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Protecting What Matters: Residential Fire Sprinkler System Installations

Residential premises have some of the highest stakes when it comes to protecting against fire risks. While material damage should be avoided where possible, the presence of human life turns residential settings into a unique challenge.


At the same time, many of the contents of homes have sentimental value attached, making it much harder to replace them if they are damaged either directly by fire, or by the water dispensed from residential fire sprinkler systems.


Base Fire Sprinklers have over 30 years of experience designing, maintaining and installing residential sprinkler systems. In this article we'll look at why fire sprinklers should be installed in domestic properties, and how (with good design principles) they work to minimise water damage during an incident.


The Need for Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems


Fires in homes and other residences can be life-changing. Home Office figures show that in the 2022-23 tax year, there were 26,823 dwelling fires in England, a rate of about one fire for every 2,000 people in the country.


In 2022-23 alone, fires in residences led to 4,551 casualties and 209 fatalities. Over the past decade, there have been 2,115 deaths in 'primary dwellings' (i.e. non-derelict residences) in England.


Less than 200 residential fires in 2022-23 had sprinkler systems recorded as being present - and 80% of those were in blocks at least four storeys tall, an indication of how regulations on sprinkler systems in tower blocks in England are taking effect.


But the figures show the value of residential fire sprinkler systems in dwellings of all shapes and sizes, as well as in other residential settings like care homes, retirement homes, hospices and so on.


Understanding Fire Sprinkler Systems


A typical fire sprinkler system consists of three main parts:


·        A water tank capable of supplying a certain pressure for a certain length of time

·        Pipes to carry this water to the sprinkler heads

·        Sprinkler heads that activate automatically in the event of a fire


Residential sprinkler heads are hidden behind a disc that pops off automatically when needed, so their aesthetic impact on your home is very minimal.


Types of Residential Sprinkler Systems


There are four main types of residential sprinkler systems to choose from, which may have an effect on the level of water damage caused during an incident:


·        Wet pipe systems are filled with water which dispenses in the affected area

·        Dry pipe systems are filled with gas or air and fill with water only when activated

·        Deluge systems dispense water from all sprinkler heads at once for wider protection

·        Pre-action systems are similar to dry pipe systems, but only 1-2 sprinkler heads activate


Depending on the design of the system, water delivery may be limited to just 1-2 sprinkler heads, or may occur throughout the property. This choice can be determined by other factors, such as the presence of residents with poor mobility.


How do Fire Sprinklers Minimise Fire Damage?


Fire sprinklers are designed primarily to minimise fire damage. They do this in a number of ways:


·        Custom design to provide tailored protection to each premises

·        Integration with home architecture for better protection

·        Cutting-edge AutoCAD design for precise, optimised systems

·        Strategically placed sprinkler heads for best water coverage

·        Rapid response sprinklers for faster activation in residences


It's a misconception that residential sprinklers will cause significant water damage - they are designed to reduce fire damage, and in general the net result will be much less costly property damage overall.


Installation Process and Maintenance


For the most efficient operation and minimised water damage during an incident, it's important to have your residential sprinkler systems designed and installed by professionals.


Compliance with British Standards like BS 9251:2021 can help to provide some peace of mind, and you should look for experienced installers like Base Fire Sprinklers who are familiar with these standards.


Professional installation offers minimal disruption for occupied properties - you don't want any damage arising from installation itself. A good fire sprinkler company can offer regular future inspections and maintenance, to keep everything running the way it should.


To find out more about residential sprinkler systems (and why the reduction in fire damage far outweighs any associated water damage), contact the team at Base Fire Sprinklers today.

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