Transitioning from NOVEC 1230 to FK-5-1-12: What You Need to Know

Championing Sustainable Solutions – Your Path to Cleaner Fire Protection

In today’s rapidly evolving world, safeguarding businesses, and industries with sensitive products from the devastating impact of fires has never been more critical. For years, NOVEC 1230 has been the go-to clean agent, cherished for its remarkable fire-extinguishing capabilities without causing water damage or leaving harmful residues. However, recent environmental regulations have signaled the need for change. While NOVEC 1230 is classified as a polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), which is safe to make and use while possessing little-to-no global warming potential, constant changes in federal regulation (such as the AIM Act) have made 3M weary of continuing production.

As the fire protection industry undergoes a transformative phase, we bid adieu to NOVEC 1230, a hydrocarbon (HC) clean agent that has served us well for many years. While the phrase “bid adieu” may seem reminiscent of a sad farewell, it is crucial to recognize that this shift does not mean there are not equal clean agent suppressors out there. As we close one chapter, we open another, venturing into the realm of alternative suppression solutions.

At Western States Fire Protection, we provide you with the latest information and guiding you toward the best solutions. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the AIM Act, understand the future of NOVEC, and discover the promising alternative, FK-5-1-12.

Understanding the AIM Act and its Objectives

One of the primary objectives of the AIM Act is to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – a group of potent greenhouse gases commonly used in various applications, including fire suppression agents like HFC-227. HFCs have a high global warming potential, thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of heat-trapping ability, making them a contributor to climate change.

To address this critical environmental issue, the AIM Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a gradual phase-down schedule for HFCs. The act mandates the transition to more environmentally friendly alternatives with significantly lower global warming potential, fostering a sustainable approach to fire protection without compromising on safety and efficacy.

By phasing out HFCs and promoting environmentally friendly alternatives, the AIM Act aims to mitigate global warming and protect the delicate ecological balance. This legislation serves as a collective effort to foster technological advancements that drive us toward a cleaner and more sustainable world.

AIM Act HFC Phase Down Schedule per the EPA

Impact on Existing Systems

If you are a business owner with an existing NOVEC 1230 fire suppression system, you might wonder about its future. Rest assured that the AIM Act does not actually affect the production or distribution of NOVEC 1230 clean agent systems, so any pre-existing systems may continue to run indefinitely. So, this begs the question, why is it being discontinued?

3M said in a statement that due to “the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends [AIM Act] focused on reducing or eliminating the presence of PFAS in the environment and changing stakeholder expectations.” Given the direction federal and industry standards are heading, 3M looks to be proactive in production and looks to innovate more sustainable solutions in the future rather than succumbing to more regulations down the road. This unfortunately means there is a discontinuation timeline of 2025 (and industry experts believe that 3M will run out even sooner than that).

“While PFAS can be safely made and used, we also see an opportunity to lead in a rapidly evolving external regulatory and business landscape to make the greatest impact for those we serve. This action is another example of how we are positioning 3M for continued sustainable growth by optimizing our portfolio, innovating for our customers, and delivering long-term value for our shareholders,” says 3M CEO Mike Roman.

While as a clean agent is still allowed on the market, it’s essential to plan proactively for the future, as the availability of NOVEC will eventually diminish. This foresight empowers you to transition seamlessly to an alternative clean agent, and our experts at Western States Fire Protection are ready to help you understand the best next steps for your unique requirements.

Exploring the Alternatives: FK-5-1-12

Amidst the pressure ushered in by the AIM Act, businesses are tasked with exploring alternative clean agents that match the performance of NOVEC. Among these alternatives, one standout solution is FK-5-1-12, an advanced fire suppressant offered by nearly all fire protection manufacturers.

FK-5-1-12 bears the same chemical nomenclature while primarily differing in name alone. The main distinction lies solely in branding. This means that FK-5-1-12 inherits the environmentally friendly qualities and safe/secure storage attributes synonymous with its 3M counterpart. Given the 3M’s ongoing phaseout, it is logical to infer that FK-5-1-12 will seamlessly take its place.

NOVEC 1320 vs. FK-5-1-12 Molecular Composition

Embracing the Future of Responsible Fire Safety

As the sun sets on the era of NOVEC 1230, we rise to embrace industry alternatives. The AIM Act, although posing challenges, catalyzes innovation, propelling us towards environmental sustainability. With a united effort, businesses can continue to safeguard their critical assets while actively contributing to the preservation of our planet. Our experts at Western States Fire Protection are ready to guide you through this transition, ensuring your business remains safe, compliant, and at the forefront of environmentally responsible fire protection solutions. Contact us today and let us join hands on this journey to a sustainable and secure future.

Fire Sprinkler Backflow Valves: Types and Inspections

What is a Fire Sprinkler Backflow?

Backflow is when water flows in the opposite direction it is supposed to because of an imbalance in pressure. When there is a backflow in fire sprinklers, the water moves toward the water supply rather than the sprinkler head. It is important to prevent this because backflow can contaminate the public water supply causing health hazards as well as compromising the performance of the sprinkler.

What are Backflow Preventers?

