In the mid to late 1980’s evidence was gathered that pointed to Halon 1301 (and other Halogenated chemicals) as contributing significantly to the depletion of the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, which shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation. The depletion of the ozone layer presents serious environmental consequences. Eventually, a handful of viable alternative agents were introduced to the commercial marketplace.
The new agents (FM-200, INERGEN, and FE-13 among them) will all rapidly extinguish all classes of fire without causing any damage or requiring any extensive clean-up when discharged. They are all approved for use in occupied areas. They are environmentally sound and are all listed as approved replacements for Halon 1301 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency with no scheduled future phase-out. Each of the agents listed above have qualities that lend themselves to particular applications. National Fire Protection can help in the decision making process, by examining the fire protection need our sales staff can presents options as to the best system for you.
So What’s Wrong With My Existing Halon 1301 System?
Beside the fact that Halon 1301 is a known ozone depleting chemical, there is absolutely nothing wrong with existing Halon systems if they are properly maintained. As stated previously Halon 1301 is an excellent fire suppression agent. It is versatile (effective on all classes of fire). It is clean (leaving no harmful residue behind to clean up after discharged). It is cost effective (especially when compared with the loss of business continuity or replacement of damaged equipment). But there is one very important thing to remember regarding Halon 1301 – it is no longer being made.
That means that the only Halon 1301 that is commercially available was produced prior to January 1st1994. There is reclaimed Halon 1301 available if your existing systems discharges, but the supply is indefinite so the price can fluctuate widely depending on availability. National Fire Protection will reclaim your Halon for FREE. Just give us a call.
While there are no current mandates regarding the removal of existing Halon 1301 systems there has been some debate in the environmental circles regarding the possible taxation of the agent in coming years. There are some countries that have signed the Montreal Protocol (Germany and Australia among them) that have made the removal of Halon 1301 systems mandatory in their countries. As the future of Halon 1301 fire suppression systems is somewhat uncertain, now may be a good time to consider budgeting for the replacement of the your existing system(s).
If My Existing Halon 1301 Systems Discharges How Much Will The Agent Cost per pound to recharge.?
As stated above, the price per lb. of Halon is uncertain. Halon is a commodity with prices determined by availability.
Can My Existing Halon 1301 System Be Upgraded To An Environmentally Friendly Fire Suppression System?
Yes, to an extent.
- Agents Storage Cylinders: While it is possible to "recondition" Halon 1301 agent storage cylinders to accommodate an alternative clean agent such as FM-200, it can sometimes cost more to have this service performed then to buy new FM-200 cylinders. Alternative agents INERGEN and FE-13 utilize a different type (high pressure) cylinder to deliver the agent to the hazard, so if the intent is to convert to one of these agents new cylinders will be required.
- Agent Distribution Piping Network: Due to the differences in the clean agent flow characteristics (the ability of all the agent to discharge into a hazard in a given period of time*) some or all of the piping may need replacement or rework. * times vary based on agent used.
- Agent Distribution Nozzles: In all cases new nozzles are required. The new nozzles are designed with the proper orifice openings and configurations based on the agent utilized as the replacement.
- Detection and Control System: The detection and control system (used to sense heat or smoke and initiate agent release into a protected space) can sometimes be re-used. Some factors that affect the decision to replace the detection and controls are:
- Age of the existing detection and controls system (some clients wish to take advantage of newer detection and control technology
- Concerns regarding 3rd Party Listings (many of the older detection and control systems are not UL listed or Factory Mutual approved to release the new agents)
- Compatibility of new mechanical equipment (releasing switches, solenoids, etc.) with the existing detection and control system.