NFPA Safety Alert regarding antifreeze in sprinkler systems
Following reports of a fire incident involving a sprinkler system that contained a high concentration antifreeze solution, research and standards development activities were begun to address concerns raised by the combustibility of antifreeze solutions in residential sprinkler systems.
As information became available, NFPA published two successive Safety Alerts providing guidance from NFPA in its role as a safety advocate and announcing Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA sprinkler standards that were issued by the NFPA Standards Council. The TIAs and the additional NFPA guidance offered in those Safety Alerts were interim actions while the responsible standards development Technical Committees reviewed the results of the research and reached consensus on further amendments to the NFPA sprinkler standards.
March 6, 2012: Standards Council decision(PDF, 46 KB) based on a recent report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that focused on the use of antifreeze in non-residential sprinkler systems. The report, “Antifreeze Solutions Supplied through Spray Sprinklers: Interim Report”, raised concerns surrounding the combustibility of antifreeze solutions in nonresidential commercial applications. The Council decision directs that the responsible Technical Committees meet and review the report and take appropriate action.
September 13, 2011: Standards Council minute item(PDF, 25 KB) requesting that interested parties report back to the Council information that helps close an identified research gap on the issue of antifreeze usage in sprinklers.
March 1, 2011: Standards Council decision(PDF, 81 KB) on the issuance of four TIAs on antifreeze in fire sprinkler installations on the 2010 editions of NFPA 13, 13D, 13R and the 2011 edition of NFPA 25.
August 10, 2010: Standards Council decision(PDF, 81 KB) that issued the Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) on NFPA 13, 13D, and 13R, 2010 editions. Note: The TIAs that were issued by the Standards Council in August 2010 are no longer in effect.
Reports from the Fire Protection Research Foundation
Antifreeze Solutions Supplied Through Spray Sprinklers: Interim Report (February 2012)
This Interim Report, published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation in February 2012, provides information on a fire test program recently completed by the Foundation to investigate antifreeze solutions supplied through spray sprinklers. Previous research by the Foundation investigated the use of antifreeze solutions only in residential sprinkler systems. As specifically requested by the NFPA Standards Council, the Foundation has completed this additional research to address a gap in the existing data by extending the data set to include spray (commercial) sprinklers.
Sprinkler Insulation: A Literature Review (July 2011)
Recent research and experience with antifreeze in home fire sprinkler systems has resulted in limitations on its use in this application. This literature review was conducted at the request of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Residential Sprinkler Systems. Its scope is to identify and gather all pertinent articles that have been published in relation to the use of insulation within residential facilities to protect sprinkler piping from freezing conditions.
Antifreeze Solutions in Home Fire Sprinkler Systems: Phase II Research Interim Report (August, 2010)
Under certain conditions, solutions of glycerin and propylene glycol antifreeze have been found to ignite when discharged from automatic sprinkler systems. This Interim Report has been prepared to outline the results of Phase II of the project, which includes further testing of propylene glycol and glycerin antifreeze solutions for a range of concentrations and operating conditions.
Antifreeze Solutions in Home Fire Sprinkler Systems: Literature Review and Research Plan (2010)
This report describes the results of a literature search on the impact of antifreeze solutions on the effectiveness of home fire sprinkler systems. Suggestions for further research are provided to provide a more complete analysis of currently permitted antifreeze solutions as well as to investigate other antifreeze solutions that could be used in sprinkler systems.