Metal, Water, and Oxygen:A recipe for corrosion.

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The symptomsof 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
  • Obstructions
  • Black or red water
  • Rotten egg smell
  • Tubercles or deposits
  • Exterior rusting and condensation
  • Increased maintanence bills

The cost of corrosionis 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


Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) has recently been discovered as a contributing factor in the corrosion of wet, dry, and preaction fire sprinkler systems.

Symptoms of MIC were long considered to be "normal" for fire sprinkler systems. However, we now know that pinhole leaks, rotten egg smelling water, black water, and tubercles are warning signs and can be mitigated.

MIC Bacteria

Bacteria can increase the effects of general corrosion in fire sprinkler systems and is found in approximately 10 to 30% of corrosion failures. This is called Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC).

MIC is a type of corrosion that is initiated by microbiological life forms (bacteria) and often occurs in fire sprinkler systems. Certain species of bacterium aid in the creation of corrosion cells and thus the propagation of the corrosion process.

Collected data shows no indication that MIC is restricted to a particular geographical area, as MIC was evident in components sampled from different regions in North America and abroad.

There is also no evidence that MIC is restricted to certain types of pipes or sprinkler components. MIC was prevalent in corrosion cases involving both black steel and galvanized pipe, in varying pipe schedules, and even in copper piping. It has also been found in sprinkler heads, flexible steel hose, and other sprinkler components.

There are several theories as to why there has been an increase in Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) in fire sprinkler systems. One such theory states that as the popularity of lower schedule piping has increased, so has the speed with which MIC can harm a pipe system. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is addressing the MIC problem with changes in NFPA 13 & 25.