Recycling Halon 1301 and 1211

  • November 30, 2020
  • Blog

When it comes to life-threatening situations we are usually ready to take any measures to evade the crisis. Fire safety is one of such matters where every preventive action has to be rapid and effective, and fire suppression systems are a perfect example of definitive fire response. During the 60-70s manufacturers began to widely use a highly effective extinguishing agent – halon 1211 and 1301. Even though now this compound is not considered ecologically friendly, half a century ago the most important factor was that halon was safe for human health. Moreover, it was extremely efficient as a firefighting agent and relatively cheap to use in the manufacture so halon quickly gained its popularity.

However, in the 1980s the scientific community came to the conclusion that some industrial chemicals cause atmospheric emission that decreases ozone layers with a terrible speed. And halon was one of the culprits. It took 7 more years for the world nations to conclude that it is time to act; the US banned halon production in 1987. From that year on, the fire protection industry started a long journey of getting halon out of its system.

Why Is It Important To Recycle Halon Based Fire Suppression Systems?

The ozone layer is the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It nicely blankets our planet guarding it against excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. Thanks to it, you can enjoy sunbathing on St. Petersburg Beach without fear of being cooked alive or get skin cancer. Besides, it filters sun radiation which is also good for all living beings only in small amounts.

Even though halon is quite effective in fire suppression systems because it allows extinguishing fire even behind obstacles and in narrow spaces, it has a high ozone-depleting potency. It means that in the long shot, fires will be the least of our concerns very fast if we rely only on such extinguishing methods. Besides, halon-based fire suppression systems can’t be simply dumped into the garbage – it has to be properly recycled. Even if it will be stored in your backyard next to an old dishwasher and set of worn-down tiers it still bears hazard to nature. Under the influence of time, halon tank shells can lose their durability and air-tightness which will eventually lead to gas leaks.

Is It Illegal To Use Halon Based Fire Suppression Systems In Florida?

When the US signed up under the Montreal Protocol it agreed to follow the politics of reducing the usage of chemicals that had a severe impact on the ozone layer depleting. The next step was banning the production of halon on its territory and limiting its usage drastically. This regulation does not ban halon-based fire suppression systems or fire extinguishers, which means they are completely legal. However, there is one issue that will only grow with time and it is the halon deficiency. While manufacturers can’t produce new amounts of this gas they are still allowed to recycle it and put it back to business. Nevertheless, recycling the gas limited to the point when there will be nothing to recycle. Eventually, this means that prices on halon will only rise and places, where you can get it, will be limited to a couple of local manufactures or international distributors.

How Halon Based Fire Suppression Systems Should Be Recycled?

Disposal of halon-based fire systems is a matter of special approach. Similar to the installation of a fire suppression system it is much wiser to have the removal done by professionals. Generally, it takes two steps to recycle a halon-based fire system: the first is clearing the site where the system is installed and the second is taking care of the halon itself. Deconstruction of any fire protection system is a meticulous process that aims to keep the surrounding construction undamaged and, first and foremost, to safely remove the gas cylinders. Once halon cylinders have been removed they should be cautiously transported to special facilities that can perform halon disposal in accordance with NFPA regulations. Reckless handling of such cylinders can lead to leaks which compromise the whole idea of halon recycling.

Who Can Recycle Halon Based Fire Systems?

The most crucial part of wise recycling of the halon-based fire suppression systems is taking proper care of gas itself. According to regulations, halon recycling and disposal can be performed only by trained and certified specialists. While the gas is not hazardous for human health it still requires special handling. Besides, fire suppression systems can be intricate which can make dismantling a challenge or even a threat to the health of an amateur. Usually, professionals for this job can be found at your local fire safety companies. These companies are not just specialized in selling fire equipment but in servicing, installation, and decommission of complicated fire suppression systems. Such technicians will follow EPA regulations to properly handle halon and decommission it during the 30 days after retrieving the gas. This step depends on the technical equipment of a company – they either recycle it with their own resources or redirect halon to special facilities.

The Cost Of Recycling Halon-Based Fire Suppression System

The cost of recycling your system depends on many factors. Among them are how complicated it is, what condition it is in, and how much halon you have left in it. On the other hand, maintaining such a system will become only more expensive. Since no parts of it are getting any newer your fire suppression system will require more frequent check-ups and repairs. Add on rising maintenance prices and decreasing supply for the extinguishing agent – and you will receive a burning hole in your pocket very soon.

Recycling a halon-based fire suppression system is a timely and wise decision both for your business and the planet. By upgrading to a more modern fire safety routine you will not only contribute to protecting the environment from exposure to harmful chemicals but also will save yourself from overpaying for the maintenance of your fire suppression system in the near future. Here at All Florida Fire Equipment, we can help you figure out another fire preventing solution for your business based on our rich experience and your specific needs.

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