Home Fire Sprinkler Myths

Sprinklers operate all at once, flooding every room in the house.

The Truth: Only a sprinkler directly affected by fire will operate. Other sprinklers in the system will not go off. Cigar smoke and cooking mishaps will not cause the sprinkler to activate.

Sprinklers will leak.

The Truth: The likelihood that a sprinkler will accidentally discharge because of a manufacturing defect is extremely rare. Sprinkler mishaps are generally less likely and severe than home plumbing system problems.

Smoke alarms are all you need.

The Truth: Fire sprinklers are the only technology that can automatically control or extinguish a fire. Smoke alarms are essential for every home – including homes with sprinklers. But smoke alarms are only designed to detect a fire and signal a warning.

Water damage from sprinklers is worse than fire.

The Truth: A sprinkler controls a fire with only a tiny fraction of the water used by fire department hoses. Sprinklers detect fire early, automatically controlling flames and smoke, and typically limiting damage to a single area. In about 90% of home fires studied, only one sprinkler was necessary to control the fire.

Sprinklers are ugly.

The Truth: Today’s home fire sprinklers are inconspicuous-smaller than recessed lighting or smoke alarms. They can be painted by the manufacturer to blend in with custom interiors. In ceilings sprinklers can even be completely concealed beneath color-matched plates.

Sprinklers will freeze during the winter.

The Truth: The national standard for installation, NFPA 13D, provides guidance for proper installation of sprinklers to avoid problems in regions where freezing temperatures occur, and addresses appropriate insulation and anti-freeze usage for additional protection.

Odds are high that sprinklers can accidentally discharge.

The Truth: Not true! The chances of a sprinkler accidentally discharging is one in 16 million. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning!

Sprinklers cost too much.

The Truth: Increasing demand for home fire sprinklers is driving down cost; in some areas well below $1 per square foot in new construction. Nationally, a conservative estimate is 1-2% of the total building cost. Homeowner’s insurance discounts, ranging from 5% to 30% off premiums, help pay for sprinkler installation.