Metal, water, and air: a recipe for corrosion.
Fire sprinkler systems are comprised of metal, water, and air. This is the perfect environment for corrosion. Over time the metal pipes will degrade, deteriorate, and eventually fail if corrosion mitigation efforts are not followed.
Unsure if your systems are experiencing corrosion? Chances are they already have.
The symptoms of corrosion
Corrosion, though often hidden, does not have to go unnoticed. With proper investigation, corrosion can be assessed before it becomes too big a problem.
Key signs of corrosion in fire sprinkler systems:
- Pinhole leaks
- Black or red water
- Rotten egg smell
- Tubercles or deposits
- Exterior rusting and condensation
- Increased maintanence bills
The cost of corrosion is more than just replacing pipe
It may seem like replacing pipe is a simple and easy solution, but the costs of corrosion are far greater in the long run. Without proper treatment, corrosion could be devestating to your system and your bottom line.
Other issues that can arise from corrosion in fire sprinkler systems:
- Temporary shutdowns
- Loss of property
- Loss of production
- Personal injury
- Total system replacements
Additionally, bacteria can enhance the effects of general corrosion in fire sprinkler systems and is found in around 40% of corrosion failures. This is called Microbiologically Influence Corrosion (MIC).
MIC is a type of corrosion which is initiated by microbiological life forms (bacteria) and occurs often in fire sprinkler systems. Certain species of bacterium aid in the corrosion cell creation and propagation of the corrosion process.
The data collected shows no indication that MIC is restricted to a particular geographical area, as MIC was evident in components sampled from different geographical areas within North America and abroad. Also, there is no evidence that MIC is restricted to certain types of pipes or sprinkler components. MIC was found in corrosion cases involving both black steel and galvanized pipe, in different pipe schedules, and even in cooper piping. MIC has also been found in some cases involving corrosion of sprinkler heads, flexible steel hoses, and other sprinkler components.