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  1. How to Treat and Prevent MIC in Commercial Sprinkler Systems

    May 19, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    Have you heard of MIC? 

    MIC is a microorganism that could be affecting your commercial fire protection, more specifically, the pipes in your sprinkler system. MIC stands for Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion, and is becoming increasingly prevalent nationwide.

    There are three main causes for the rising cases of MIC in commercial fire sprinkler systems: changes in pipe materials, the way we disinfect the water, and increased maintenance activity in sprinkler systems. The MIC microorganisms do not directly cause the damage, however their biological processes produce different chemicals that accelerate corrosion, or rusting in pipes. MIC is more common in warm weather areas, but incidences have now been reported nationwide, even in in Illinois.  It is estimated that North American companies spend about $1.5 billion per year on chemical treatments to combat MIC.

    Early detection and preventative treatment for MIC is key to preserving your sprinkler system. So what can you do?

    1.  Piping should be flushed in new systems to remove oil and debris, which is potential food for microorganisms. Newer systems are designed to be flushed easily.

    2. Test and drain systems as infrequently as possible, because fresh water can bring in more food for the microorganisms.

    3. If your pipes are especially MIC prone, you may consider thicker wall piping.

    4. Use water tests, but don’t rely on them solely to detect MIC leaks. Watch for leaks at the joints of the pipes, but keep in mind that water tests are not conclusive because microorganisms are always present in small amounts. Water tests are, however, the first step to identifying MIC as a problem in your system.

    At Total Fire & Safety, we are experts in early detection as well as potential treatment options and solutions for MIC in your sprinkler system. If you would like a check for MIC, or if a water test has confirmed MIC in your sprinkler system, contact us to find the most cost effective way to treat the problem. We will provide the total solution!


  2. Sprinklers in Small Spaces: Do You Need One?

    May 4, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    commercial-sprinkler-maintenanceMany people question whether or not a small, concealed space on their premises actually needs a sprinkler. There is a lot of confusion about the matter, and truthfully, it is wise to always seek a professional opinion before installing. NFPA 13 Section describes 18 requirements by which a space can be considered safe without a sprinkler, or sprinkler-exempt.  However, in general, concealed spaces that are “sprinkler-exempt” should have one or more of these characteristics

    Construction that is limited combustible or non-combustible. These types of constructions will greatly reduce the chance of ignition and spread of fire and thus may not need a sprinkler.

    Unoccupiable space. If a person cannot potentially do work in the space or occupy it for a time, it may not be necessary to install a sprinkler.

    Small, empty spaces or storage spaces that are not used to store combustible materials. These tight quarters are not occupied by people, and if they are not being used to store anything that would ignite or spread fire, they may not require a sprinkler.

    Spaces that are inaccessible. If a space is accessible, it could allow storage of combustible materials. If not, the space may be sprinkler-exempt.

    If you have a small or concealed space where you do not wish to install a sprinkler, it is best to check with a professional to make sure your decision is within code. This list covers the recurring factors that have the final say in whether a concealed space might need sprinklers installed. For more information, refer to the NFPA 13 document, the website, or call Total Fire & Safety. We offer sprinkler system inspection and installation and can help you determine definitively whether a small space is sprinkler-exempt according to NFPA guidelines.  Contact us at 630.960.5060.