This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” reminds us that with the cooler seasons comes holiday cooking—and more risk for home fires. One of the best ways to protect your home in the event of a fire is with a multilayered approach to safety, including working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers. Unfortunately, misinformation follows closely wherever home fire sprinklers are mentioned. In our Mythblaster Monday series we tackle a different myth each week, sharing resources and accurate information that highlight the numerous benefits of home fire sprinklers. Earlier, we debunked the idea that home fire sprinklers are expensive, and today’s myth is along the same vein.
Myth: Home fire sprinklers require costly inspections and maintenance.
Fact: It's easy--a flow test should be done a couple times a year.
The simple fact is that home fire sprinkler maintenance will never approach the costs of a fire. A 2019 report found that the average dollar loss per home structure fire when sprinklers were present $6,900 compared to $18,800 when they weren’t—a difference of 63 percent lower. Plus, when properly installed residential fire sprinklers are made to operate properly with no maintenance for around 20 years. Residential sprinklers can also save municipalities money.
To keep home fire sprinklers in top condition, do not paint over, cover, or otherwise impede them. Also, complete a flow valve test, or have a contractor do one for you, a couple of times a year. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has some great information for living with sprinklers and recommends these tips:
- Occasionally do a visual inspection of controls and sprinklers
- Teach your children fire sprinklers are not toys and should not be played with
- Use a padlock to keep the water valve in the ON position
- Don’t block the sprinklers with furniture or fabrics—a blocked sprinkler cannot put out a fire
Most of all, don’t worry—sprinklers aren’t complicated. The Living with Sprinklers Kit has more tips for integrating home fire sprinklers into your life. The Fire Sprinkler Initiative and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition have even more resources for sharing the positives of home fire sprinklers.