Corrosion in sprinkler piping is a major cause of sprinkler system failures. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10% of sprinkler system failures are caused by corrosion. It is especially prevalent in dry pipe and pre-action systems. Sprinkler Corrosion is caused by the combination of metal piping, moisture and air and causes the piping to degrade. Ultimately, this will result in reduced water flow, pinhole leaks and sprinkler head or piping blockage.
Identifying corrosion is not difficult but requires an internal inspection of the piping network. NFPA standards require an internal inspection every 5 years but in many cases this is overlooked. It is a critical inspection, one that should not be deferred. While it is primarily an inspection for corrosion, it can also be used to discover the presence of other materials that can cause obstructions such as rocks, mud, dirt or microbiologic growth. The presence of any of the conditions outlined above require the initiation of an obstruction investigation which is basically a more detailed and complete internal pipe inspection.
Once corrosion has been discovered (and damaged piping replaced) there are solutions to make sure that the underlying problem is eliminated and doesn’t return. You can try and remove moisture from pre-action or dry systems, which is marginally effective as it is virtually impossible to achieve using drying agents. Corrosion inhibiting chemicals are available but they can be messy and raise the possibility of environmental incidents. The most effective method is the introduction of nitrogen into sprinkler system piping.
Fireline is an expert at corrosion inspection and discovery and we offer the solution of nitrogen charging systems to ensure sprinkler reliability.