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ings. To keep residential sprinkler system costs competitive, they decided sprinklers could be omitted from rooms or spaces where the chance of a fatal fire starting was statistically low. Consequently, residential sprinkler standards to not require sprinklers in attached garages, attics with no heating equipment, small closets, bathrooms less than 55 square feet and crawl spaces. SYSTEM ADD-ONS Close study of IRC P2904 and NFPA13D show they are minimum standards. One can design and install a residential sprinkler system with relative little trouble and meet these requirements. Like the base model of any product, residential sprinkler systems can be made more sophisticated with add-ons not required in the standards. Some of the more common add-ons include 1∕3 to 1∕2- horsepower electric motors to pump water from suction tanks. These small pumps are not required to be listed for fire protection service, but they must be supplied by 240-volt electrical service to enhance their efficiency. Some optional designs may include additional control valves, water pressure gages, flow switches, water pressure or flow alarms and even dry pipe designs that have no water in the sprinkler pipe until a smoke alarm opens an automated control valve. Fire department connections—found on nearly all commercial fire sprinkler systems— can be added, but are not required. SUMMARY Discussions on residential sprinkler efficacy are likely to occur for a long time. All of the advocates and opponents bring valid discussions to the table. It is important to meaningful debate, though, that these discussions are based on fact, not conjecture or misinformation. Figure 3—In a combination system, a network of ½-inch PEX is used to satisfy fire protection and domestic demand. Figure 4—In a combination system, multiple PEX feeds to each sprinkler supply adequate water for fire control. This article is intended to be just one step toward dispelling the myth that residential sprinkler systems must be complicated and maintenance-intensive. 1For the purpose of this article, “residential” refers to one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. 2I perform a once-yearly main drain test on my system to verify the incoming water pressure has not deteriorated. The test costs nothing and takes less than 10 minutes. 3The smaller figure is for dwellings 2,000 sq. ft. or smaller. 4Antifreeze is the least desirable option as it generally requires additional valves to protect the potable water supply and periodic inspection to assure the antifreeze solution is mixed in proper proportions. 5Hall, John R. Jr. (2013) “U.S. Experience with Sprinklers”. Retrieved August 16, 2016 from www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/firestatistics/ fire-safety-equipment/us-experience-with-sprinklers OCTOBER 2016 | 26


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