Sprinkler systems unavoidably leak and corrode over time. As your building’s sprinkler system continues to age and you start noticing these issues, it may be time to start thinking about replacing the system instead of continuing to repair it.

As a building owner, it is critical to track ongoing issues, such as leaks or corrosion. Considering the amount you spend on repairs, there is a possibility it may be more cost-effective to replace the system.

When to Repair

When evaluating the options, the primary factors you should consider are the age and types of systems in your building, as well as the amount of corrosion in the pipes. If you have a dry system, there is a considerable amount of oxygen in the pipes that aid corrosion – which could lead to more extensive damage and increase the likelihood of a system replacement. If you have a wet system, the water in the pipes limits the amount of free oxygen that causes large-scale corrosion – which could result in more localized corrosion that only warrants repairs.

It’s also important to evaluate your budget versus the frequency and cost of repairs. According to Whitney Phillmann, Account Manager at Ryan Fireprotection, “One repair a year might not make it cost effective to replace the system, but when you start making weekly or even monthly repairs, it’s probably time to start looking at replacing the entire system.”

When to Replace

There are many cost effective ways to replace the system, and permanently resolve the issue. “Often times, we find that the entire system does not need to be replaced,” said Brad Bojrab, Vice President of Service at Ryan Fireprotection. “After we survey the system, we typically find that only about 20 percent of the system needs to be replaced.”

To determine the best solution for your facility, we recommend contacting a Ryan Fireprotection professional to discover why corrosion is happening and assist in finding the best solution.

Transition to a Nitrogen-Based System

Whether you choose to repair or replace a sprinkler system, switching to a nitrogen-based system can be a long-term, cost-effective solution to eliminating corrosion.

While dry systems last only 10-15 years before failing, and wet systems last only 15-25 years, the life expectancy of a system with nitrogen can last nearly 4-5 times as long. What makes this possible is that a nitrogen system removes the corrosive-causing element – oxygen – and replaces it with nitrogen. By eliminating corrosion, this new type of system reduces the frequency and costs for repairs over time. Plus, replacing corrosive oxygen with nitrogen saves 75-90 percent of the replacement cost for a new sprinkler system.

To have a Ryan Fireprotection professional perform a sprinkler system inspection, fill out this form on our website or call 1.800.409.7606, and press 1 to be connected to our service department.