“A firefighter in every room”

Sprinklers are attached to a network of pipes filled with water at mains pressure. When they detect heat above a certain level the sprinklers activate and spray water into the affected room.

Most fires start small so if they are detected and dealt with quickly enough they can be controlled with only a small amount of water.

As a result they are great way of limiting the effects of fire – so in that respect it is like having a firefighter in the room. While we are used to seeing sprinklers in offices and businesses, they are less common in the home.

So is it time you thought about having a domestic sprinkler in your home, particularly if anyone in your property would have difficulty escaping from a fire. We’ve answered some of the most common questions on domestic sprinklers.

How does a sprinkler work in a fire?

Most sprinkler systems are very simple. There usually don’t have moving parts to go wrong. The sprinklers over the fire burst when they heat up and spray out water onto the fire. As long as there is water in the pipe the sprinklers will operate.

What about water damage?

Only the sprinklers over a fire will open – all the others stay closed unless they get the heat rises sufficiently. A sprinkler opening by accident is unusual as sprinklers won’t be activated by smoke or burnt toast!

We will often use 10,000 times more water to deal with a fire in a house than a sprinkler would.

How much do sprinklers cost?

The cost depends on what your home is made of and how good your water supply is. A useful comparison is that sprinklers cost less than carpets.

Aren’t sprinklers unsightly?

Modern sprinkler are now designed to be compact and elegant. In most buildings you won’t even notice their presence. Some sprinklers are only slightly larger than a 50p piece and can be painted to match any colour scheme.

Concealed sprinklers are flush with the ceiling so are almost invisible.

Where can I get more information?

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association -www.bafsa.org.uk
Fire Protection Associationwww.thefpa.co.uk
The National Fire Sprinkler Network - www.nfsn.co.uk 
Business Sprinkler Alliance - www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org