Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home. Although smoke alarms are essential in every household, they're designed to detect, not control, a fire. Home fire sprinklers complement the fire alarms' that work, providing a way to fight flames immediately.
In less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene, home fire sprinklers can contain and even extinguish a fire. There's less damage and less chance of deadly smoke and gases reaching your family. In addition, sprinkler systems can put out fire when you are away from home, and if they are connected to an alarm system, may could notify the fire department in your absence.
- When building a home, you can install a home fire sprinkler system for about the same cost of installing carpet, upgrading cabinets, or adding a spa. A good rule of thumb estimate is to add one to one-and-a-half percent to the cost of new housing. Fire sprinklers can also be installed in existing homes. When you consider the degree of built-in reliability and responsiveness that home fire sprinklers offer, the investment is a wise one.
- Modern residential sprinklers are inconspicuous and can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings. Some sprinklers can even be concealed. Just like regular plumbing, pipes can be hidden behind ceilings or walls.
- Some insurance companies provide significant discounts when automatic fire sprinkler systems are installed.
- Sprinklers keep fires small. In residences with sprinklers, 90 percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler. Each head is independently activated by the heat of a fire as needed. Only the sprinkler heads in the immediate area of the flames will operate.
- The odds are 1 in 16 million that a sprinkler will accidentally discharge because of a manufacturing defect. One study concluded that improper sprinkler operation is generally less likely and less severe than mishaps involving standard home plumbing systems. Despite the "sight gags" on television sit-coms, burnt toast or cigarette smoke is not enough to trigger sprinkler operation.
- Home fire sprinklers decrease fire damage by as much as two-thirds in residences with fire sprinklers when compared with those without sprinklers. Because the fire sprinkler system reacts so quickly, it can dramatically reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire, and home fire sprinkler systems release only 10 to 26 gallons of water per minute. In a home without sprinklers, a fire department often arrives after the fire has grown to dangerous levels. At that point, a number of hose streams must be applied to the fire at 125 gallons per minute for each hose. The resulting water damage is actually much lower with home fire sprinklers.
- To ensure sprinkler system reliability, be sure to use a qualified contractor who adheres to NFPA codes and standards and local fire safety regulations.
Information compiled from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.