Fire Sprinklers: Coming to a Home Near You
With a smoking record for saving lives and protecting houses, it’s no surprise sprinklers were adopted into the International Residential Code.
Synopsis: Fire sprinklers are usually thought of in retail and office contexts. However, their proven life- and property-saving abilities have led to their inclusion in the International Residential Code, effective in 2011. In this article, associate editor Chris Ermides looks at the positive impact of residential fire sprinkler systems in communities where they’ve been mandated. He also examines the way fire sprinkler heads work, the two options for sprinkler systems (one integrated with the house’s plumbing and one strictly dedicated to putting out fires), and the cost of a fire sprinkler system as part of the construction of a new home (a little less than 2% of the overall construction cost).
Sound off abpit this code change in the FineHomebuilding.com blogs. Read more…
While photographing an article with an electrician a couple of years ago, I got a tour of his new home. It was well built and, of course, had a vast array of high-tech gadgets. But what caught my attention most was the set of valves and gauges that shot from the home’s main water-supply line. “Is that for your radiant-floor heat?” I asked, pointing to the pressure gauge, the backflow switch, and a couple of shutoffs. He grinned and said, “Sprinkler system.” He’s a man of few words, but he’s also a full-time firefighter. I knew that he wasn’t talking about sprinklers that water the lawn.
He then told me that smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by only 50%. Smoke alarms and fire sprinklers combined, however, lower the risk by 82%. Given those numbers, adding 1.5% to the construction cost of his home felt like a worthy investment.
Apparently, a lot of other people think so, too, because the International Code Council, the governing body responsible for the International Residential…