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    Selecting the Right Recharge Agent for Restaurant Systems

    By Mark Conroy


    When your customer’s restaurant extinguishing system discharges, it needs to be recharged immediately so business can resume and your customer can return to revenue genera¬tion. Your customer relies on you to get back in business, be¬cause without extinguishing agent in the restaurant system, cooking operations cease. Understanding which extinguish¬ing agents that are required to be used in each system will keep you competitive. Here is what you need to know.

    A cooking oil fire occurs when the auto-ignition tempera¬ture of the oil is reached. That is the temperature where the oil ignites without spark or flame. A cooking oil fire is a special hazard, because (even when it is extinguished) the oil will continually re-ignite unless it is prevented from contact¬ing oxygen in the air. This can only be accomplished with suffocation. The most reasonable method of suffocation is creating a blanket of foam that floats on the surface of the oil.

    Wet chemical is alkaline and will chemically react with the fatty acids in the oil to create soapy foam (saponify) on the surface of a cooking oil fire. The foam that is created ex¬tinguishes the flame and forms a barrier between the cook¬ing oil and air. Essentially, the foam blanket does not allow the flammable vapors to come in contact with air. Since the vapors cannot reach oxygen in the air, the fire will not re-ignite. It will stay extinguished as long as the foam blanket remains undisturbed. That is why wet chemical works so well in restaurant applications.

    The wet chemical used in each manufacturer’s system is unique. According to NFPA 17A, Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems, each system is required to have a spe¬cific wet chemical that is specifically listed for that particular system. Specific formulations of wet chemical agents are also specified by each manufacturer of wet chemical systems for use in their systems.

    According to NFPA 17A, Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems, each system is required to have a specific wet chemical that is specifically listed for that particular system.

    There is a good reason for this. Restaurant systems are pre-engineered and designed by the manufacturers to discharge from certain piping configurations using specific nozzles. This is based on the viscosity and flow characteristics of a specific formulation of wet chemical extinguishing agent. These systems are also rigorously tested to prove the formu¬lations will work with the flow rates and nozzle spray pat¬terns to extinguish the test fires (outlined in UL 300, Fire Testing of Fire Ex¬tinguishing Systems for Protection of Commercial Cooking Equipment). Therefore, only the wet chemical that is used to pass this test can be used as recharge agent in the restaurant system. It is imperative that you recharge systems only with the wet chemical that matches the one that is listed for that manufacturer’s system.

    Wet Chemical Recharge Agents and Flushing Concentrates

    Manufacturer Product P/N Size
    Amerex Wet Chemical AX16924 2.75 gal
    Amerex Wet Chemical AX12866 3.75 gal
    Amerex Wet Chemical AX17450 4.75 gal
    Amerex Wet Chemical AX15416 6.14 gal
    Ansul Ansulex Wet Chemical A79694 1.5 gal
    Ansul Ansulex Wet Chemical A79372 3 gal
    Ansul PRX Liquid Wet Chemical A430182 6 L
    Ansul PRX Liquid Wet Chemical A423320 5 gal
    Ansul Flushing Concentrate A79656 32 oz
    Badger/Kidde APC Wet Chemical KR120030 1.25 gal
    Badger/Kidde APC Wet Chemical KR120031 2.6 gal
    Badger/Kidde APC Wet Chemical KR120032 4 gal
    Badger/Kidde APC Wet Chemical KR120033 6 gal
    Pyro-Chem Wet Chemical, RL-160 PC553176 1.6 gal
    Pyro-Chem Wet Chemical, RL-300 PC551188 3 gal
    Pyro-Chem Flushing Concentrate PC79656 32 oz

    Supplies of recharge wet chemical must be stored in the original closed shipping container supplied by the manu¬facturer. Transferring wet chemical to containers other than those supplied by the manufacturer can result in agent con¬tamination and deterioration of the extinguishing agent over time. Foreign materials and other contaminants can affect the extinguishing agent distribution due to a reduction in nozzle orifice size. The manufacturer’s containers are designed and properly labeled for storage of the product until it is installed in a system. Also remember that NFPA 17A prohibits different formulations of wet chemical solu¬tions to be mixed and those of different manufacturers to be mixed. And wet chemical in storage must be maintained within the temperature range outlined in the manufactur¬er’s installation and maintenance manual.

    Storage Containers:

    • Agent stored in original closed shipping containers
    • Containers are designed and labeled for agent storage
    • Stored where temperatures can be regulated
    • Not to be opened until the system needs recharginge

    Cautions

    • Different formulations cannot be mixed
    • Different manufacturer’s products cannot be mixed
    • Contaminants can reduce nozzle orifices and affect agent distribution.

    You need to be ready when your customer’s restaurant system discharges. Your knowledge of which wet chemical extinguishing agent is right for each kitchen system will enable you to offer the fastest service and get your customer’s cooking operations back up and running. Returning your customer’s cooking operations to generate revenue for him or her will also increase your own revenues. Both your customer’s and your objectives will be met and you’ll both be gratified that a fire safe environment has been restored.


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