Clean Agents in Fire Suppression SystemsFrequently Asked Questions
1. What are clean agents? +
Clean agents are gaseous fire suppressing agents. Because they suppress fire as gases, there is no damage to protected areas from the discharge and no residue to clean up. Thus, the term "clean" agents.
2. Is Inertec-100 Nitrogen Gas a type of clean agent and Inert gas? +
Yes. Inertec-100 is Clean Agent under Inert gas category. The product code in NFPA2001 for Nitrogen is IG-100.
3. How do I know whether Inertec-100 nitrogen are safe? +
Inertec-100 Nitrogen is safe for occupant when it is discharged to fight fire. Nitrogen clean agents is SNAP approved. SNAP stands for Significant New Alternatives Policy which is an independent body evaluating substitute chemicals and alternative technologies to ensure that they wouldn't cause damage to human health or the environment that the potential ozone deplete that were being replaced.
4. Can people be exposed to clean agents? +
Yes, part of the SNAP approval process includes testing for adverse effects in humans at recommended design concentrations. Inertec-100 inert gas clean agents is safe for humans and safe for the environment as well. Inertec-100 is also safe for occupied areas at recommended design concentrations.
5. Which of the new clean agents is best for my application? +
Most of today's clean agents is SNAP-approved and very effective at suppressing fire. They do, however, have different features. The best way to decide which agent is right for you is to consider the following criteria:
a) Local and International approval for both the system and clean agent. You shall request for valid approved certificate for components and software calculation. b) Is the clean agent suitable for the content of the protected hazard. c) Is the clean agent safe for human if the protected volume is normally occupied. d) Will the agent safe for the protected content inside the room. e) Is the system operation friendly and can be tested easily. f) How costly is it to refill if there is any accidental or fire discharge. g) Is the gas environmental friendly, some country banned environmental unfriendly gas. h) Is there possible future phase out for the agent. i) Is any replacement part available easily.
6. What are the advantages should you should choose to use Inertec-100 system? +
Inertec-100 offers the following important advantages to the end user:
• INERTEC-100 gas is the one of the safest clean agent gas as it is inert (“Inert" means that there is no reaction with other substances and no participation in any chemical process during combustion), it does not create foggy environment which may impede fire escape and firemen rescue operation and it has the highest natural gas content.
• INERTEC-100 gas is a clean agent that does not generate secondary damage to the content of the data centre which house mainly electronic and critical filing component. It is non-conductive, non-corrosive and it is not water-based which may create secondary damage to electronic media on long run.
• It is 100 % environmental friendly as the ODP and GWP is zero. If there is any-phase out issue, INERTEC-100 shall be the last to be phase out. It does not content carbon dioxide which is a green house gas.
• The whole system’s component is of the highest quality. All critical components from cylinder up to the pressure reducing valves are from single manufacturer. All hardware components used has gone through detail quality assurance test by our in house R & D engineers. To further ensure quality, all components are listed by international quality assurance body, namely, Vds. The adoption of this solution shall give piece of mind to end user that the system will function as per design.
• Inertec-100 is the best alternative if end-user will to consider seriously about operation cost and annual live test. For Inertec-100 gas, annual live test discharged can be performed to ensure the integrity of the system with very minimal cost (turn-around time for refilling and cost) compared to other inert gas system or halocarbon available in the market. Inertec-100 is the most cost effective solutions with regards to annual fire drills if live actuation test is to be carried out. It is also the most widely available gas which will give ready access for refilling.
7. How does an Inertec-100 system work? +
Inertec-100 extinguishes fires through oxygen dilution. The oxygen in the air is reduced from 20.9% to below 15% (but higher than 10% for human safety) which is the upper limit whereby fire is no-longer able to continue. To achieve this, The design concentration of 37.2% v/v provides the required amount of gas to extinguish the flame.
8. Who uses Inertec-100 systems? +
Inertec-100 systems are the world's most optimum choice for waterless fire protection as it is environmental friendly and having lowest operation life cycle cost. Application range from critical computer and electronic suites to critical filing storage and military vehicles. From the largest Fortune 500 companies to small art museums: all rely on Inertec-100 systems for fast, effective, and safe fire protection.
