Do medical gas cylinders have to be protected from direct sunlight?

NOTE: All references taken from NFPA 99 – 2012 edition

We get this question from customers with medical gas manifolds installed outdoors sometimes. NFPA 99 addresses this question directly in chapter 11 where it talks about protecting gas cylinders stored outdoors:

Note: sub-paragraph (3)
11.6.5.4 Cylinders stored in the open shall be protected as
follows:
(1) Against extremes of weather and from the ground beneath
to prevent rusting
(2) During winter, against accumulations of ice or snow
(3) During summer, screened against continuous exposure
to direct rays of the sun in those localities where extreme
temperatures prevail

If you have a gas manifold installed outdoors then you need to ask yourself this question: am I in a location where extreme temperatures prevail?  If the answer is yes then you should take steps to protect those gas cylinders from direct sunlight, if the answer is no then maybe you’re fine.  Keep in mind that the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) will ultimately determine if you’re in a location where extreme temperatures prevail.  It may be worth asking your AHJ what they think if you have the relationship with them where that is feasible.

Sub-paragraph (1) & (2) from this reference should not be ignored either.  Rust on cylinders is a common problem so ensure that your concrete pad is well drained and free of dirt & mud.  Ice & snow buildup can be a major issue in the northern states, being diligent and keeping the pad clear so that it can be navigated by personnel is important after a big snowstorm.

If you have any further questions regarding outdoor cylinder storage or any other aspect of NFPA 99 please give us a call at 1-888-256-EMGS (3647)