Home Fire Sprinklers

Fire kills over 3,000 people annually in the United States. While we are generally well protected in the workplace and in other commercial buildings by required fire sprinklers, most fires occur in the place we feel safest - our home.

Today's fires burn differently than fires in the 1960's and 1970's. They burn faster and hotter. In the 1970's, it was estimated that residents had up to 17 minutes to escape a home that was on fire. Today, people have just 1 to 3 minutes to escape a home fire. Today's fires quickly fill the entire home with intense heat and toxic smoke.

home Fire sprinkler

Why do today's homes need fire sprinklers?

Why do today's homes need sprinklers?
  • Today's home fires can reach flashover (the point when everything in the room bursts into flame at the same time. Temperatures can reach to higher than 1,100 degrees F. This is not survivable. Having fire sprinklers delays or eliminates flashover from occurring. 
  • Today's home fires create thick, dark, toxic smoke. Activation of fire sprinklers limits the production of this poisonous smoke.
  • Today's homes are filled with overstuffed chairs, sofas, and plastics, that burn at an incredibly fast and hot rate and produces thick dark smoke. Legacy furniture, with its natural stuffing, does not burn as intensely as modern furnishings. 
  • Fire sprinklers limit property damage by as much as 1/2. In Scottsdale, AZ, home sprinkler systems have been required in all new homes since 1986. A 15 year study concluded that the average fire loss in a home protected by sprinkler systems was $2,166 while the average fire loss in a home that's not protected by sprinklers was over $45,000!
  • Most home insurance providers will give you between a 5% and 40% discount on your property insurance. 
  • Having fire sprinklers is like having a firefighter in every room. Smoke detectors may provide early warning, but fire sprinklers provide early control of a fire. They lessen the generation of toxic smoke, and keep temperatures in the home low enough to safely escape

Home Fire Sprinkler Myths Debunked!

There's quite a bit of misinformation out there regarding home fire sprinklers, but here's the truth:
  • Myth #1 - Home fire sprinklers are expensive - FALSE!!!!! Home fire sprinklers in a new home typically add 1.5% to the total cost of construction. For a home that costs $300,000 to build, that is typically only $4,500! Another way to look at it is home fire sprinklers cost about $1.35 per square foot
  • Myth #2 - I've seen sprinklers in the movies before. They all go off at the same time - FALSE!!!!! Home fire sprinklers activate individually, and usually only one or two activated sprinkler heads can control a fire. Each sprinkler head discharges 13-18 gallons of water per minute. Residential sprinkler heads are activated by heat only (135-155 degrees F) and not by smoke or a fire alarm.
  • Myth #3 - Sprinklers cause more water damage than fire damage - FALSE!!!!! While its true that sprinklers cause water damage, at only 13-18 gallons per minute, they cause less damage than a fire department hose which can flow up to 250 gallons/minute. With residential sprinklers, typically less than 200 gallons would have flowed by the time the fire department arrives on scene. The fire department can often control a small fire with a simple 2 1/2 gallon water extinguisher. Since uncontrolled fire grows exponentially, firefighters can flow over 1000 gallons to control the average room and contents fire. Remember, you can dry out a wet couch, but you can't unburn that same couch. 
  • Myth #4 - Sprinklers and sprinkler piping leak - FALSE!!!!! Sprinkler systems are pressure tested to the same levels as your regular household cold water piping. If proper heat is maintained, household pipes usually don't leak. So why would sprinkler pipe leak? Plus some residential sprinkler systems can be designed to integrate with household plumbing systems.