Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems: Sorting Facts From Fiction


Like buying more life or health insurance, guarding yourself and the ones you love is a priceless sentiment. Yet, we take risks and don’t think of such precautions all of the time. Those who install sprinkler systems add another layer of protection against fire damage as well as protect pets and loved ones from injury and death.

Sort through the following facts, separating sprinkler system truths from fiction.

Soaked and Inconvenienced

Consider something as innocuous as a smoke alarm going off while cooking. While bothersome, all that is warranted is wafting smoke away with a towel or temporarily disconnecting the unit. However, those yet to install sprinkler systems wrongly assume that once triggered, the entire system floods the home.

This is not so; each sprinkler has its own sensor and the ability to respond individually, so a small fire or ‘false alarm,’ won’t summon a deluge of water. The in-home sprinkler system is designed to contain flames as other sprinkler heads go off as needed, so you’re never inconvenienced or left having to deal with unnecessary water.

Similarly, some believe that systems can malfunction and accidentally go off, damaging belongings, yet upon reading about fire protection sprinklers at, you’ll find that owners seldom report accidental discharges or of sprinklers going off when there is no reason for alarm.

Extreme Water Damage

Some are reluctant to install sprinklers because they don’t want to deal with the damage that goes along with excessive water. However, water causes much less damage than fire, which can completely destroy walls or the home in addition to seriously injuring family members. Water damage is a minor derivative of saving yourself from thousands of dollars worth of damage. Moreover, in worst-case scenarios, water discharged from a fire-hose will do much more damage to your home than a sprinkler system that reacts immediately to contain and fight a fire.

Waste of Money and Time

Some believe that sprinkler systems are ineffective in treating a major fire, yet it’s been reported that properly installed systems are 98-99% effective in controlling and fighting fires. The majority of sprinkler failures have to do with improper maintenance in addition to forgetfulness (leaving valves in a closed rather than open position).

Cheaper Yet Effective Substitutes

You can’t put a price on the health of family members and every second counts regarding containing flames. However, some choose to install automatic fire detection systems rather than sprinklers. While fire detection systems are great in alerting inhabitants of a fire, such precautionary measures cannot do anything about immediately containing or fighting flames.

Too Much Cost

Of course, price is a point of interest to those thinking about installing sprinklers. Those who are ready to balk at the price of such safeguards are surprised at the affordability while others wrongly estimate prices by comparing residential to commercial costs. However, property owners can save money on insurance by installing systems. A residential system connected to public water costs about $1 per square foot, which is much less than the cost of carpeting.

Also, the maintenance of modern models is minimal compared to sprinkler systems of the past. The only inspection and maintenance needed for home models is the occasional check to see that the heads are unobstructed to ensure water can come out and checking that the main control valve stays on in case the system is needed.

Ugly Exterior

Lastly, those who choose other kinds of safety alternatives believe that sprinkler systems are too intrusive or downright ugly, even influencing the resale value of their home. However, systems can be designed to maintain the aesthetic beauty of a home or commercial property. Pipes are concealed above ceilings, placed behind soffits, or made to ‘blend in’ with a property’s interior. More manufacturers, empathetic with the cause, are producing ornamental models in an array of colors that are well concealed while not creating an eyesore for owners or home visitors.

Quick Statistics

As mentioned, like insurance, sprinklers are often overlooked or the notion of installment is placed on hold. However, can you put a price on your family’s well being or in-home possessions that have sentimental value? Each year, well over 2,000 deaths occur due to in-home fires amid 365,000 reported fires doing structural damage.

While it’s highly likely that you and family can survive a home fire (Only a small percentage of fires result in death.), do you want a family member to be included within the small percentage of those who don’t survive, especially knowing there is something you can do to prevent such a catastrophe?

Sarah Reed is a home decorator. She loves writing about renovating and decorating the home. Her articles are available on many homeowner and DIY sites.