A Quick Guide to Fire Sprinkler Systems in the Home

Home sprinkler system

Home Fire Statistics

Residential fires kill 3000 people annually. Children and the elderly hold the greatest risk of death simply because they are less mobile. The average fire department response time for a residential fire is 7-12 minutes, but a fire can become deadly in as little as 3 minutes.

Hands down, the best way to protect a home is to install a fire sprinkler system. No other technology offers as much protection as fire sprinklers. 90% of fires are extinguished using only one sprinkler, and each sprinkler uses only a fraction of water compared to your hose.

How Does a Fire Sprinkler Work?

Contrary to popular belief, smoke will not trigger a sprinkler. Only the extreme heat of a flame will set off a sprinkler. A standard sprinkler head has a liquid-filled glass plug to hold the water back. The liquid in the plug expands in heat, breaking the glass to release the plug. With the plug gone, water freely flows out over the deflector plate and sprinkles over the fire. Water flow will continue until the main valve is shut off.

Fire Sprinkler Diagram

Quick Sprinkler Facts

  • Operates off the household water main
  • Each sprinkler can protect a 12 x 12 area or more
  • In a fire, only the sprinklers closest to the flames will activate
  • Most manufacturers offer concealed sprinklers that will not affect the appearance of your home

Cost Concerns for Fire Sprinklers in the Home

Home fire sprinklers are not as expensive as you may think. Homeowners benefit because fire sprinklers increase their property value. Insurance rates may decrease. Financial losses from a fire may decrease by 90%.

Builders have found a way to reduce construction costs with sprinklers using trade-ups. The average cost to sprinkler a home in 2013 was $1.35 per square foot.

Why You Should Consider a Home Sprinkler System

Just in case low cost and safety aren’t on the top of your priorities list, the law may mandate home fire sprinkler systems. In New York, legislation has passed requiring some homes to have a home fire sprinkler system. A similar law  is being discussed in California and other states. How long until your state passes the same law?

Get Answers

For more information, visit NFPA online or the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Click here or call 1-800-859-6198 to contact an expert.

Greg Lane

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Posted on: September 18, 2015

One thought on “A Quick Guide to Fire Sprinkler Systems in the Home

  1. I’m considering installing fire sprinklers in my home, so it helps to know this information about how they’re supposed to work. It’s interesting that they usually have a glass plug that needs to expand in heat before it can break. That seems like a good way to create a signal for a fire sprinkler system to work during an emergency.

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