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Home Fire Sprinklers

Fire and smoke alarms are invaluable for saving lives, and adding a home fire sprinkler system can also lower your insurance costs and, if a fire does occur, save your home from significant damage. Though more easily installed during new construction because of their plumbing backbone, home sprinkler systems can also be added to existing homes.

Sprinklers put out the fire when it is small and just starting; thus using less water and causing less water damage than fire hoses. Heat-activated sprinkler heads, connected to a water line, are located throughout the house. Individual sprinkler heads are activated by heat melting a trigger made of metal or liquid-filled tube (thus, it is important not to paint over or hang plants on or near the heads because this might affect their ability to sense heat as well as disperse water). Only the heads nearest the fire activate.

The success of sprinkler systems lies with their simple design and ability to very quickly extinguish a fire. False triggers are rare since they cannot be triggered by smoke. They are virtually maintenance free and require only periodic testing.

When shopping for a home fire sprinkler system, consider these points:

  • Look for a discreet system and sprinkler head design. Modern residential systems can be hidden in walls and the heads mounted flush with the ceiling.
  • Make sure you are installing a residential system. Commercial systems are designed to delivered much higher water volumes than are recommended for homes and can thus cause water-related damage when activated.
  • Choose a system with a fixed water capacity or a reliable automatic shut-off; that way, if the system is triggered when no one is home, the system does not continue to run after the fire is extinguished. Lacking this, there needs to be some type of alarm system and easily accessible valve so that the sprinklers can be manually shut off.

Adding less than 2% of the cost of construction (less than the cost of a carpet upgrade), home fire sprinklers are an affordable safeguard recommended by the U.S. government and endorsed by many fire chiefs across the country.

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