July 8, 2014
Fire sprinklers are becoming an increasingly popular form of fire safety and prevention. Legislation and code requirements have been slow to respond to the overbearing statistics regarding the effectiveness of residential fire sprinklers.
However, progress is being made. The 2015 edition of International Residential code retained fire sprinklers as a standard feature in new homes. This was a small victory as efforts were made to repeal the requirement.
While some states are having a difficult time handling the demands of home builders, others are seeing success in creation of strict fire sprinkler codes. A requirement to provide fire sprinklers in one and two family dwellings has been accepted in the states of California, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, fire sprinklers in townhouses up to three stories are required in:
Other states will consider adopting these standards when codes are updated in the near future.
Residential fire sprinklers are extremely effective in saving lives. In addition, government incentives are making the installation of these systems more feasible. Homeowner oriented incentives total $145.
Typical incentives to home builders offset 33% of a system’s cost. Furthermore, builder* and developer-oriented incentives total $1,949 and $1,271, respectively (National Fire Protection Association). There are other factors that offset the cost of a residential sprinkler system as well.
Fire hydrant spacing and reduction in fire-rated portioning requirements between the living spaces of the home can offset the cost of sprinkler installation as well.
One of the greatest attributes regarding the installation of a fire sprinkler system in your home is that they require little to no maintenance. The flow switch and water flow alarms will need to be tested annually, yet the actual sprinklers will not require maintenance. Low maintenance means low costs for the home owner. Over 350,000 home fires occur every year in the United States, with 2,500 people dying in these fires annually. Residential fire sprinklers are a great way to combat these deadly statistics and they reduce property loss due to fire by 71% (Cal Fire).
Fire codes and fire sprinkler systems are always evolving. Be sure to meet with officials in your city or town before installing a system in your own home. Consider adding a fire sprinkler system to the plans when building a new home. Statistics show that it is the type of system that sells itself as the safety and property damage benefits are unmatched. The system just may save a loved one’s life one day.