If you have been advised to line or refurbish a fire sprinkler tank, an EPDM lining could be an excellent option. As well as being cost-effective, it will extend the life of your tank. So, as well as saving you money, it will ensure the long-term storage and supply of water to your fire sprinkler system. In this feature, we look at the benefits of EPDM and the lining process.
Maintaining a sprinkler tank is important. Failing to ensure your water storage facility is in good working order could impact your insurance policy and put safety at risk. That is why recommendations made during expert inspections should always be carried through. If you have been given a set of options, you may want to talk to sprinkler tank specialists to get a better understanding of what each involves and the likely costs. A good expert will offer free technical advice and supply a written quotation.
What is an EPDM lining?
An EPDM lining is made from three main materials – ethylene, propylene and a diene. The latter is a comonomer which makes the lining extremely robust. It allows the other materials to cross link. This is achieved through sulphur vulcanisation. Unlike its predecessor, ERP, EPDM is does not use harsh chemicals such as peroxide. Known as an M-class rubber, it benefits from elastomers.
While some sprinkler tank lining projects still use butyl rubber, UK experts such as Nationwide Water Solutions prefer EPDM because of its excellent properties. Butyl rubber is synthetic and is manufactured with isobutylene and isoprene. This lining product is now seen as an inferior material to EPDM, which is recognised for its high quality and durability.
When should a sprinkler tank be lined with EPDM?
You should only ever have a sprinkler tank lined with EPDM – or any other material – if the work has been recommended by a qualified expert. While sprinkler tank refurbishment is a great way to extend the life of your water tank, it may not be suitable if the vessel is deemed beyond repair. In some cases, it may be determined that a sprinkler tank needs replacing.
Lining a water tank can be carried out in the course of refurbishment work. This project should only be undertaken by recognised experts. In addition to requiring ventilation equipment, mobile scaffolding will be required. Those carrying out the work should be trained to operate at height and have the necessary first aid training. They should also know how to manage risks.
You can find out if your sprinkler tank is suitable for EPDM lining by booking an independent inspection.
The benefits of lining a water tank
If you have been presented with the option to line a sprinkler tank with EPDM, you can expect to minimise disruption while saving time and money. Of course, this solution is also incredibly long-lasting. You can extend the life of a water tank by at least a decade. One of the biggest benefits of EPDM lining is that it is often guaranteed – something you don’t always get with a new sprinkler tank.
If you are considering replacing your tank, take into account the likely disruption involved. Is it really necessary or even convenient? Those who run busy manufacturing or industrial plants will often opt for lining because the impact on a site is much less severe. You can line steel sectional, GRP, concrete and other types of tank structures with EPDM.
Processes involved in lining a sprinkler tank
If you have decided to go ahead and have your sprinkler tank lined with EPDM, you can expect the work to be carried out to the following schedule:
- Initial work (closure of inlet valve, etc)
- Draining the tank (up to 36 hours, depending on its capacity)
- Debris and sediment removal (once tank is drained)
- Internal connections removed
- Flanges given a clean
- Matting bag put in place
- EPDM lining fitted
- Connections and fittings re-installed
- Tank refilled with water
The total time it will take to undertake all of these processes is generally around four days. However, your contractor will be able to give you a more precise timeline for your project.
Fire safety and water tank security
Water tanks are prone to corrosion and rust. That makes leaks a threat, particularly in older or poorly maintained tanks. Loss of water can impact the cost of a fire sprinkler system and cause water levels to drop inside a sprinkler tank. Ensuring water remains at the correct level at all times is essential to ensure a fire can be effectively tackled and contained.
An EPDM lining is a good way to repair a tank and ensure it is fit for purpose. It will prevent leaks and save money otherwise wasted through lost water. This economical solution is popular because it offers a robust yet cheaper solution than many alternative options. Not only that, this lining solution can be used on a wide range of tanks, including those underground. Linings are usually made to measure and manufactured prior to the installation process outlined above.
If you have any questions about EPDM or sprinkler tank repair, talk to a qualified contractor. The key points to remember include: only instruct a qualified installer, ensure you are offered a guarantee and be clear about the options most suitable for your tank.
Water tanks play a pivotal role in fire safety. Taking care of them and ensuring they are up to the job should be a priority. As well as giving you peace of mind, lining a tank will save you money in the long run and guarantee you have the water available needed to save lives and property in the event of the unthinkable happening. If fire safety is at the top of your priority list, don’t overlook the importance of taking care of your fire sprinkler tank. Its function is crucial to the performance of your sprinklers.
You can find further resources about sprinkler tanks, including advice about installation and refurbishment, on this website.