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Think Sprinkler
Think Sprinkler

Dispelling the myths about sprinklers


Sprinklers play a positive role in protecting life, reducing the economic and environmental cost of fire in any building they are installed in. There is an increasing body of evidence worldwide of fires being controlled and extinguished by sprinklers.


Some of the common myths about sprinklers that are totally false are:


Myth 1 - In a fire, every sprinkler head will activate, flooding my property.


Individual sprinkler heads will only activate when the room temperature reaches a certain point. The heads operate as individual heat sensors - water is only released in the area where there is a fire. In 60% of cases, fires are controlled by the spray from four sprinklers or fewer.


Firefighters often use 15 times more water from hoses to do the same job as a sprinkler does alone.1


Myth 2- Sprinklers are too expensive to install.


Fact: In new buildings, the costs of installing sprinklers, considered over the life span of the building will work out economically - roughly equivalent to carpeting the same building.


The LGA2 has worked out the cost of sprinklers in specific types of buildings as below:

  • 125-150 pupil primary school - Total costs approx. £105,000, equivalent to £10-15 per m2
  • Typical 3/4 bed house - Total costs approx. £3000-£3500 equivalent to 1-2% of build costs
  • High rise flats - Total costs around 1.5-1.9% of build costs, equivalent to £18-25 per m2


It is also likely that insurers will offer premium discounts to premises with sprinkler systems, and that policy excesses will be lower.1


Myth 3 - Sprinklers are too expensive to maintain.


Annual maintenance costs of domestic for fire sprinkler systems is between £75-£150 per year (£6.25-£12.50 per month). That’s a lot less than the cost of replacing home contents if a fire should occur.


Myth 4 - Sprinklers are ugly and affect the design of a building.


Sprinklers actually allow design freedoms, if considered when a building is being built. They may allow larger rooms and a reduction in partitioning, or allow adaptation of layouts to better meet the occupier’s needs. Sprinklers can be recessed or flush-mounted and unobtrusive.


Myth 5 - Sprinklers are unreliable.


Worldwide records show that only 1 in 16 million sprinklers installed per year will result in failure. Every sprinkler head is independently tested before leaving the manufacturing plant.


Myth 6 - Sprinklers only work on fires that can be put out with water.


Sprinklers can now be foam enhanced to control flammable liquid, chemical and petroleum fires.


1 -  Automatic Sprinklers, A 10 year study

2  - Local Government Association, The cost of sprinklers


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