In the case of an emergency, your fire sprinkler system has the ability to protect your facility and those who occupy it from harm — but only if it’s operating correctly. Over the years, many fire sprinkler systems are affected by pipe corrosion, which can inhibit their ability to release fire-extinguishing materials.
Corrosion is an extremely common issue in fire sprinkler systems. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Mixing metal, water, and oxygen results in corrosion every time — so, for many facilities, it’s not about if their pipes will corrode, but when.
Luckily, there’s an amendment you can make to that equation that has been proven to drastically reduce the amount of corrosion: replace oxygen with nitrogen. Below we’ll explain a little more about how nitrogen generators work, and how they can aid in better fire sprinkler system functionality.
Understanding the Dangers of Fire Sprinkler System Corrosion
First, let’s dive a little deeper into the dangers of corrosion within your fire sprinkler system. The biggest danger corrosion causes is obstructions, which can either block pipes from releasing fire-extinguishing materials or rupture them altogether, further resulting in the following problems:
- Temporary operational shutdowns, production pauses, and profit losses
- Total fire sprinkler system replacement, which can cost up to three times more than initial installation
- Failure of fire sprinkler system to function properly in the event of an emergency, inflicting devastating harm on your property, products, and people.
All that said, corrosion should be prevented as much as possible. And when the primary cause of it in both wet and dry fire sprinkler systems is the presence of oxygen, the most feasible solution is to completely eliminate that oxygen.
About Nitrogen and Nitrogen Generators
Once you eliminate oxygen from the equation, you deplete the compressed air source that’s critical to your fire sprinkler system’s operations. Therefore, it needs to be replaced with something similar, but more effective — and the solution is nitrogen.
Why nitrogen? Well, nitrogen is a stable, inert gas, which means it’s non-reactive with metal. So it provides the same capabilities, while also significantly reducing the risk of corrosion.
In order to supply your fire sprinkler system with nitrogen, you simply replace your current compressed air system with a nitrogen generator. Nitrogen generators are fully operational on-site. They don’t actually “create” nitrogen, but rather remove extra molecules from the surrounding air. Typical air composition consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and small traces of carbon dioxide, argon, and water — but once the generator removes all the unwanted molecules, it’s left with just nitrogen to push into the fire sprinkler system.
Understanding the Benefits of Nitrogen Generators for Fire Sprinkler Systems
So, does your fire sprinkler system need a nitrogen generator? No. But would it benefit from one? Absolutely. To reiterate, here are a few reasons why:
- Less oxygen, less corrosion – This is the main benefit of switching to a nitrogen generator. By removing oxygen from the equation, you can reduce up to 98% of corrosion.
- Fewer repairs – By reducing corrosion, you’ll likely reduce the amount of repairs needed to keep your system in good operating condition (and the money you spend on those repairs!).
- Extended life expectancy – Also a consequence of reducing corrosion, you’ll extend the life of your fire sprinkler system, eliminating the need to purchase a new one for years.
- Environmentally friendly – Nitrogen is all around us, making up about 78% of typical air composition. As long as it’s used responsibly, it’s just as environmentally friendly as oxygen.
- Inexpensive and readily available – While the upfront cost of a nitrogen generator may be an investment, the operating costs associated with it are not. Nitrogen is readily available, making it a fairly inexpensive gas to work with.
Minimizing corrosion is a critical step in ensuring your fire sprinkler system is functioning properly and able to effectively combat a fire hazard at any moment. If you’re worried about your fire sprinkler system, or you’re interested in the additional protection a nitrogen generator can offer, get in touch with the experts at Vanguard Fire & Security Systems.