A functional sprinkler system is a critical part of a building's fire suppression system. Sprinkler systems are particularly useful in a building or establishment where total evacuation can be difficult to execute. Sprinklers are often prone to rust as they contain the ingredients that facilitate rust growth — water and oxygen. Rust in sprinklers can compromise the functionality of the systems in the event of a fire, and this can lead to extensive damage to property and fire casualties. Read on to find out the effects of rust on sprinkler systems and the measures that you can take to keep the systems in optimal working condition.
Effects of rust in sprinklers
The presence of water and oxygen in the sprinklers creates the perfect environment for the growth of rust. Over time, the rust builds up in the system and begins to corrode the sprinklers and pipes from the inside. Corrosion leaves behind debris that may block the pipes and the sprinkler heads over time. In the event of a fire, the sprinklers will not be able to suppress it as the heads and the pipes that supply water may be partially clogged.
Preventative maintenance is the key
The best way to protect your building and its occupants in the event of a fire with these systems in place is by practicing preventative maintenance. This is aimed at preventing the formation of rust in the sprinkler system piping and sprinkler heads. Regular visual inspection of the sprinkler system can help in identifying rust and any other faults that may paralyze the operations of the system in the event of a fire.
If you choose to undertake an in-house inspection, your goal should be to identify corroded piping, sprinkler leaks, and other faults such as an air compressor that is continuously running. The inspection should be thorough, and if you don't have the necessary resources, it would be wise to consult with a professional. Annual inspection of the sprinkler systems and other fire protection equipment within the facility should be performed by a professional.
Handling corroded sprinklers
During the routine inspection, you may find that your sprinklers contain rust. In this case, you will be required to flush the sprinkler system. Flushing the system removes the debris that results from the buildup of rust and foreign materials. It is an affordable option as opposed to replacing the affected parts of the system. Note that once a sprinkler system has been flushed, the corrosion will still continue to grow, and this will necessitate more regular inspections and flushes to keep the system running optimally.
Consult a professional for regular inspection of your sprinkler system and for advice on how to permanently control corrosion and prevent functionality issues in the future.