Given the nature of corrosion in water based fire sprinkler systems and the insidious damage that can occur, waiting for the inevitable first leak may be a risky approach and create a very significant financial loss. If a plan is to be implemented to reduce corrosion related risk, it follows that there must be a mechanism to gauge the effectiveness of the plan that has been deployed. The more significant the corrosion related risk, the more important the corrosion monitoring. The discussion presented in this paper concerns itself specifically with monitoring corrosion within fire sprinkler system piping.
An effective corrosion monitoring program should provide evidence that the corrosion control program is working to prevent metal degradation. It should also provide “early warning” for elevated corrosion activity so that steps can be taken to return the system to a state of corrosion control before damage occurs and a failure results.
Most leaks in fire sprinkler system piping occur because of pitting corrosion which is particularly troublesome because it can lead to premature breaches in the pipe wall in an otherwise moderately damaged surface. Given the localized nature of oxygen corrosion in fire sprinkler systems, placement of corrosion monitoring device is very important. Improper placement may lead to readings that do not reflect the highest risk for corrosion failure within the system.