Sprinkler Line above a data rack?

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theophilus88

Professional Architectural Engineer
Location
St. Louis, MO
Occupation
Professional Architectural Engineer
For a project, one of our communications closets has an existing sprinkler line running directly above our newly installed data rack. I haven't found any code issues with this, but does anyone know if there might be something I'm missing? Thanks in advance for any help!
 

deedub

Professional Electrical Engineer
Location
Washington, DC
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
No code issues that I'm aware of.

As long as it's straight pipe, and not a head or any fittings directly above the rack, there's no real concern. If you did have a fitting, you could put a drip tray in to direct any potential leaks away (but that really isn't necessary). Heads are the most likely to leak - and if that were the case, you should probably have the fitter move it.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
No code issues that I'm aware of.

As long as it's straight pipe, and not a head or any fittings directly above the rack, there's no real concern. If you did have a fitting, you could put a drip tray in to direct any potential leaks away (but that really isn't necessary). Heads are the most likely to leak - and if that were the case, you should probably have the fitter move it.
The fitter isn't on site. The sprinkler line is preexisting, the data rack is the new kid on the block.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Not an issue. Sprinkler pipes and heads are installed in data closets all of the time. A dry sprinkler system would be a design choice.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Not an issue. Sprinkler pipes and heads are installed in data closets all of the time. A dry sprinkler system would be a design choice.
A better choice would be a single- or double-interlock pre-action system. That way you wouldn't dump water in the closet if you accidentally broke the sprinkler. However, that's a lot of expense for a data closet. It would depend on how sensitive business operations are to the loss of whatever is in the closet. Alas, some people insist on learning that lesson the hard way.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
A better choice would be a single- or double-interlock pre-action system. That way you wouldn't dump water in the closet if you accidentally broke the sprinkler. However, that's a lot of expense for a data closet. It would depend on how sensitive business operations are to the loss of whatever is in the closet. Alas, some people insist on learning that lesson the hard way.
Exactly you're looking at a huge cost difference that's why I mentioned it was a design choice and not a code requirement.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Look at it this way. If you have a fire in the closet the equipment in there will be destroyed, regardless of whether the sprinkler opens to douse the fire. Personally, I want the fire to get put out as quick as possible. Less damage that way.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Look at it this way. If you have a fire in the closet the equipment in there will be destroyed, regardless of whether the sprinkler opens to douse the fire. Personally, I want the fire to get put out as quick as possible. Less damage that way.
My company does any number of service calls for leaking or broken sprinklers every year, and you can probably count on the fingers of one hand, and have a few left over, the sprinklers that get replaced due to fire activation.

No question, if you have an actual fire in that closet, everything is toast anyway, but you are much more likely to have a leak or broken sprinkler than a fire. If the business interruption is going to cost you 10's of thousands of dollars, that's way more that the installation of a pre-action system would run you.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
My company does any number of service calls for leaking or broken sprinklers every year, and you can probably count on the fingers of one hand, and have a few left over, the sprinklers that get replaced due to fire activation.

No question, if you have an actual fire in that closet, everything is toast anyway, but you are much more likely to have a leak or broken sprinkler than a fire. If the business interruption is going to cost you 10's of thousands of dollars, that's way more that the installation of a pre-action system would run you.
maybe the most cost effective answer is some kind of leak detection system. Aren't most systems dry these days anyway?
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
maybe the most cost effective answer is some kind of leak detection system. Aren't most systems dry these days anyway?
The majority of sprinkler systems are wet. There are volume limitations to dry systems that make them unsuitable for large area protection. They also require air maintenance devices (air compressors) which are subject to breakdown or power outages. No one puts them on a UPS, in case you are wondering, although if the premises has a generator, they may go on that. If the compressor dies, or a significant leak develops, the system will trip, flooding the pipe, and then you call us to drain and reset the system.

The prevalence of system types in rough order are:
Wet systems
Dry systems
Pre-action systems
Deluge systems

A leak detection system might be an answer, but its efficacy is going to depend on the size and location of the leak, and whether the leak hits the equipment before it hits the detector.
 

Barbqranch

Senior Member
Location
Arcata, CA
Occupation
Plant maintenance electrician Semi-retired
How about putting some sort of shelf/shield over the data rack, sloped to drain away. For a few dollars at the hardware store you can get a battery operated alarm meant to go under a water heater to put on the shield.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
For a few dollars at the hardware store you can get a battery operated alarm meant to go under a water heater to put on the shield.
I use these on the liquid cooled load banks I design. Cheap insurance.

 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Your being familiar with sprinkler systems, don't you just love the TV/Movie depiction of ALL the heads activating when one is subjected to fire :)
That is one of the reasons that many people object to installing a fire sprinkler system.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Your being familiar with sprinkler systems, don't you just love the TV/Movie depiction of ALL the heads activating when one is subjected to fire :)
Yes, and the most marvelous thing is how crystal clear the water is. Once the water has sat in the pipe for a few months, it becomes the most slimy, odiferous mess you can imagine. If you had that dumped on you, it would immediately trigger your gag reflex. Now eventually it does run clear, or as clear as whatever the sprinkler main is bringing in, but the first few seconds to half a minute are something rare and special. 🤮
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
How about putting some sort of shelf/shield over the data rack, sloped to drain away. For a few dollars at the hardware store you can get a battery operated alarm meant to go under a water heater to put on the shield.
Yes, for minor leaks or condensation that would be the ticket.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
The types of fire extinguishers | Which to use on different fires

What's a fire sprinkler doing in data room. Electrical fires should not be doused with water . . . .not even with wet chemicals.
Most common is CO2 to displace oxygen.

Check the link above.
 
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