NFPA has been planning it for years now and the changes are going to be taking place this year. As of September 30, 2022, ALL NEW antifreeze solution must be an approved, UL Listed antifreeze solution, which comes factory premixed.
For systems installed prior to September 30, 2012, listed antifreeze solutions shall not be required until September 30, 2022.
So what if your system was installed after September 30, 2012?
If your system was installed after September 30, 2012, it is assumed that your sprinkler system(s) were installed to meet the requirements of NFPA 13, 2013 edition. You do not need to take any action at this time.
What’s the difference between a Wet System & an Antifreeze System?
A wet sprinkler system is sprinkler system that is filled with water at all times and is ready to suppress a fire upon activation of a sprinkler. A wet sprinkler system must be maintained at 40°F to prevent from freezing. If any portion of the sprinkler system is located anywhere temperatures cannot be maintained at or above 40°F, other means of freeze protection shall be required. Alternatives for freeze protection include Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems or Antifreeze Sprinkler Systems.
An antifreeze sprinkler system is a sprinkler system where the pipes are filled with antifreeze solution and upon activate of a sprinkler, once all antifreeze solution has been discharged, water will follow to suppress a fire. Antifreeze is an adequate solution to preventing wet systems from freezing, but does come with its own risks. With advances in antifreeze solution technology, there have been improvements on the premixed solutions, but prior to the introduction to the factory premixed antifreeze solution, there have been incidents where antifreeze has actually made fires worse, due to excessive concentration of glycerin or propylene glycol in the antifreeze solution. This leads us to the change in antifreeze requirements.
Existing Antifreeze System Decision Making Guide (NFSA)
If your system was installed after 2012, you don’t need to do anything. Your system was designed to use alternatives to the antifreeze solution that was previously accepted. However, anytime the system is drained and refilled for any reason, a new, UL Listed Antifreeze Solution is required to be put back in. So that line item in your budget will need to be adjusted for the increase in cost between non-listed and UL Listed Antifreeze Solutions.
If your system was installed prior to 2012, you will need to take action soon. The antifreeze in your system will no longer be acceptable and you will need to make changes. In 2013, NFPA required owners to meet annual testing requirements and install signage indicating the locations of the antifreeze, antifreeze supplier, concentration and volume of the antifreeze, and you may have also had to install an additional test valve. If those changes were made, the biggest change to your system will be to replace the existing antifreeze solution with a listed solution.
To do so, there are a few things we’ll have to do to get your system in compliance with the new requirements. At minimum, you will need to flush the system and replace the antifreeze solution. The system needs to be flushed to remove any of the existing antifreeze solution. JFS will also pull all of the pendant sprinklers to remove any potentially trapped water from the sprinkler drops to help avoid any freezing at the sprinklers.
How Jayhawk Fire Can Help
If you are still unsure what actions you need to take, give us a call. We are happy to walk through your property with you and discuss the options. First things first, if you are unsure if your antifreeze is an acceptable solution, we can determine that a few ways, including the installation records, information from the owner, chemical tests, or other reliable sources of information.
A few things to also keep in mind:
- When was your last annual inspection?
- When was the last time your system was serviced or antifreeze was replaced?
- Do you store new or different types of equipment that require a different hazard protection?
- Have you expanded your facilities in the last 5-10 years?
- You have a partner in fire protection that you can trust. Let us help.