Why Install Fire Sprinklers in your home?

Home fire sprinklers work very quickly, and speed during a fire is important! They can keep a fire smaller longer giving people more time to escape to safety. Residential sprinklers put out 90% of fires in the home before the fire department is able to arrive at the scene [1]. This prevents the fire from spreading to other areas of the home, thus preventing further damage and protecting people inside from harm.

Remember, always call 9-1-1 from outside the home if there is a fire, whether fire sprinklers are installed or not!

National Fire Protection Association News Release on Study of Housing Starts and Costs in areas with and without Residential Sprinkler Ordinances.
New report finds sprinkler ordinances don't hurt housing construction prices.

Useful Links:

How Home Fire Sprinklers Work 1

  • Pipes for sprinkler systems are very similar to plumbing pipes.
  • A small number of sprinklers are installed in each room to provide coverage for the entire home.
  • The sprinkler acts as a stopper or plug in the pipe to hold water in until the sprinkler is activated. In the sprinkler itself is a heat-sensitive device that, when heated by fire, will break and allow water to flow and put out the fire.
  • Unlike the Hollywood movies, not all of the sprinklers are activated at once. Only the sprinklers closest to the fire are activated.
  • Sprinklers cannot be activated by smoke.

*Click here to see sprinkler demo videos from the New Zealand Fire Service and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition!

Water Usage 1

  • Sprinklers use much less water than the fire hoses used by the fire department. Fire hoses use 8 ½ times more water than home fire sprinklers do.
  • According to the Scottsdale Report findings, on average, fire hoses use 2,935 gallons of water to control a fire. Home sprinklers use on average only 341gallons of water. Fire sprinklers will save homeowners a significant amount of money on water damage after a fire.

Cost Benefit of Sprinklers
Having sprinklers installed in your home will save money in the long run!

  • The cost of fire and water damage after a fire in a home with sprinklers installed is on average $2,166 [1]
  • The cost of fire and water damage after a fire in a home without sprinklers is on average $45,019
  • A USFA Study shows that sprinkler systems are economical. The present value of net benefits (PVNB) in 2005 is estimated as $2919 for colonial style homes, $3099 for townhouses and $4166 for ranch style homes. [2]

Common Questions and Concerns about Fire Sprinklers

  • Sprinklers are ugly.
    • Today many sprinklers are subtle and can be mounted flush to the ceiling and walls. Some sprinklers can even be concealed.
  • Can sprinklers go off accidentally and cause unnecessary water damage?
    • The likelihood of a sprinkler activating without a fire is extremely rare. The odds are about 1 in 16 million. Despite television site gags, sprinklers cannot be triggered by cigarette smoke.
  • How much will it cost to install sprinklers in my home?
    • Today sprinklers cost about the same as installing new cabinets or carpeting. The most cost effective time to install a sprinkler system is during the construction of the home. On average, installing sprinklers is only 1.0 to 1.5% of the total building cost. 2
  • What about my insurance premiums? Can I save?
    • Insurance costs tend to go down with the installation of sprinkler systems because they keep damage to the home low. Savings vary between insurance companies so shop around!
  • Will I be able to install a fire sprinkler system if my home does not have town water?
    • Yes. Sprinkler installation standards (NFPA 13D) permit the installation of an on-site tank with a domestic water pump. In some cases, a domestic well can be utilized.
  • Can I install them myself?
    • No. Contact a Massachusetts licensed fire sprinkler system contractor to install them.

*Need help finding a contractor?

http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dps/dps-license-lookup.html
 

[1] Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, www.homefiresprinker.org, retrieved 12/12/07

[2] US Fire Administration, Benefit Cost Analysis of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems, Retrieved 3/7/08, from www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/research/dsn/sprinkler_systems.shtm