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Residential Sprinklers: To Install or Not to Install?

Residential Fire Sprinklers is a hot topic in the fire protection industry right now. The Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association is among a number of groups lobbying for home sprinklers. But there a number of questions that arise for home owners when considering this option.

The main benefit to having an automatic sprinkler system in your home is that the system is entirely designed to control the spread of a fire, which in turn allows for more time to escape.

If you are considering installing a sprinkler system in your home, it’s a relatively small, affordable addition to the construction budget, and a priceless advantage in a fire.  Also, Home Owners’ Insurance premiums often reflect a discount of as much as 15% to 20% for homes protected by fire sprinklers.

Here are a few myths and facts about automatic sprinkler systems, which may or may not have led you a stray from considering installing this feature in your home.

Myth: When a fire occurs, every sprinkler in the house will activate.

Fact: Not all the sprinklers in a sprinkler system activate at once. When a fire sprinkler activates, by design, the sprinkler closest to the fire goes off- and in  of cases, one sprinkler is enough to suppress the fire.

Myth: Small things like burning a piece of toast could trigger the sprinkler system.

Fact: Fire sprinklers are only activated by extremely high temperatures, and not by smoke. Only a threatening fire can generate enough heat to activate a sprinkler.

Myth: A little fire or smoke damage is better than having the whole house ruined by water damage if the sprinkler system goes off.

Fact: A residential fire sprinkler uses only 10 to 25 gallons of water per minute, and operates early in a fire. A hose used by a firefighters flows about 10 times that amount, around 125 gallons to 250 gallons per minute.

Myth: Fire sprinklers could go off accidentally.

Fact: The chance that a sprinkler will accidentally discharge due to manufacturing defects is extremely rare- 1 in 16 million. Overall, sprinkler accidents are generally less likely and less severe than accidents involving home plumbing systems.

The video below demonstrates a room with a sprinkler system and a room without one.

If you would like further information about sprinkler systems please visit:


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3 Responses to Residential Sprinklers: To Install or Not to Install?

  1. Being a mom, I am always to make sure that my home is safe for my family. I like the idea of having fire sprinklers installed to help in case of a fire. It’s good to know that one of the benefits of having this done is that they only go off due to extreme temperatures, and not by smoke. Which is great for those rare occasions that I burn dinner and there is a lot of smoke.

  2. I didn’t know how cheap it is to install a sprinkler system in the early phases of construction. I think that this is something I would love to have as an emergency precaution. I will have to look into this more and talk to my husband about the reality of it.

  3. I liked what you said about how not every sprinkler in the house will go off when the system is activated. My husband and I want to install sprinklers in the house to help with fire prevention. Thank you for the information about how only the sprinkler closest to the fire will go off and it’s usually enough to put out the fire on its own.

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