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Home Sprinkler Systems
In the United States, the rate of fire accident has consistently remained high with more than 80% of home fire accidents resulting in deaths - more than 3,000 people die every year as a result of household fire accidents in the United States. Despite this alarming statistic, it has not yet been made mandatory for new home builders to install home fire sprinklers, and just a few home owners out of many are presented with the opportunity to make this important life-saver an essential component of their home.
The Case for Home Sprinklers
The common misunderstanding which people have about home sprinkler systems, (which is also known as a home fire–suppression system or home fire-protection system) is the major reason why many people have not been too keen on installing it in their homes. This commonly held fallacy is the fear of a wrongly fired sprinkler head will activate the entire system in the home causing irreparable water damage.According to Roy Marshall, the Executive director of Residential Fire Safety Institute (RFSI), “these misconceptions are exacerbated by Hollywood, which have the bad habit of portraying sprinklers going off in every direction. Sadly, this image is left in people’s imagination for a very long time. Incidences of misfiring sprinkler heads occur very rarely, (a manufacturer was so sure of this that he asserts the probability of such incidences to be one out of 16 million). Also, the way the system is designed is such that it is only the head of the sprinkler that is damaged by the heat and definitely not the entire system.A household sprinkler helps the homeowner to save significant amount of money in case of a fire outbreak, because when the sprinkler system is activated, it has the ability to spray between 15-20 gallons within a minute. According to Marshall. “just one sprinkler head is sufficient to put out 80%-90% of fire incidences.” Damage caused by water as a result of stopping fire with a home sprinkler system is worth about $2,200 while damage caused by water when the fire is put out by the fire department is about $45,000. The fire will be quickly out by the sprinkler head before it gets any bigger, and the average response time of the fire department to the scene of the fire might be 15-20 minutes. Moreover when they eventually get to the scene, they will be dropping as much as 250 gals within 60 seconds and cutting holes in the roof to douse the fire.Some states have now make home sprinkler systems mandatory in the construction of new homes and remodels of certain sizes.
Installation, Retrofit, and Cost
The simplest way through which home sprinkler systems are installed is to get the them installed when the
building is being constructed, though retrofits can still be done. The two system types can be made
independent or use jointly with others.
Home sprinkler systems have specialised installers responsible for their installation. It is not unusual to see contractors offer both security installations and fire–safety installation services. In specific locations, home sprinkler system may be installed by plumbing contractors.The time of installing the sprinkler system varies, as it all depends on the kind of construction and the size of such construction. When a retrofit installation is being done, the installing specialists may need to use the plans of the home or take a measurement of the building so that they will be able to come up with a functional plan for the system, make estimates and draw up their proposal. Immediately after the design of the system is done, they apply for a permit. According to Wilkinson, “a permit is obtained within 30 - 45 days." He also continued by saying a two-story building requiring installation of up to 3,000 square foot could take an average of one week or 10 days to finish - the time of completion depends on different factors such as solid joists, crawl spaces, open trusses and attic.Many factors interact to determine the cost of home sprinkler system. An independent installation for a new building costs between $1.00 - $ 1.25 per square foot, a retrofit on the other hand might cost between $5 - $6 for every square foot.