What Are Some Common Fire Sprinkler Myths? What Is the Truth Behind Them?
It’s well-documented and established that fire sprinklers save lives. They increase the chances of survival – especially in house fires – a great deal. Unfortunately, many homeowners and small businesses underestimate the importance of having a fire sprinkler system. They think that this type of fire protection equipment is only for large commercial buildings, even though most fires occur in homes, and most injuries and deaths occur in house fires.
The reason why many people are reluctant to invest in fire sprinklers is because there are so many myths and misconceptions about them. Here is a look at those myths and the actual facts.
Myth #1: All of the sprinklers go off when a fire occurs.
This isn’t true at all. In fact, the systems are designed so that only one sprinkler head will go off at once. This is because they are INDIVIDIALLY activated by excessive heat that goes over the maximum temperature. Most residential fires are controlled with just one or two sprinklers. According to studies, 80% or more of all fires that have occurred in buildings with these systems have been controlled by one or two heads. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer sprinkler heads.
Myth #2: Fire sprinklers require large, expensive water metres.
Actually, fire sprinklers will not lead to increased tap or metre fees when the sprinkler system is supplied by the same size metre that services the building’s plumbing.
Myth #3: Water sprinklers are unattractive.
These days, sprinkler heads come in various designs and sizes. They can even be concealed if you want them to be. Residential sprinklers are smaller and less noticeable than the types used in industrial and commercial properties. Sprinkler heads don’t even have to be installed on the ceiling; they can be mounted flush on the walls. Modern home fire sprinklers are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Myth #4: Sprinkler systems are not convenient for colder climates, as the pipes can freeze.
This isn’t a concern if the system is installed properly. The National Fire Protection Association (13D) sets forth guidelines on correct insulation to prevent pipes from freezing. Also, there are different types of sprinkler systems – they don’t have to be water-based. There are dry pipe systems as well.
Myth #5: The water damage might even be worse than the fire damage.
Once again, the systems are designed so that each sprinkler is activated individually. Even if more than one goes off, it will still be less water than what the fire department would have to use. The sprinkler system will keep the fire from spreading, which means less water will be required to put it out. Fire departments use up to 10 – 12 times more water to extinguish a fire than sprinklers.
Myth #6: They will go off even when there isn’t a fire.
Unlike smoke detectors, which can go off due to burning food, sprinklers require very high temperature and heat from a fire in order to activate.
Myth #7: Smoke detectors are enough.
While smoke detectors are useful, they can only alert you of smoke or fire – they cannot put the fire out. By the time a smoke detector goes off, the fire could already be spreading. A sprinkler system will buy you more time to get your family out of the house before fire fighters arrive.
Now that you know the truth about fire sprinkler myths, you might want to consider getting a system installed in your home or office.