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February 24, 2015 Meeting Minutes

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Speaker – Dan Burton, Southeast Regional Sales Manager, Potter Electric Signal Co.

Topic – Corrosion in Fire Sprinkler Systems

Location – Benjamin Hooks Central Library

                   3030 Poplar Ave.

                  Memphis, TN 38111

Meeting Called to Order – 3:00 PM

Meeting Adjourned – 4:15 PM



Dan provided an overview of the causes of internal sprinkler pipe corrosion and some mitigation techniques presented by Potter Electric Signal Company.




Internal pipe corrosion is caused by a number of conditions found in sprinkler piping dependent on the type of sprinkler system and piping material.  The effects of such corrosion include but are not limited to the following:


  1. Pin hole leaks

  2. Temporary System shut down for repairs

  3. Property damage due to pipe failure

  4. Required piping/system replacement

  5. Reduced effectiveness of sprinkler system due to reduced flows

  6. Personnel injury


    The VDS (German governmental agency similar to NIST) has classified corrosion into three classes as follows:


  1. Class I – Limited damage and requires simple pipe flushing or similar to clear

  2. Class II – Medium damage and requires the replacement of a small quantity of system piping

  3. Class III – Major pipe damage requiring the replacement of the entire piping system


    They found that in 25 year old wet sprinkler systems


  • 65% were Class I

  • 32% were Class II

  • 3% were Class III


    They looked at dry pipe systems that were 12.5 years old since these systems typically corrode faster than wet pipe systems and they found:


  • 27% Class I

  • 51% Class II

  • 22% Class III

    More than 70% required repair or replacement.


    Types of corrosion include:


  1. General Corrosion which involves water. Iron and air to cause this type of corrosion

  2. MIC
    1. Acid Producing Bacteria – (APB)

    2. Sulfur Producing Bacteria – (SPB)

    3. Iron Related Bacteria – (IRB)


      FM Global Study indicates that corrosion falls into about 40% MIC and 60% General Corrosion


      Wet pipe sprinkler interior pipe corrosion can be due to entrained and trapped air in the piping system. Placing manual and automatic vents on the piping can resolve this issue.


      Potter Electric Signal offers several products and systems to mitigate interior pipe corrosion. Some include the following:



  1. Tests kits to determine if piping has Mic or other corrosion

  2. Piping air release vents, both manual and automatic

  3. Corrosion inhibitors that can be added to the water in the piping system

  4. Flow switches that can be tested without flowing water from the piping system

  5. Nitrogen injection and inerting systems based on nitrogen cylinders or membrane nitrogen generators. These systems can be used in both wet and dry pipe sprinkler systems.



    If you would like to get more information regarding this topic Dan’s contact information is as follows:

    Dan Burton

    Potter Electric Signal Company

    5757 Phantom Drive

    Suite 125

    Saint Louis, MO 63042

    Phone – (800) 325-3936

    Cell Phone – (502) 744-8494

    e-mail – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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