Common Misconceptions

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the fire sprinkler system that keeps people from installing them- sometimes with tragic results. Here are a few of the more common ones.

If a sprinkler senses heat, the whole fire sprinkler system will go off-causing expensive water damage. NOT TRUE. Most fire sprinkler systems on the market today are designed so that each sprinkler head activates individually. The only sprinkler that goes off in case of a fire is the one directly above the fire-keeping fire and water damage to a minimum,

A fire sprinkler system can get tripped accidentally causing expensive water damage. ACTUALLY, IT’S PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO “accidently” set off a fire sprinkler system. The sprinkler system is activated by concentrated heat alone- the kind of heat you get from a fire, not a sweltering day in July. This makes it very difficult to trip the system inadvertently. And it’s been estimated that only one in sixteen million fire sprinkler systems have manufacturing defects –so it’s very doubtful that your system will malfunction in this way.

A fire sprinkler system is prohibitively expensive to install. NOT TRUE. Installing a sprinkler system in your home will cost about as much as installing new carpeting. More expensive than a few smoke alarms, true- but much more effective protection.

A fire sprinkler system needs Hugh amounts of water to work effectively. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. A sprinkler system typically uses a fraction of the water fire fighters use to put a fire out. A single sprinkler can take out most home fires by itself. By the time the fire department arrives at a burning home, the fire has usually grown to much larger proportions- and so thousands of gallons of water are needed to control it. If it can be controlled at all.

Fire alarms and a good escape plan are all you need to survive a fire. It’s a COMMON MYTH that a fire alarm alone can protect your family from fire. Actually, a fire alarm is not as reliable as a fire sprinkler system. 14% of fire alarms may fail to sense a fire at the critical moment. Compare that to the fire sprinkler system records: it’s estimated that only one in 500,000 will fail to go off in case of a fire.

Those sprinkler heads will look unsightly on my ceiling. NOT TRUE. Today’s residential fire sprinkler system designs blend in. Recessed and semi-recessed sprinkler heads are widely available, as well as special caps that cover the recess and are attached with a special resin that will melt and drop off the sprinkler in case of a fire. Sprinkler heads and covers come in a wide variety of colors to match your ceiling, and most manufacturers will custom paint them on request.