House Fire Sprinkler

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Master Brian, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    What are people's thoughts on this? I hear it is getting more popular, especially with Pex and "open" systems were the water keeps moving throughout the house so it doesn't go stagnate.

    I have a 97yr/old house and know that if anything ever happened it would go up in minutes. Add to that I have several open walls, ceilings and ceiling space accessable via attic right now. I am thinking about installing a small system, maybe one in each bedroom, the hallway and a couple in the basement.

    What are some thoughts? My new neighbor actually works for a company that installs them commercially, so I plan on speaking to him about it as well next time I see him and think about it.
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    It will all depend on where the fire starts...Sprinkler systems are designed so that where ever a fire starts there will be one within a specific distance...unless you do this your just guessing...
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fire sprinkler

    The design and location of a sprinkler system is very precise. You do not just hang one in the room and run a pipe to it.
  4. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Well, I didn't really think this was the case, which is why I'll speak with my neighbor. After typing this, my wife mentioned she thought he had told her he was wanting to install one in his home as well. Like I said, next time I see him I'll ask him about it, but I wanted some input here as well. I like to be fairly educated before I jump into something.

    I know installing them in certain rooms and not others is playing a guessing game, but my real thoughts are, I want to buy some time. Something tells me that if a fire broke out, big or small and if the sprinklers went off, my house would likely be a total loss anyway. Plaster walls and ceilings, lots of very old oak trim, solid wood floors, etc. They would cost a fortune to replace.

    Maybe I am wrong, which is why I am inquiring what people think. Are kitchens a good place, seems like the smoke alarm is always going off in the kitchen. Would scenarios like that cause a sprinkler to go off all the time or do they only respond to fire? what about candles?

    I realize I probably have a lot of misconceptions about sprinklers, but I want to learn....
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Sounds like you are thinking about the Hollywood Sprinkler System.
    The one where every head in the building goes off at once.

    The reality is that only the heads exposted to a high enough temperature activate. Like the ones in the actual fire area.:D
  6. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    So you are saying turn off the TV! Next you'll tell me if I crash my car into a light pole it won't explode!!

    Like I said, I don't know much about these or what activates them. This is something I had thought about, then I noticed that my sister's house, which used to have a security system at one point, has what looks to be a sprinkler head in the hall and I started to think, maybe.... I did a very quick search yesterday and stopped there. Last night it crossed my mind, so I thought I'd feel it out here.

    So temperature is what sets them off, not smoke. That is good to know! If installed well, are they worth the expense? Depending upon my neighbors knowledge, he does work in the field in this field, I would probably try to work something out with him for the tricky parts.
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
  8. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
  9. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    wirsbo-Uponor has a system that uses multiple junctions with sprinkler heads. You can get the info off ther site. We have installed about 8 so far. It works - OK, is a pita to install. Uponor does all the engineering for you (you pay them to) Uses miles of 1/2" pipe. Adds about 3 grand to piping costs.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fire

    Heat causes the head(s) in its area to operate. Studies have shown that structures with properly installed fire sprinkler systems have LESS water damage than if the fire department puts the fire out. But the real reason for a system is to protect people. Since Scottsdale mandated fire systems in every new house, there have been no live lost in those buildings.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Exactly! It keeps the fire small and allows the occupants time to get out!
  12. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    While it is great that property damage is actually less than what I had figured. The above is why I'm interested. I have everything, including my family insured, but the family is the only thing insurance can not replace!

    My main goal is to see if I can start installing a system a little at a time. Currently, the basement, 2nd floor and the 1st floor hallway, bathroom and bedrooms are fairly easily accessable. The dining room, living room and kitchen would take some work to install a system into. And none of it would be done overnight, it is something that might take me a few years to finish completely. Maybe that isn't possible, I don't know.
  13. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Ok, maybe I can get some answers this way....

    I realize there needs to be some planning when installing a system. I'm not certain what all is involved in the planning, I'm hoping my neighbor can help with that some, but I am guessing the main thing is ensuring that every zone is protected, much in the same way you would ensure your lawn is being watered evenly when installing a lawn sprinkler system.

    With all of that said, after the layout is determined, is there a lot more to this than running the pipes? It looks like Pex can be run, if not, then I'm probably already out. I'm not really ready to tackle this entire job or much of it, but I have a couple of areas such as my hallway and my bath already open and I can fairly easily tie pipes in for those locations now. Once I close them up, I am not going back and tearing them apart. Same with a few of the bedrooms, I have attic access, but I have plans to lay plywood down over the joists, which would cover my access.
  14. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Wirsbo will do all the planning and engineering for you. All you need is to send them the floor plans along with a check :(
  15. sprinklers in a home

    we have done a few over the years for handicapped
    homes with disabled people living in neighborhood settings..



    I dont think I would like to have one in my house,
    due to the damage it could do to the home before
    you were able to turn it off....or a simple malfunction...

    Now, their are systems that are contained to only 300 gallons of standing water in a tank that would pump the contained water only to the fire itself.....

    those we have had good luck with...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    recently a sprinkler system was installed in a nurseing home on the south side of our town... someone forgot to insualte the pipes properly and the whole thing completely flooded out a 60 unit home....

    a broken 3 inch line can piss out a lot of water before the fire department can shut it off

    anyway the place had jsut been re-modeled and it was a total loss ...

    the elderly folks had to be moved in the middle of the winter to new locations that day....







  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    A few years back the fire department I was a member of responded to a call in an assisted living building. Handyman thawing a pipe caught insulation on fire.

    Anyway the alarm system sounded for less than 30 seconds before the fire burned through the alarm wiring causing it to go dead. The fire was in the central area ground floor connecting to 3 wings that were 4 stories of wood frame construction.

    Without a sprinkler system I would not have imagined an incident that did not involve loss of life. Evacuation was a long slow process!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  17. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    House fire sprinklers

    I think this is a very good ideal and would recommend to ever homeowner
    to save lives, ! ! !

    But current Building codes and Fire codes
    "DO NOT ALLOW" homeowner D.I.Y. Fire sprinkler systems

    Even my older brother who has installed many home systems can not do
    his own house as a add on !

    Lic, fire sprinkler contractor
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