Common Misconceptions About How Sprinklers Work

Misconceptions are in bold text, and their answers follow.

When one sprinkler head activates, they all do.
This is not the case. The only sprinkler heads that activate are the ones directly subject to the heat caused by a fire. It is not unusual for only one or two heads to activate to put out a small fire.

When a sprinkler system activates copious amounts of water are discharged.
The average sprinkler head discharges 12 to 15 gallons of water a minute. The average fire hose discharges 125-150 gallons of water a minute. Which do you think causes more water damage?

Sprinkler heads create an eyesore in the home and are ugly.
Sprinkler system design and construction has advanced to the point where sprinkler heads may be nearly hidden or styled to match the décor of any size or style home.

Fires extinguished by sprinklers cost more and cause more property damage that one extinguished by the fire department personnel only.
In a typical residential fire, the average amount of repair costs for unsprinklered homes is $45,019. In homes with sprinklers the average cost for repairs after a fire is $2,166.

In the winter time sprinkler pipes will freeze and burst.
Residential sprinkler systems are designed to provide the cold water to the building. Therefore the water inside the pipes is regularly moving, which removes freezing pipes as an issue.

Residential sprinkler systems are expensive.
While not without cost, installing a sprinkler system in a new home typically adds between 1% and 2% to the cost of construction. Given the enhanced safety and insurance savings such a small cost is well worth the investment.