Home Fire Sprinklers

A new home trend that is still an idea in most peoples minds, but sure to become the future norm, is the home fire sprinkler system. We all know that commercial properties and apartments buildings are required by law to have an operating sprinkler system, but apparently there is a push to have future homes equipped with them as well.

My husband works for Northstar Fire Protection in Eagan, MN as a Project Manager. He designs and oversees the installation of commercial sprinkler systems. One day last year we were talking about a project he was handling in Las Vegas and our conversation turned toward real estate. He mentioned that he had the feeling sprinkler systems would one day be required in residential homes. I laughed it off at first, but as we talked further about government regulations, lobbying groups, and insurance companies, I realized that he had a great point. Groups successfully lobbied to have airbags installed in every vehicle, so what is to stop them from lobbying the government to require the installation of a sprinkler system in every home. It is a safety factor after all, and the government loves to regulate our safety.

While doing some research into the topic, I came across the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a nonprofit group who’s goal is to educate the public on the benefits of the home sprinkler system. I gained some valuable insight from a survey they did in late 2005. Here are some interesting facts from them, and my husband:

  • Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat, so a localized fire in one room will be the only room affected by water disbursement (less water damage to personal items).
  • A home sprinkler system is estimated to add 1-1.5% of the total building cost to new construction.
  • Sprinkler heads can be recessed into the ceiling and concealed from view.
  • Smoke and toxic fumes are greatly reduced by quick sprinkler response and might even put out the fire before the fire department arrives on the scene.
  • About 69% of homeowners believe a fire protection system adds value to their home.
  • Sprinkler systems will most likely lower insurance premiums. For example, State Farm offers its customers with sprinkler systems a 5-10% discount off the premium.
  • If you are thinking of installing a system into your home, make sure to use a professional fire sprinkler company. Most states require the work to be completed by a licensed contractor.

Don’t get me wrong, the availability of a sprinkler system is a great home option. It not only can save lives, but it can also reduce substantial insurance claims against loss. We plan on building a new home in the future and will definitely install a fire sprinkler system. I just hope installation never becomes mandated by the government.