sulfides, or metal hydroxides.
Corrosion is, however, an undesirable event since it negatively strikes on the beneficial properties of a metal.

Corrosion In Fire Sprinkler Systems:

Now, corrosion failures, based on their phenomenon of occurrence in fire sprinklers and their piping systems, can be bracketed under various categories.

Though, the three most frequent sorts of failures in these systems are:

1. Pitting, that leads to leaks and wall perforations.
2. The formation and build-up of corrosion derivatives, quite often fabricated in the form of tuberculation, which causes a loss of system flow.

3. General wall loss due to ionization and dissolution of iron atoms from the pipe wall,millbrook which ushers the deterioration of structural integrity and pipe frameworks under the static loads of system weight or water pressure. Such kind of failure, more often than not, occurs during the cessation phase of fire sprinkler pipes.

Now, oxidation is by far the most perennial corrosion—reaction observed in fire sprinkler systems. The oxygen trapped inside the system dissolves into water and reacts with the internal surface of the galvanized steel piping.

This reaction induces iron oxide debris that eventually ensues significant complications. Some of the problems that stir the fire sprinkler systems are:
• Pinhole Leaks
• Sprinkler Plugging
• Blockages In Sprinkler Pipes
• Degraded Hydraulic Performance
• Abbreviated Service Life

And the aforementioned problems cause the subsequent predicaments:
• Gradual Surge In Repair Costs
• Damage To Property
• Disruption In The Execution Of Business Acts

Signs Of Corrosion:

You must contact your fire protection company at the first sign of corrosion. There are a few measures that can mitigate the mentioned problems when detected at an early stage.

Now, depending upon the sort of corrosion, some signs may include:
• Pinhole Leaks
• Pungent Or Black Water In The Sprinkler System
• Water Stains Concrete With Rust (During Flow Tests)
• No Water Flow During Testing

millbrookNow, unfortunately, individuals, specifically building owners and property managers, still lack the general knowledge and awareness about the process of corrosion in fire sprinkler systems.

They do not recognize the warnings of corrosion until they witness a leak in fire sprinkler systems, which in any case, indicates, that significant piping damage has occurred, hitherto.

Thus, the delineation of a strategy for corrosion monitoring in sprinkler systems proves to be a proactive solution to address the unknown condition inside system piping.

Corrosion monitoring in fire sprinkler systems falls under two categories:

1) As A Stand-Alone Monitoring System to provide early warning of corrosion activity before pursuing a comprehensive corrosion management strategy, or
2) As A Companion To A Deployed Corrosion Management Plan to gauge the effectiveness of the selfsame proposition.

millbrookNow, corrosion is generally correlated with water. And individuals, therefore, automatically assume that wet systems are more prone to corrosion than dry ones. But, as a matter of fact, the opposite situation stands to be true.

Corrosion typically advances with lesser rapidity in wet systems.

Why?

Well, because there is a lesser presence of air/ oxygen in the respective system.
Though, of course, oxygen is dissolved in water as well. And each flush and fill of the wet fire sprinkler system introduces additional oxygen, which subsequently accelerates corrosion. Air pockets in wet systems produce oxygen too.

But again, dry pipe systems are more susceptible than wet pipe systems.

Residual water is also one of the principal causes of corrosion in dry pipes or pre-action systems. Water causes leakage of galvanized steel pipe, and this damage occurs as soon as two years after installation.

Not to mention, another significant cause of corrosion is MIC: Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion. It is caused because of the growth of microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria, and microalgae.

Thus, the consequence of each aforementioned situation is quite disastrous and, therefore, property owners must be mindful of each sign of corrosion in their fire sprinkler systems.

How To Prevent Corrosion In Fire Sprinkler Systems?

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A fire sprinkler system is an asset. It is a life savior. Thus, taking steps to prevent corrosion can enhance the longevity of a fire sprinkler system.

Now, proper maintenance and routine inspections of a fire sprinkler system are the unrivaled means to prevent corrosion of all kinds in any of the fire sprinkler systems.

Thus, ensure to take the following preventative measures to mitigate corrosion in fire sprinkler systems.

The following steps can be taken to prevent corrosion in Dry Fire Sprinkler Systems:

• Ensure the system is properly pitched.
• Install low point drains and keep them clean.
• Avoid using rolled groove joints because they can cause water accumulation.
• Install an air drying system.
• Fix air leaks to keep the system as tight as possible.
• Replace the oxygenated air with nitrogen, an inert gas that doesn’t interact with metal or cause corrosion.
• Install dynamic biohazard inhibitors that can cease the process of MIC.
• Employ additives that are fabricated to coat the interiors of the piping to resist or deplete corrosion.

The following measure can be taken to prevent corrosion in Wet Fire Sprinkler Systems:

• Eliminate the air pockets through automatic or manual air release valves at system high points.

Conclusion:

The fire sprinkler industry is continually addressing the corrosion issue through research and development of techniques that can avoid or tackle the respective problem.

However, if, for the time being, you are witnessing any signs of corrosion in your fire sprinkler systems, you can contact us at millbrookfireprotection.com.

We assure you, we’ll find the most relevant solution for alleviating the problem of corrosion in your systems.

After all, your safety is our priority!

Author: Piyush Singh

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