Common Sprinkler Myths You Need to Know

sprinkler myths

Fire sprinkler systems are integral in providing fire safety to commercial buildings. Fires – and especially those not contained quickly – can be devastating to property and endanger lives. 

Fire sprinkler systems provide an easy way to protect your building and those in it. And while most commercial property owners understand the benefits of fire sprinkler systems, some common sprinkler myths persist, including:

Water damage is more extensive than fire damage. 

This belief asserts that the water damage from a building sprinkler system can cause more harm than the fire itself. However, it simply isn’t true. 

Quick response sprinklers release between 8 and 24 gallons of water per minute. By contrast, firehoses release 50 to 125 gallons per minute. Additionally, commercial fire sprinkler systems are highly reliable to activate only if needed. 

This reliability increases the chances that losses will be minimized by putting out a fire quickly before it can destroy more property. And it is done with relatively little water, also minimizing damage.    

All sprinkler heads activate during a fire. 

This myth is related to the first one and is generally believed when individuals are worried about additional damage. For example, the belief is that sprinkler systems cause additional damage if all sprinkler heads go off when a small fire can be confined to one area. 

In this scenario, water damage would impact the entire building, while the fire would have only impacted a small part of it. However, like other myths, this one is not true. 

Fire sprinkler systems frequently have heat-sensitive heads, and each is triggered individually. This feature means that only the fire sprinkler heads required to put out a fire will activate once they reach an unacceptable heat level, usually 155° F. Almost all (90%) of fires are controlled with six or fewer heads

The reality is that usually, only a couple of sprinkler heads are needed to put out a fire quickly. And when this happens, you avoid both fire and water damage to the rest of your property.

Fire sprinklers are too sensitive or unreliable. 

There is a persistent fear that fire sprinklers may be set off when not needed, whether by accident or another action that is not an actual fire. But these systems are highly reliable, and only 1 in 16 million heads ever activate by accident. 

Additionally, smoke from cigarettes, candles, or cigars is feared to set off fire sprinklers (and the film industry has perpetuated this myth). However, since fire sprinkler heads are activated by heat and not smoke, they will not go off with these activities. 

Smoke detectors are sufficient for fire safety and make fire sprinkler systems unnecessary. 

It is true; smoke detectors are a crucial tool in fire safety. They save many lives every ear by alerting individuals to hazardous fire conditions early, allowing time to evacuate or exterminate the fire. But smoke detectors cannot extinguish a fire without human presence. Fire sprinkler systems can. 

Fire sprinkler systems are a safer way to provide fire extinguishing efforts while keeping individuals as far from the actual fire as possible. This trait means they can protect individuals who cannot evacuate even when alerted, such as small children or those with mobility challenges. 

Most smoke detectors also rely on batteries, which can die. With a dead battery, the smoke detector offers no protection. Conversely, fire sprinkler systems do not require a battery and can continue to deliver protection. 

Fire sprinkler systems are expensive. 

Even when convinced that fire sprinkler systems are the right option to protect lives and property, some feel they are cost-prohibitive. But they can be quite cost-effective, especially when added to new construction. There are also other financial benefits. 

For instance, insurance companies may offer discounted rates for buildings with fire sprinkler systems. So the reality is that fires sprinkler systems can be the right financial move. 

Fire sprinkler systems should not be installed in cold areas as the pipes will freeze and cause water damage. 

Because water-filled pipes are likely to burst, a commercial dry pipe system has been designed to work in cold climates. Additionally, molded insulation can ensure the piping is properly insulated. These features often eliminate the concerns about freezing.

Sprinkler heads are ugly. 

Traditionally, sprinkler heads were viewed as undesirable from a design perspective. However, many options are available today that are unobtrusive to fit any design or decor

While many sprinkler myths about fire sprinkler systems persist, the truth is that they offer the best level of fire protection for many buildings. Installing one is a great way to protect your property and the lives of those in it. 

Legacy Fire is one of the top fire sprinkler service companies serving Nevada. Our professionals can help with installation, emergency services, repairs, and more. Contact the team at Legacy Fire today to learn more about our qualifications. We can also discuss strategies to optimize your fire sprinkler system. Our services can enhance the safety of your building and protect lives and property during a fire emergency.

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