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Should You Have a Sprinkler System in Your Home?

Monday, June 09, 2014
Sprinkler Head

In the United States, 8 out of 10 fire deaths occur in the home, where we feel the safest. Most fires start small, but reach deadly levels within 3 minutes. Adding a fire protection system to a residential home will help control the flames before they can reach deadly levels, giving the occupant’s time to safely escape the dwelling.

NFPA-13D allows a fire protection system to be installed within living spaces only. The standard does not require sprinklers in small bathrooms, closets, pantries, garages, attics or unoccupied concealed spaces.

There are a few common questions and comments that homeowners have when looking at a residential sprinkler System:

  • If one sprinkler goes off, don’t they all go off?
    • No. That myth is known as the “Hollywood Factor”, only the sprinkler directly affected by the fire will operate. Cigarettes or cooking smoke will not cause sprinklers to activate. In 90% of home fires, only one sprinkler is necessary to contain the fire.
  • Won’t a sprinkler system cost too much?
    • The cost of a NFPA-13D system has decreased over the last 5 years, and research has shown us that the average sprinkler system will cost about 1-1.5% of the overall cost of the home.  In 2010, the median cost per square foot of a sprinkler system was about $1.22, which is less than most flooring that will be installed in a new home.
  • A Fire Protection Sprinkler System will be ugly!
    • A sprinkler system can be designed around architectural features to blend seamlessly into the design of the home. In most cases, the piping will be concealed within walls and ceiling and will never be seen. There are also many styles and types of sprinkler heads to choice from when designing a residential sprinkler system, and one of those styles is a concealed sprinkler head. The concealed head is designed so that you will never see the working parts of the sprinkler. The only noticeable part will be the cover plate assembly which can be custom painted to match any paint color. This will allow the sprinkler to blend into any surface.
  • Will sprinklers leak?
    • The Fire Protection Sprinkler Industry takes many precautions to ensure that accidents do not occur. The automatic sprinkler systems and other system components are tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories and Factory Mutual Research Corporation to make sure that these devices are not prone to leakage. Only 1 in 16,000,000 sprinklers that are in services each year accidentally discharge due to a manufacturing defect.

In conclusion, an NFPA-13D system is to protect what you value most. These systems are designed and installed to allow the occupants time to safely exit home and call for help. A residential system has been compared to having a firefighter at the ready 24 hours a day.

Want more information? Contact Ahern today.

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