Sprinkler Ban Lifted
A ban on fitting sprinklers in ammonia refrigeration machinery rooms has been lifted.
EN 378-3 has been updated and the 2016 edition removes the ban. This was a success achieved by the collaboration of EFSN members in several countries and could not have been achieved by any one member alone.
EN 378-3:2016 refrigerating systems and heat pumps.Safety and environmental requirements. Installation site and personal protection was written by refrigeration experts. Unfortunately they held misconceptions about how sprinkler systems work and were concerned that a system would operate without a fire and release huge quantities of water onto liquid ammonia. While a cup of water dropped into a bucket of liquid ammonia will release clouds of toxic ammonia, this scenario is unrepresentative of an ammonia refrigeration machinery room protected by sprinklers. In fact sprinklers are needed to help prevent ammonia leaks by controlling any fires that may occur in these rooms.
Insurer members of the EFSN first discovered the ban in EN 378-3 when local authorities began to require their clients to decommission existing sprinkler systems. EFSN members met the chairman and secretariat of the CEN committee which wrote the standard and contacted members of its national mirror committees in several countries. Once the technical arguments were made, most national mirror committees supported a repeal of the ban. Their representatives then corrected the CEN standard.