UL Testing of 'Model GB' Series Fire Sprinklers Continues

Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

    NORTHBROOK, Ill., April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), one of the world's foremost product
 safety and certification organizations, continues to conduct operational
 testing on field samples of certain "Model GB" series fire sprinklers with
 "O-ring" water seals manufactured by Central Sprinkler Co. of Lansdale, Pa.
 These sprinklers may leak or not operate in a fire because they may require a
 higher water pressure to operate than is available in some buildings.
     To date, based on laboratory testing of more than 1,800 "Model GB" series
 sprinkler samples removed from more than 100 installation locations, UL has
 found that 26 percent of the samples tested have required an inlet pressure
 greater than 5 pounds per square inch (psi) to discharge water.  Approximately
 7 percent have required an inlet pressure greater than 40 psi to discharge
 water.  New sprinklers are required to operate at a water pressure of 5 pounds
 per square inch to be authorized for a UL Listing.  To meet National Fire
 Protection Association (NFPA) installation requirements, sprinklers must
 operate at 7 psi.  Although the water pressure available in most buildings
 exceeds 7 psi, some sprinkler samples tested by UL did not operate at 60 psi,
 which exceeds the water pressure available in some occupancies, including
 residences.
     "In a large percentage of sprinkler samples UL has received, crystallized
 white or dark-colored deposits or corrosion may be observed around the
 sprinkler's water seal assembly, indicating that water has leaked past the
 sprinkler's `O-ring' water seal," said Jim Beyreis, UL's vice president of
 Global Programs and Services.  "National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
 standards require that leaking sprinklers be replaced, and UL recommends that
 these leaking sprinklers be replaced as soon as possible."
     Even if there are no visible signs of leakage, Beyreis said the operation
 of the "Model GB" series sprinklers in the event of a fire is open to question
 because they may require higher water pressure to operate than is available in
 the building(s) involved.
     The "Model GB" series sprinklers under investigation were introduced in
 1988 and are identified by the following prefixes: GB, GB-ALPHA, GB-J, GB-QR,
 GB-EC, GB-RS, GB-20, GB-20QR, GBR, GB-R1, GB-R2, GBR-LF, GB4, GB4-EC, GB4-FR,
 GB4-QREC, BB1, BB2, BB3, SD1, SD2, SD3, HIP, ROC, LF and WS.  All of these
 models may be affected, without regard to the year of manufacture or
 installation.  However, due to design changes, not all sprinklers manufactured
 with these model designations are equipped with "O-ring" water seals
     Currently manufactured versions of these models are not equipped with an
 "O-ring" water seal.  Only those models equipped with "O-ring" water seals are
 under investigation.  Building managers, homeowners and property owners can
 verify whether their fire sprinkler system is affected by directly contacting
 their fire sprinkler service company or the sprinkler manufacturer for
 identification information.
     By examining the "spare" sprinklers provided when systems were installed
 building managers, homeowners and property owners can also usually identify
 the types of sprinklers used in a fire sprinkler system.  Figure A illustrates
 a "Model GB" series sprinkler equipped with an "O-ring" water seal.  Figure B
 illustrates the same type sprinkler without an "O-ring" water seal.
     "UL strongly recommends that building managers, homeowners and property
 owners whose buildings or homes are equipped with these sprinklers immediately
 contact their fire sprinkler service company to assess their fire sprinkler
 system to determine the appropriate corrective action, including replacement,"
 said Beyreis.
     Building owners who desire to have their sprinklers tested should select
 representative samples of these sprinkler models from the installation and
 send them to UL for testing.  Before representative sprinkler samples are
 submitted for testing, instructions for the proper removal and packaging
 procedures for samples from existing sprinkler systems must first be obtained
 from Central Sprinkler Co.  Once samples have been properly removed and
 packaged according to the instructions, they may be sent to Mr. Kerry Bell at
 Underwriters Laboratories Inc., 333 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook, Ill. 60062 for
 operational testing.  In keeping with its not-for-profit, testing for public
 safety mission, UL will conduct these operational tests at no cost to the
 submitter during the course of UL's investigation, with the exception of the
 expenses associated with the removal, replacement, shipping and handling of
 the sprinklers. Building owners wishing to obtain information concerning these
 sprinklers or the manufacturer's warranty should contact Central Sprinkler
 Co., 451 Cannon Avenue, Lansdale, Pa., or call 1-800-523-6512.
     Beyreis said UL is also investigating sprinklers of similar construction.
 "Fire sprinklers have an excellent field record, have saved countless lives
 and reduced property damage.  We are concerned about the continued reliability
 of sprinklers equipped with `O-ring' water seals, because of recent field
 reports and the associated test results of these products in UL's
 laboratories.  For these reasons, we recommend that systems incorporating
 these sprinklers be tested at least annually."
     Beyreis noted that UL is considering a proposal to revise the appropriate
 UL Standards for Safety with respect to the "O-ring" water seals.
 
