The facts on NFPA 13D and water mist systems

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Jul 17, 2014

Matt Klaus"Can I use a water mist system instead of automatic sprinklers?"

That was a common question posed during the development of the 2013 edition of NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes. The NFPA 13D Residential Sprinkler Systems Technical Committee concluded that the answer lies somewhere other than this document.

The NFPA 13D committee does not have the scope to write requirements for water mist systems; they provide design and installation criteria for automatic sprinklers in residential settings. If an applicable building code requires sprinkler system installation in accordance with NFPA 13D, it must pertain to automatic sprinkler systems.

The 2013 edition of the standard does include a statement in Chapter One noting that water mist systems differ from sprinkler systems. If you are looking for guidance on water mist systems, please refer to NFPA 750, Water Mist Fire Protection Systems.

However, that's not to say that water mist systems are not appropriate or should not be used in residential settings. Water mist systems are a great option for many applications, one of which may be single-family homes. In this instance, the issue is about document scope and scoping criteria, not about one suppression technology being better than another.

Matt Klaus is NFPA's principal fire protection engineer and staff liaison for NFPA 13D. Klaus is a regular contributor to this blog and discusses the technical components of home fire sprinklers.