Antifreeze Information Signs
Antifreeze sprinkler systems are prevalent in Kansas and Missouri due to the extreme temperatures we can face in the winter months. Over the last couple of years, we have seen temperatures drop to as low as -11 degrees F (2014, 2018) and the lowest temperature recorded since 1891 was a frigid December night in 1989, which reached -23 degrees F in Kansas City (according to weather.gov and the National Weather Service).
Antifreeze systems, or sometimes antifreeze loops, are intended to protect small and large areas that may be exposed to freezing temperatures. Examples of areas that are often protected by antifreeze systems or antifreeze loops include:
Multifamily Apartment Buildings not protected against freezing temperatures
Patios or Breezeways
Other areas where Dry Systems are not practical
With the adoption of Third-Party Compliance Engines, it is becoming more of an emphasis for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) that property owners have all of their fire protection systems in compliance. One of the most common deficiencies is signage for sprinkler systems, or lack thereof. Another common deficiency we are seeing is antifreeze solution that is testing outside of the acceptable range, which creates a potential for freezing of the system and should have the solution replaced.
Replacing antifreeze solution can be done by draining the current antifreeze solution out of the sprinkler system and replacing it with an acceptable listed, premixed antifreeze solution. Currently there is only one acceptable solution that is both listed and meets the standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). However, the challenge that we are often faced with when replacing current antifreeze is the lack of signage and information on the antifreeze system.
Information Needed to Replace Antifreeze:
- Antifreeze Type: Propylene Glycol or Glycerine
- Trade Name / Brand
- Solution Concentration
- System Volume
- Temperature Protection
The location of the system is not as critical for replacement, but is still helpful information because it tells us what area is being protected by the antifreeze system/loop. Knowing the manufacturer and brand is helpful because it eliminates guesswork and research on our end. We can easily determine if the solution is listed and approved for fire sprinkler protection. Between determining the type of solution and testing of the antifreeze itself, we can determine if it needs to be replaced or not (9/10 times in 2019, the antifreeze solution needed to be replaced).
Why It’s Important to Have Signage
If your property continues to go without the proper signage, it makes it more difficult for your fire sprinkler service provider, like Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler, to accurately determine the condition of your antifreeze solution. Moreover, if you are switching vendors and your property does not have the proper Antifreeze System Information displayed, you will continually spend more for each new company to perform the investigative work to find out the information they need before they can replace your antifreeze or test your current antifreeze solution to ensure that it is compliant. It may be a minor upfront cost to you to get this antifreeze information determined and the signage made, but it will save you in the long run by having the antifreeze system information readily available for your service provider.
Change is Coming
In 2013, the NFPA adopted a change to NFPA 13 & NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies, to only allow listed antifreeze solutions to be utilized in new antifreeze sprinkler systems and antifreeze loops. However, it took the industry until early 2019 to come up with a listed antifreeze solution. With this 2013 code change and the new availability of a listed antifreeze solution, antifreeze fire sprinkler systems installed before September 30, 2012 have until September 30, 2022 to replace the traditional antifreeze solutions with listed antifreeze solution OR should find an alternative means of freeze protection.
Concerned About Your Property’s Antifreeze?
Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler can help you with all of your antifreeze questions. If you are unsure about whether or not your antifreeze system is maintaining adequate freeze protection, give us a call. We can visit with you and have a technician come out to test your antifreeze solution and give you options to best fit your property.