     UL is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification
 organization that evaluates products, materials and systems in the interest of
 public safety.  As part of its safety mission, UL has investigated and Listed
 automatic sprinklers for fire protection for nearly a century.  More than
 17 billion UL Marks appear on new products each year, and more than 18,000
 types of products are tested at UL's five U.S. laboratories located in:
 Northbrook, Ill.; Melville, NY; Santa Clara, Calif; Research Triangle Park,
 NC; and Camas, Wash.  Worldwide, the UL family of companies includes more than
 190 inspection centers in 72 countries; and affiliate in Canada; and
 subsidiaries in Mexico, Brazil and countries throughout Europe and Asia.  For
 a copy of this release, or to obtain further information about UL, visit
 www.ul.com .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
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SOURCE Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
    NORTHBROOK, Ill., April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), one of the world's foremost product
 safety and certification organizations, continues to conduct operational
 testing on field samples of certain "Model GB" series fire sprinklers with
 "O-ring" water seals manufactured by Central Sprinkler Co. of Lansdale, Pa.
 These sprinklers may leak or not operate in a fire because they may require a
 higher water pressure to operate than is available in some buildings.
     To date, based on laboratory testing of more than 1,800 "Model GB" series
 sprinkler samples removed from more than 100 installation locations, UL has
 found that 26 percent of the samples tested have required an inlet pressure
 greater than 5 pounds per square inch (psi) to discharge water.  Approximately
 7 percent have required an inlet pressure greater than 40 psi to discharge
 water.  New sprinklers are required to operate at a water pressure of 5 pounds
 per square inch to be authorized for a UL Listing.  To meet National Fire
 Protection Association (NFPA) installation requirements, sprinklers must
 operate at 7 psi.  Although the water pressure available in most buildings
 exceeds 7 psi, some sprinkler samples tested by UL did not operate at 60 psi,
 which exceeds the water pressure available in some occupancies, including
 residences.
     "In a large percentage of sprinkler samples UL has received, crystallized
 white or dark-colored deposits or corrosion may be observed around the
 sprinkler's water seal assembly, indicating that water has leaked past the
 sprinkler's `O-ring' water seal," said Jim Beyreis, UL's vice president of
 Global Programs and Services.  "National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
 standards require that leaking sprinklers be replaced, and UL recommends that
 these leaking sprinklers be replaced as soon as possible."
     Even if there are no visible signs of leakage, Beyreis said the operation
 of the "Model GB" series sprinklers in the event of a fire is open to question
 because they may require higher water pressure to operate than is available in
 the building(s) involved.
     The "Model GB" series sprinklers under investigation were introduced in
 1988 and are identified by the following prefixes: GB, GB-ALPHA, GB-J, GB-QR,
 GB-EC, GB-RS, GB-20, GB-20QR, GBR, GB-R1, GB-R2, GBR-LF, GB4, GB4-EC, GB4-FR,
 GB4-QREC, BB1, BB2, BB3, SD1, SD2, SD3, HIP, ROC, LF and WS.  All of these
 models may be affected, without regard to the year of manufacture or
 installation.  However, due to design changes, not all sprinklers manufactured
 with these model designations are equipped with "O-ring" water seals
     Currently manufactured versions of these models are not equipped with an
 "O-ring" water seal.  Only those models equipped with "O-ring" water seals are
 under investigation.  Building managers, homeowners and property owners can
 verify whether their fire sprinkler system is affected by directly contacting
 their fire sprinkler service company or the sprinkler manufacturer for
 identification information.
     By examining the "spare" sprinklers provided when systems were installed
 building managers, homeowners and property owners can also usually identify
 the types of sprinklers used in a fire sprinkler system.  Figure A illustrates
 a "Model GB" series sprinkler equipped with an "O-ring" water seal.  Figure B
 illustrates the same type sprinkler without an "O-ring" water seal.
     "UL strongly recommends that building managers, homeowners and property
 owners whose buildings or homes are equipped with these sprinklers immediately
 contact their fire sprinkler service company to assess their fire sprinkler
 system to determine the appropriate corrective action, including replacement,"
 said Beyreis.
     Building owners who desire to have their sprinklers tested should select
 representative samples of these sprinkler models from the installation and
 send them to UL for testing.  Before representative sprinkler samples are
 submitted for testing, instructions for the proper removal and packaging
 procedures for samples from existing sprinkler systems must first be obtained
 from Central Sprinkler Co.  Once samples have been properly removed and
 packaged according to the instructions, they may be sent to Mr. Kerry Bell at
 Underwriters Laboratories Inc., 333 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook, Ill. 60062 for
 operational testing.  In keeping with its not-for-profit, testing for public
 safety mission, UL will conduct these operational tests at no cost to the
 submitter during the course of UL's investigation, with the exception of the
 expenses associated with the removal, replacement, shipping and handling of
 the sprinklers. Building owners wishing to obtain information concerning these
 sprinklers or the manufacturer's warranty should contact Central Sprinkler
 Co., 451 Cannon Avenue, Lansdale, Pa., or call 1-800-523-6512.
     Beyreis said UL is also investigating sprinklers of similar construction.
 "Fire sprinklers have an excellent field record, have saved countless lives
 and reduced property damage.  We are concerned about the continued reliability
 of sprinklers equipped with `O-ring' water seals, because of recent field
 reports and the associated test results of these products in UL's
 laboratories.  For these reasons, we recommend that systems incorporating
 these sprinklers be tested at least annually."
     Beyreis noted that UL is considering a proposal to revise the appropriate
 UL Standards for Safety with respect to the "O-ring" water seals.
 
     UL is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification
 organization that evaluates products, materials and systems in the interest of
 public safety.  As part of its safety mission, UL has investigated and Listed
 automatic sprinklers for fire protection for nearly a century.  More than
 17 billion UL Marks appear on new products each year, and more than 18,000
 types of products are tested at UL's five U.S. laboratories located in:
 Northbrook, Ill.; Melville, NY; Santa Clara, Calif; Research Triangle Park,
 NC; and Camas, Wash.  Worldwide, the UL family of companies includes more than
 190 inspection centers in 72 countries; and affiliate in Canada; and
 subsidiaries in Mexico, Brazil and countries throughout Europe and Asia.  For
 a copy of this release, or to obtain further information about UL, visit
 www.ul.com .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X13224645
 
 SOURCE  Underwriters Laboratories Inc.