Why You Need an Antifreeze Sprinkler System Check

antifreeze sprinkler system

In 2019 there were over 110,000 commercial fires, nearly 30% of which were caused by cooking. Many commercial businesses mitigate the risk of severe injury and damage using wet sprinkler systems. In areas where the weather drops below freezing temperatures, some businesses use sprinkler systems integrated with antifreeze to keep the water in its liquid state. 

If you have an antifreeze sprinkler system, it may be time to get it checked out. Upcoming guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) may affect your business. If they affect you, the deadline to make changes, September 30th, 2022, is incoming fast. 

Antifreeze Sprinkler System Dangers

Antifreeze seems ideal for businesses in cold areas to keep their sprinkler systems working in freezing temperatures. Adding some antifreeze components to the water makes them feel peace of mind as though they don’t have to worry about further maintenance. But that peace of mind is misplaced because antifreeze sprinkler systems can worsen fires.

Highly-Concentrated Chemicals

Antifreeze contains flammable substances like glycol and glycerin. They aren’t harmful as long as they’re diluted in water at the proper proportions. But water with too high a concentration of antifreeze can stoke a fire instead of quelling it. 

Antifreeze Settling

Moreover, an old antifreeze sprinkler system also puts your property at risk. Over time, the more dense antifreeze separates from the water and settles. Even at the proper proportions, if the system goes off, it may spray pure antifreeze and worsen a fire.

If you already have an antifreeze sprinkler system installed at your business, you’re aware of the higher level of maintenance they require. However, the NFPA has released updated guidance that may impact your business as soon as September 30th, 2022.

NFPA Requirements for Antifreeze Sprinkler System

The new NFPA requirements won’t impact every business with an antifreeze sprinkler system. If you installed your sprinkler system after 2012, you’re exempt from the September 30th deadline.

You may continue your regular sprinkler inspection schedule as usual. Remember that every time you flush your sprinkler system, you must add back in a fresh UL-certified antifreeze solution. If you aren’t using one already, you should drain your system and replace it immediately.

What if I Installed My System Before 2012?

The NFPA ordered that businesses using an antifreeze sprinkler system follow strict adherence to specific guidelines in 2013. These include:

  • Completing an annual fire sprinkler inspection
  • Installing signage regarding the location, supplier, concentration, and volume of antifreeze
  • Adding an extra test valve
  • Replacing the existing solution with a UL-listed solution

The deadline for replacing the antifreeze solution comes on September 30th, 2022. Your current options are the Tyco LFP Antifreeze and Antifreeze+ and the Viking Freezemaster Antifreeze. 

The Benefits of an Antifreeze Sprinkler System Check

Commercial property owners aren’t expected to understand all the guidelines or complete their antifreeze sprinkler system update alone. Hiring professionals to conduct a sprinkler system inspection will take the load off while satisfying all NFPA requirements. Plus, you’ll reap all these benefits.

Two Birds, One Stone

When you get an antifreeze sprinkler check, you’ll have a chance to do your annual inspection. If your inspection is coming up, you can do both at the same time.

Get the Job Done Right

Doing sprinkler system maintenance yourself can go wrong fast. You could damage the system or don’t replace the solution properly. Then it can’t do its job in case of a fire.

Ask Questions

Maybe you’re curious about your sprinkler system. If you didn’t know about the upcoming deadline, what other guidelines are you unaware of? Getting an antifreeze system check is a perfect opportunity to ask your questions.

A knowledgeable service technician will be happy to provide you with more information. When it comes to fire safety, there’s no such thing as too much knowledge.

Learn About Upgrades

If you need an antifreeze sprinkler system check, that means your existing system is over a decade old. It’s nearing the end of its life expectancy anyway. In addition to your antifreeze solution, it may be time to ask about upgrades or replacements.

Take the inspection as an opportunity to ask about new tech and features available. Since the technician is looking at your system, they can give you an idea of what’s possible and what it may cost.

Antifreeze Sprinkler System Alternatives

UL-listed antifreeze solutions reduce the risk of worsening fires. But you may wonder if there’s an alternative that cuts antifreeze out altogether. If you’re willing to replace your system, dry fire suppression may suit your property.

What Is a Dry Fire Suppression System?

Like fire extinguishers, these systems use chemical powder to smother fires. Until triggered, the powder fills a large, pressurized tank. When activated, the tanks release the powder and smother the fire. 

Dry systems rely on sodium bicarbonate and mono ammonium phosphate powder. Like a wet system, they have automatic activation and manual backups.

The powders work quickly and are very efficient. But, they make a mess and must be refilled and depressurized after each activation. They’re great for purposes like:

  • Safeguarding water-sensitive equipment
  • Protecting flammable products from worsening the fire
  • Suppressing fires water cannot (oil, gas, live electricity)
  • Implementing fire control in cold areas
  • Implementing fire control in areas with water scarcity

Plus, compared to a wet sprinkler system cost, dry systems help save money. The initial installation will be a hefty investment. But, over time, you’ll find yourself spending less on maintenance. 

Sprinkler System Repair and Maintenance: Contact Castle Sprinkler and Alarm

Still not sure whether you need an antifreeze sprinkler system check? Castle Sprinkler and Alarm is here to help you with the knowledge and equipment you need for your sprinkler system. Our team of sprinkler experts can review your needs to ensure that you can tackle any situation.

Our technicians will assess the entirety of your sprinkler system, including all exterior lines, valves, fire protection zones, and more. Then, our engineers will be able to offer recommendations on how to maximize efficiency in the future by tweaking the pressure settings or adding new heads. Contact us today for free quotes!