Costs and Risks of Residential Sprinklers

July 2005
Planning;Jul2005, Vol. 71 Issue 7, p6
Trade Publication
This article focuses on costs and risks of residential sprinklers. The cost of installing a residential sprinkler system varies from one community to another. It also differs according to whether the sprinklers are being installed in just one house or in an entire subdivision. The cost often runs from $1.50 to $2 a square foot. Dominick Kass, northeast regional manager of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, says that in a development of 20 to 40 houses, economies of scale could reduce the cost to as little as 75 cents a square foot. However, other factors can boost the cost significantly. If a house relies on well water, a cistern may be needed or the well may have to be drilled deeper, possibly adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a home. To add a sprinkler system to an existing house, the cost may be $2 to $4 a square foot. Sprinklers do not respond to smoke alarms--only to heat. In residential installations, a sprinkler head begins spraying water only after detecting an air temperature of about 155 degrees.


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