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Installing A Home Fire Sprinkler System

There are hundreds if not thousands of articles in magazines and on the Internet that spell out the advantages of having a home fire sprinkler system. Almost ever fire chief and home safety organization around the world supports the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems. They are proven to save lives and billions of dollars in damages.

If you are building a new home or doing a major remodel to your current home you should definitely consider the installation of a fire sprinkler system.

Installing a fire sprinkler system in your home is really not a do-it-yourself project. The systems must be engineered to perform properly and it is prudent to have a company that specializes in residential sprinkler systems to perform the engineering, installation and testing. In most municipalities a building permit is required, and that building permit will only be issued against a detailed set of engineered plans.

drawing of piping and fittings for a home sprinkler system

Figure 1 - Drawing of piping and fittings for a home sprinkler system

In most areas the installation of a sprinkler system will reduce the costs of your yearly fire insurance premium, so over time, it will in fact pay for itself. But more importantly, it is a minor cost when considering the safety and security or your family.

If you are an avid do-it-yourselfer you may be able to save some installation expenses by running the piping and doing the main water entry plumbing. Discuss how you might save money by discussing what you might be able to do with the contractor that you have chosen.

Costs will vary, in a new home, that has yet to be built, the costs for the system and installation will be between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot of living space, which in effect will add no more than 1% to 2% of the cost of the home.

In homes that are already constructed the costs will increase due to the labor of concealing the piping and repairs to damaged wall and ceiling drywall. In a single story home, with relatively convenient attic space the cost should not be more than $3.00 a square foot.

Because residential fire sprinkler systems have become more popular, the sprinkler heads have been redesigned to meet the aesthetic needs of residential applications. Sprinkler heads are no longer "ugly" pieces of piping that protrude from ceilings and walls. As a matter of fact, in many instances the sprinkler heads can be installed with cover plates, that blow-away when the head becomes active.

Popular Sprinkler Head Styles

concealed sprinkler head

Concealed Sprinkler Head

sidewall sprinkler head

Sidewall Sprinkler Head

pendent sprinkler head

Pendent Sprinkler Head

While each sprinkler head manufacturer will have a slightly different product, the heads displayed in the chart above represent the most common configurations.

One sprinkler head will usually cover a room in an average home as most are designed for a 12' X 12' room. Additionally, individual sprinkler heads are available to provide coverage for rooms as large as 20' X 20'. The exact layout of the sprinkler heads needs to be engineered and is subject to staircases and other obstacles.

Selection of sprinkler heads.