Mythblaster Monday 8: Leaking the Truth on Home Fire Sprinkler Mishaps

Fire sprinklers are familiar to many of us and many people know they exist in stores, warehouses, and other commercial buildings. But not everyone may be aware of the importance of fire sprinklers in the home. But according to 2019 research, over one-quarter (27 percent) of reported fires happened in the home. When it comes to residential fire sprinklers, misinformation and misunderstandings keep many from knowing about their important contributions to fire prevention. Our Mythblaster Monday series serves to bridge that knowledge gap by debunking a different myth each week and pointing to resources that explain the advantages of home fire sprinklers. Last week we shared how easy and quick it is to properly maintain residential sprinklers, and today's myth highlights another concern that can plague many homeowners.


Myth: Sprinklers will leak.

Fact: Sprinkler mishaps are generally less likely and less severe than home plumbing system problems.


This myth is easily dispelled. Compared to sinks, toilets, and other areas of home plumbing that can fail, home fire sprinklers are more likely to perform without issue. A twenty-year survey of home fire sprinklers in Scottsdale, AZ found that 89 percent of respondents said their sprinkler systems had never leaked nor did they have a maintenance problem. Last Monday, we shared that home sprinklers need little maintenance—only a twice-yearly water flow test and occasional visual inspections to make sure pipes and sprinklers are unobstructed. Keeping up with these activities helps ensure that a sprinkler leak will remain an unlikely event.


Only contractors experienced with NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, should install home fire sprinklers, either in new construction or as part of a retrofit, to ensure that they are installed properly. If a fire does occur, facts show that the closest sprinkler will automatically activate when the temperature reaches 135-165° F, controlling the fire within the 9-12 minutes fire departments typically need to arrive on the scene. This 24-hour protection is a small price to pay when saving your home.


Home fire sprinklers come with a variety of design options that make them the perfect addition to a fire prevention system, and all perform with high levels of success. For more resources that offer the facts about home fire sprinklers and the advantages they provide, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative.

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James Monahan
James Monahan
Public Affairs Intern

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