9. How are Inertec-100 systems designed? +
Inertec-100 is stored as a compressed gas in pressurized cylinders. When discharged, the compressed gas flows through a piping network into the protected area, where it flooded the protected zone and reduce the oxygen to below 15%. The amount of gas delivered from each nozzle is carefully calculated to ensure proper distribution to each protected area.
10. Does the ban on HCFCs and HFCs in future affect Inertec-100? +
No. Unlike Halocarbon. Nitrogen is extracted from air and is 100% environmental friendly. So, it is not affected by Kyoto or Montrol Protocol which restrict uses of agent which has High GWP and ODP value.
11. Is thermal decomposition a problem with Inertec-100? +
No. Unlike Halocarbon. It will not generate toxic gas like Hydrogen Floride. As Nitrogen is an inert gas, thermal decomposition is not relevant.
12. What is the most attractive feature of using Inertec-100? +
Inertec-100 uses 100% nitrogen which means extremely low refill cost, easiest availability. Its components and system is tested by Vds Germany with listing in Vds to ensure performance of system is assured.
13. Is water mist as good as an Inertec-100 system? +
In most cases, no. Water mist is not a gas, and will not penetrate all portions of an area like gas will. Therefore, water mist is not well suited for shielded or obstructed fires, spray fires, or well-ventilated fires--exactly the type of fires most Inertec-100 systems are designed to extinguish. It's also crucial to remember that water is electrically conductive and can be extremely damaging to sensitive electronic equipment or valuable assets. Water-mist is suitable for other protection. (i.e. open transformer yard).
14. How can I be sure an Inertec-100 system is the right system for my application? +
If your application is an ordinary combustible, electrical, or flammable liquid fire, then Inertec-100 system is most likely right for you. The more valuable the assets you wish to protect (including people), the more sense it makes to use an Inertec-100 fire protection system. There are a few instances where an Inertec-100 system would not be the right choice for fire suppression. Applications not appropriate for an Inertec-100 system (and most clean agents) include:
Applications involving chemicals that are capable of self-oxidizing or generating their own oxygen even without the presence of air, such as gunpowder and cellulose nitrate; or compounds that are very unstable and can spontaneously combust, such as hydrazine (rocket fuel) and many peroxides.
• Processing facilities or areas using pure powdered forms of metals. Fires fueled by reactive metals such as lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, titanium, zirconium, metal hydrides, and the radioactive elements uranium and plutonium require a different extinguishing strategy.
• Other applications where questionable chemicals are part of the fire hazard.
15. Can I use Inertec-100 in live electrical facilities? +
Inertec-100 gas is non-conductive and will extinguish the flames resulting from an electrically initiated fire. If electrical power is the cause of the fire and the power is not shut off, the fuel is very likely to ignite again once the gas concentration dissipates. The source of the ignition must be eliminated to effectively protect the area from potential re-ignition.
16. Is Inertec-100 addresed in NFPA2001 and ISO14520? +
Inertec-100 is addressed in NFPA2001 under the heading IG-100. It is addressed in ISO14520 under ISO14520-13.
17.How is the system put into operation? +
Ans standard 2--zoned detection whereby photoelectric smoke detector and heat detector installed at the protected areas. The system can be also actuated manually using key switch and manual pull. Locally at the cylinder, it can also be actuated manually by pulling the manual actuator.
18. What are the maintenance requirements of Inertec-100 systems? +
Refer to Inertec-100 engineering manual.
19.What is the discharge time and hold time? +
The discharge time is less than 60 secs and the hold time is more than 10 minutes. This is in compliance with NFPA2001 and ISO14520.
20. How far (the furthest) the cylinder can be away from the protected room? +
The cylinders can be located as far as 100 meter away from the protected room.
21. What is the key rule of thumb for Designing Inertec-100 system? +
Each 80 litre cylinder can cover a protected enclosure for 32.67 m3. So, just divide the protected room volume by 32.67 m3. Round up the quantity obtained. Eg. 10 m3 needs 4 cylinders as 100 m3 / 32.67 m3 is 3.06.
22. How many nozzles do I need for proper gas distribution? +
Each nozzle can cover an area of 30 m2 which means 5m x 6 m. The distance between nozzle to any point shall be ~ 3 meter maximum and the distance between nozzle is around 6 meter maximum.
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