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A Better Way to Keep That Fire Sprinkler Cool

A Better Way to Keep That Fire Sprinkler Cool

faucet-coverHere is a little trick that will allow you to rest easier when thinking about the risk of setting off a fire sprinkler.

We recommend using a styrofoam faucet insulator to protect sprinklers and keep the air surrounding the sprinkler below the temperature of the air in the room.  And in fact, doing that will give you a few degrees of extra protection.  However, if you place a dampened rag or wash cloth inside the insulator cup, you will increase your margin of protection by 10 degrees or more.

We proved it by placing a wireless temp sensor in the insulator cup with the damp cloth.  In a 130-degree room, the dampened cloth kept the temperature around the sprinkler at a cool 110 degrees.

Since most sprinklers in residential areas are set to activate at 155-156 degrees (red fuses), 110 gives you a 45-degree margin of protection.  Try it and see for yourself on your next job.

Can Bugs Hide Inside the Mattress?

An internationally recognized bed bug expert recently questioned our standard treatment protocol which calls for extending a treatment for three hours after reaching 120 degrees.  She felt that running for three hours didn’t automatically guarantee that internal temperatures in mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture had reached fatal temperatures.

Although we had tested this earlier while developing the protocol, we repeated our tests using a food thermometer with a 1/8” steel spike and accuracy of +/- 1 degree C.  The thermometer allowed us to check temperatures  4-5” below the surface of mattresses, foam couch cushions, armrests, etc.  What we found was that the internal temperatures were 8-10⁰ F cooler than the surrounding air, and that the internal temperatures basically paralleled the external temperatures, meaning they went up at the same rate, but stayed 8-10 degrees cooler.

What this means is that by the time your air temperatures reach 130 degrees, which is typically 30-60 minutes after you get to 120⁰, the internal temperature of insulated items is at or above 120⁰.  So if you continue heating for three hours after reaching 120⁰ in the room, the internal temperature of insulated items is without question above the required 120⁰.  You can test this yourself using a quality thermometer such as Grainger models 3KTW1 or 5WG21, or other similar devices you can find online.

Use Milk Crates for Better Air Movement

Use Milk Crates for Better Air Movement

Here is an idea that improves results and makes one-man operation easier, especially when it comes to positioning the mattress and box spring.  Instead of “a-framing” the mattress, set it up on milk crates as shown in the picture.  It is much easier when you are working by yourself, and it gets both pieces of bedding up off the floor.

The same is true for other furniture, clutter, and even your recirc fans.  Anything that keeps air from freely circulating around an object, or the floor that it is setting on, can be improved by putting it on a crate.  Crates can be had online or at some shipping or moving stores locally.

Use of milk crates

Thanks to Greg Osborne of Bug Bakers of Columbus OH for the idea.