Fire Safety

Fire Sprinklers will Ruin my House

When some think of residential fire sprinklers, they may have some incorrect ideas. This short message is intended to dispel some of the myths and provide some good information related to residential fire sprinklers. The reality may be very different from what you perceive.

Fire Sprinkler Facts

A fact from the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), “The risk of dying (In a residential fire) decreases by about 80% when the home is equipped with a fire sprinkler system.” This is an incredible fact, but the negative perception of fire sprinklers has at times overshadowed the reality. Let’s discuss how fire sprinkler systems really work.

How do Fire Sprinklers Work?

Water comes into your home from a municipal water system or from a well and goes to your sinks, showers, toilets, lawns, etc. You have a network of piping that carries this water throughout your home. Fire sprinklers utilize this same water. Each room in your home will have at least one sprinkler head, which delivers water to control the fire.

As a fire begins to burn, smoke starts to fill the home. Smoke does not set off sprinkler heads. This is a major misconception. Only heat at an individual sprinkler head will set the sprinkler off. Burnt popcorn, fried foods, or smoking (Virtual CRR discourages smoking indoors) does not set off sprinkler heads.

As the fire increases, heat begins to rise at the ceiling level. When the temperature at the sprinkler head reaches a predetermined level, the head will operate. When one head operates, it does not set off any other heads. Unfortunately, in many movies it shows all of the sprinkler heads going off at the same time. This is not a reality. When one head opens up, it begins to cool and typically extinguish the fire. Another sprinkler head will open only if the fire continues to grow, and the temperature at that head reaches the predetermined temperature.

Do Fire Sprinklers Cause Water Damage?

A question we often hear is, “Won’t that open head cause water damage?” Yes it will, but the fire will be held in check and often extinguished before the arrival of the fire department. If the fire were allowed to grow without a fire sprinkler activation, waiting until the fire department arrived, an average of 10x as much water is typically used by the fire department. The fire would have also grown causing more damage and endangering the lives of those in the home. Damage to one area of the home that would result anyway is much better than damage over a larger area and increased danger to occupants.

Many feel that fire sprinklers are ascetically unpleasant. While we can’t say you won’t see them, we can say they may not look as bad as you think. Most of us think of a 6” metal sprinkler head hanging out of the ceiling we common see in public buildings and businesses when we think of what a sprinkler head looks like. Residential sprinkler heads are much smaller and are often hidden behind an access panel. They typically can be made to match the colors of your home. This makes them much more ascetically pleasing than their commercial counterparts.

Virtual CRR encourages you to install a residential fire sprinkler system in your home and buying or building your next home with them installed. With a fire sprinkler system in your home, it is like having a firefighter ready to go into action 24hrs a day 7 days a week. We feel that having a fire sprinkler system in conjunction with smoke alarms, is the best option you can find to protect your home and its occupants from the danger of fire.