Fire sprinkler backflow preventers, or sprinkler backflow valves, are devices used in the sprinkler line that prevents the water from flowing in the wrong direction. Fire system backflow preventers act as barriers, directing the water only toward the fire protection system and restricting it from reversing into the public water supply. Two common backflow preventer types include: 

  1. Double-check valves: A Double Check Valve Assembly consists of two check valves and a shut-off valve between them. This creates a layer of protection and is low hazard fire application.
  2. Reduced pressure zone (RPZ): RPZ assemblies provide more protection for high-hazard applications. They have two check valves and a relief valve in between, creating a zone with reduced pressure to prevent backflow.

Legal Requirements for Commercial Application Inspections

Frequency of Inspections: According to NFPA 25, the frequency of sprinkler backflow valves may vary depending on their type and size. However backflow preventers should be inspected on an annual basis at a minimum and visually inspected on a weekly to monthly basis.

Testing: Backflow preventers are also required to be tested regularly to ensure their proper functioning. The testing frequency may vary based on the specific type and size of the backflow preventer. There are various types of tests that are required to be done, two of these tests are:

  1. Forward Flow Test – The forward flow test checks the ability of the backflow preventer to allow water to flow in the correct direction. The valves and components of the backflow preventer are checked to ensure they open and close correctly during the test. The test should be done at a designated flow rate and conducted according to NFPA standards. This test examines whether the system can get enough water supply in a fire condition.
  2. Backflow Performance Test – This test checks the performance of your backflow prevention devices to make sure that the water supply is protected from cross-contamination. The test is performed by sending higher-pressure water downstream of the backflow preventer to confirm if the device can prevent the reverse flow effectively.

Record Keeping: It is required that there are up-to-date records of all inspections, testing, and maintenance performed on backflow preventers. These records should be kept on file and made available for review by fire inspectors or authorities upon request.

Qualified Personnel: The inspection, testing, and maintenance of sprinkler backflow valves should be conducted by qualified and certified professionals with experience in backflow prevention systems.

Backflow Preventer Inspections with WSFP

At WSFP we conduct backflow preventer inspections that follow NFPA standards, local codes, and state regulations. Our team of experts will provide scheduled fire protection inspections that assess the operational condition of your system. Inspections can be scheduled on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis depending on your specific sprinkler needs. Contact us today to learn more about our backflow preventer inspections.

Disturbed’s Fiery Performance Turns into a Water Show Thanks to a WSFP Sprinkler System!

The Legend of Disturbed

Gather ’round rockers! We’ve got a story that’ll make you chuckle. It’s about one of our favorite metal bands, Disturbed, and how their pyrotechnics got them into a bit of a “slippery” situation during their Take Back Your Life tour. And guess who was behind the metal madness? Yep, none other than Western States Fire Protection, the official fire sprinkler company of Disturbed! Ok… we might not be officially the fire sprinkler of Disturbed, but hey, we can dream, right?

So, picture this: Disturbed, an unstoppable force of metal, was performing their heart out at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion just outside of Houston, TX. The crowd was electrified as they unleashed their pyro-filled set closer, “Inside the Fire.” Flames were shooting high, adding to the intensity and awesomeness of the show. But wait, things got a bit too hot to handle. Suddenly, the fire sprinklers were triggered, and it began to “rain” onstage. Yep, you read that right—the band’s fiery performance turned into an impromptu water show!

In the aftermath, David Draiman, frontman extraordinaire, took to Twitter and explained the whole ordeal with a good ol’ “lol” and mentioned how they got a “surprise rain shower” during the show. Lead guitarist, Dan Donegan, couldn’t help but be amazed, calling it a “first” in their career and one of the most memorable shows ever. Despite the unexpected rain, Disturbed kept rocking, completely unbothered, and the crowd loved every single minute of it.

You might wonder how Western States Fire Protection, a company that deals with fire sprinklers, got involved in this epic tale. Well, let’s just say our fire sprinklers were ready for anything, even a heavy metal firestorm! They performed their duty flawlessly, even if unintentionally.

Disturbed’s pyrotechnics-laden stage shows are legendary, and they’ve always pushed the boundaries to create an unforgettable experience for their fans. As David Draiman once said, “We blow it up pretty good, that’s for sure. We go through a lot of accelerant up there. It gets hot. But we love it. We live for it.” And boy, do their fans live for it too!

The Rockin’ Never Stops!

Disturbed’s “Take Back Your Life” tour has been nothing short of epic, and this little “rain shower” incident just added another chapter to their epic rock ‘n’ roll journey. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how Disturbed handled the water show with absolute grace and humor. After the rain-soaked performance, David Draiman introduced each band member, and then he couldn’t resist adding a cheeky remark, “Make some noise for the freaking sprinkler system!”

That’s the spirit, David! Make some noise for the freaking (WSFP) fire sprinkler!

In the end, Disturbed’s fiery pyrotechnics met their match with Western States Fire Protection’s trusty fire sprinklers. It was a moment that will go down in concert history as one of the most unforgettable and amusing incidents. And to all the rock bands out there, if you need fire sprinklers that can handle anything, look no further than Western States Fire Protection. We’ve got you covered (and your audience too)!