Home fire sprinklers can be integrated with local water supply systems with ease, according to Integration of Residential Sprinklers with Water Supply Systems, a new study from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Conducted by Newport Partners of Maryland, the study looked at detailed information for 20 U.S. communities with a residential sprinkler ordinance and concluded that water supply integration requirements have been put into place, and there are no examples of insurmountable problems or issues, according to an NFPA press release. Neither design problems nor significant added costs were found in the communities surveyed, the release said.

“This is another critical piece of substantiation against the myths that abound about home fire sprinklers,” said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. “It is simply not true that sprinklers cannot be integrated with public water supply or significantly adds to cost. What is true is that home fire sprinklers save lives and should be required in new construction of one- and two-family homes.”

All model safety codes now include such a provision. According to NFPA, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.

Other key findings of the study included:
  • Nearby communities, such as those in the same state, generally adopt consistent provisions on issues such as water metering requirements; making compliance more uniform and predictable.
  • More unusual design requirements, such as dual water service lines or dual water meters, are rare and typically driven by a local issue which would not apply in most other areas
  • In more than half of the communities, no cost impact resulted from sprinkler-induced changes to water meter size, the need for additional water meters, or changes to tap size. These communities also did not have higher monthly service fees from the water supplier for homes with sprinklers. (In those communities where one or more of these factors did add cost, the average added cost was about $400.)
  • Administrative issues such as concerns about water shut-off and larger, less accurate meters are not viewed as significant issues. In those communities where system inspections are required, communities are adopting a variety of practical strategies.
Overall, water suppliers, building departments and fire service have developed practical approaches to accommodate both home fire sprinklers and the local water supply.

A copy of the full report can be found at www.firesprinklerinitiative.org .