Sprinkler Myths & Facts

Answers to Common Questions About Residential Sprinklers
Myth: If 1 sprinkler goes off, will they all go off?
Fact: No! Sprinklers activate independently; only the sprinkler(s) closet to the fire will activate. In most home fires, only 1 sprinkler is needed to control the fire.

Myth: Sprinklers cause more damage than would be caused by the fire without sprinklers.
Fact: Fire, smoke and water damage from Fire Department hoses cause far greater damage than the water from a sprinkler. A residential sprinkler flows 10-26 gallons of water per minute. An uncontrolled fire will cause far greater fire destruction and smoke damage, requiring a tremendous amount of water from Fire Department hoses - more than 10 times the water per minute. The property loss in a home in which a sprinkler has gone off in a fire is typically only a fraction of the loss in a home where sprinklers weren't in use. This is why insurance companies offer discounts for homes protected by a sprinkler system.

Myth: Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing unnecessary water damage.
Fact: Accidental sprinkler discharge is extremely rare and in most cases is caused by accidental damage by contact or due to people hanging items from the sprinkler and damaging the head. Studies have concluded that home sprinkler accidents are less likely and less severe than standard home plumbing mishaps. Also, despite the Hollywood "sight gags", burned toast and cigarette smoke will not trigger sprinkler operation. Each sprinkler works independently and only in response to a fire.

Myth: Sprinklers are ugly and detract from my home's appearance.
Fact: Modern residential sprinklers are inconspicuous and can be mounted flush with walls or ceilings. Some sprinklers can even be concealed. Just like regular plumbing, pipes can be hidden behind ceilings or walls.

Will My Sprinklers Freeze in the Winter?
Freezing is not a problem with proper installation. The national sprinkler installation standard provides guidance for proper installation in cold regions, including appropriate additional insulation and other additional measures.

Are Fire Sprinklers Difficult to Maintain?
No! Home maintenance is simple. Regular flow tests should be conducted and homeowners can do these simple tests themselves or have the sprinkler contractor do it every year or so.