Phoenix Pacific

Challenges With Clean Agent Systems

Most modern data and IT rooms contain alternative commercial fire protection systems to fire sprinklers. These are called fire suppression systems or clean agent systems. However, even these systems have challenges. We will address two of them.

Holding Time of Clean Agent Systems

Perhaps the most common challenge with clean agent systems is the hold time of the gas concentration in the protected space for a specific amount of time. The ability to hold this concentration in the protected space is crucial for extinguishing a fire.

Most data and IT rooms have a lot of wiring, conduit, ducts, and other components entering and exiting the protected space. Wall

penetrations cause gas leakage, resulting in insufficient hold time. The issue begs the question: how do you know if your hold time is enough?

To solve this problem, the commercial fire protection industry came up with the door fan tester. Fans are sealed in doorways and used to pressurize the room and take measurements that predict the space’s hold time in a discharge. Eventually, a hold time of 10 minutes was established and made a part of NFPA 2001. This test is commonly referred to as a room integrity test.

The test should be done at least once every five years or when any remodel or change is done to the protected area. If a room fails this test, someone must find and seal the holes. After that, a new room integrity test may be performed to verify the area is protected.

Delivery Time to Protected Spaces

The second challenge is the delivery of the gas concentration to the protected space. From a practical position, the agent should occupy 100% of the protected space as quickly as possible in a fire. However, as gas is released from the tanks using pressurization to push the gas down the pipes to the releasing nozzles, there’s friction and a loss of pressure that slows the delivery.

The farther away the tanks are from the protected space, the more challenging it is to design a solution. The larger the size of the

protected space, the more agent to discharge, which also takes more time. As such, the size of the room, the location of the tanks to the protected space, and the delivery system are critical to an effective fire suppression system.

There are a few manufacturers that have a solution. Kidde Fire®, for example, has an advance delivery system (ADS). The clean agent tanks are connected to high-pressure nitrogen tanks, which deliver the gas to the protected space in the required time. It’s, poetically speaking, gas on steroids. This allows for a greater distance traveled, as much as 300 feet, from the protected space without loss of delivery pressure and time.

Phoenix Pacific has trained and certified technicians in room integrity testing, and we offer the Kidde ADS to our customers in Hawaii and Guam. If your business owns or is looking to install or modernize your fire suppression system, we can help. We have offered reliable commercial fire protection services for over 45 years and provide system maintenance, troubleshooting, repairs, and

monitoring. To get more information about our services, call (808) 682-1000 or send a message online.