A fire sprinkler system is 98% effective in preventing property loss, which makes it a crucial gear for commercial as well as residential spaces. If you are looking for fire sprinkler systems and how to maintain them, then, this article may be of help. Corrosion in the pipes can be a big problem due to constant exposure to water and rust.Corrosion levels can start spiralling out of control over time, causing leaks and obstruction in the fire sprinklers. Fortunately, you can take some preventative measures to check the level of corrosion in the system.

What Causes Corrosion in the Fire Sprinkler System?

Understanding the reasons behind the development of corrosion and the type of corrosion helps prevent the problem. Corrosion is the deterioration of any material after undergoing a chemical reaction. A fire sprinkler system consists mainly of metal, water, and oxygen, creating a perfect environment for corrosion.

The three common and most problematic corrosions experienced by the sprinkler systems include: 

  • Corrosion is caused by iron oxide commonly called rust;
  • Corrosion resulting from galvanization; occurs when two or more dissimilar metals undergo electrical conduct underwater, and 
  • Corrosion is influenced by microbiological activities caused due to the presence or activity of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi in biofilms on the corroding material.

Corrosion might also result from the presence of minerals in the piping system. Over time, minerals and other deposits thin the water pipes’ walls. You might spot pitting in the localised areas of your fire suppression as the deposits move through the system. Localised pitting has emerged as the most common cause of leakage in the fire sprinklers.

Dangers of Development of Corrosion in the Fire Sprinkler Systems 

Most facility managers fail to identify, and thus, remedy corrosion in their fire suppression system. Overlooked damage can lead to:

Obstructions: It often hinders the water flow of the fire extinguishing materials, and it might rupture the materials.

Temporary system shutdowns: Fire breakouts in a commercial space can lead to production halts and losses.

Complete system failure: It may leave you incapable of protecting your property, products and loved ones in an instance of fire. 

Total system replacement: It might cost you up to three times more than the initial installation charges. 

How to Prevent Corrosion in Fire Sprinkler Systems?

If you are looking to prevent corrosion in fire sprinkler systems QLD, we have got you covered!

Choosing a corrosion-resistant pipe material

Most of the components of a fire sprinkler system are metallic. One of the best ways to prevent corrosion is to opt for a corrosion-free material for the piping system. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) thermoplastic pipes are the best ways to protect material from exposure to water and air. You must remember that although corrosion is most common in metals, it can affect any material.

Replacing the compressed air system with a nitrogen generator

The process involves the removal of oxygen and replacing it with a similar non-corrosive gas, nitrogen. Nitrogen is a stable and inert gas that does not react with metals. Therefore, replacing oxygen with nitrogen helps the fire sprinkler system experience a lesser risk of corrosion. When you replace the gas, your sprinkler system undergoes the following:

  • Fewer repairs 
  • Extended life expectancy 
  • Environmental footprints similar to oxygen
  • Reduced operational cost

Undergoing regular testing, inspections and maintenance

Following the testing and inspectional requirements set by your local fire-fighting body is an excellent way to prevent harmful corrosion in the fire sprinkler system. A water-based sprinkler system must undergo an inspection every 5 years. The dry and pre-action fire sprinkler systems require examination every 3 years. Investing in disciplined testing, inspection, and maintenance is an excellent way to prevent and detect corrosion.