Automatic sprinkler systems have been a standard safety requirement for many commercial buildings for decades, but expanding the equipment to the residential market has been a very slow process. Most homeowners aren't aware of the facts about these life-saving sprinklers and instead make their decisions based on widespread myths. Learn to separate the truth from the myths when it comes to home fire sprinkler systems.
Home Sprinklers are Expensive
It's true, installing sprinklers in your home will cost more than simply not adding any fire safety equipment at all. However, it's less expensive than you probably think to add the plumbing and sprinklers during the construction process. For a new home, you could spend as little as $1.35 per square foot for continuous and automatic coverage. For a 1,000 square foot home, that's just $1,350. When you consider the costs of repairing after even a small kitchen fire, that's a drop in the bucket. Fire damage restoration costs $45,000 on average and that's only if the home can be saved, so even spending a few thousand on installation in an existing home will save you money in case of a fire.
Home Sprinklers are Banned
Some homeowners believe that their local or state building codes have banned the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems in residential buildings. However, this is very unlikely to be true. In fact, it's a growing trend for building code officials to require new home construction to include these safety features. In fact, there have even been proposed revisions to the International Building Code that would mandate this equipment for all new construction. Double check your local codes by calling the code enforcement office for your city or county before assuming you're not allowed to install such an important life-saving system in your own home.
Home Sprinklers Don't Work
A poorly maintained or incorrectly installed sprinkler system can definitely fail to put out a fire, but that's a fact that extends to everything in life. A fire sprinkler system that functions as it was intended to does work to put out a fire and will save lives and prevent damage to the home. Sprinklers that go off at the wrong time are very rare, and modern systems are built to only trigger the sprinklers in the room where the fire has started. This minimizes water damage, which is still easier and less expensive to clean up than fire and smoke damage.
It's not smoke that triggers the water to come on but heat instead, so you won't have to worry about soaking your carpet just because your toast got a little too dark. Installing a sprinkler system reduces your chances of dying if there is a fire by 82%, so obviously they do work to control fires and save lives. The 97% reduction in property damage is nothing to sneeze at either.
Home Sprinklers Waste Water
It might seem silly to worry about how much water is being using to douse a flaming oven or curtain, but some homeowners do use it as an excuse not to invest in fire sprinklers. Yet this is an easy myth to debunk simply by checking the gallons of water used by firefighters when they're putting out a blaze. In a 15-year study, sprinklers were able to put out fires with an average of 341 gallons of water. It took firefighters an average of around 2,900 gallons to do the same thing.
Home Sprinklers are Ugly
Finally, there's a persistent myth that you need dozens of shiny metal sprinklers poking inches out of your ceiling in each room for safe coverage. This isn't true with today's systems that use hidden and recessed sprinklers with only a few in each room. Don't let aesthetics hold you back from protecting your family and your home.