If you’re interested in including a fire sprinkler system in your home or business, you’re wise to consider the merits of this effective fire protection method. Sprinklers are widely recognized as the single best way to fight fires in their early stages and prevent loss of life and property as a result.
But how much does it cost to install a fire sprinkler system? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted a study in 2013 to assess the average cost of installing a fire sprinkler system and the factors that affect this cost.
The NFPA calculated the average cost to be $1.35 per sprinklered square foot of a home or business. This is defined as any space, finished or unfinished, that is protected by fire sprinklers once the installation is complete. In Addison, TX – the closest community to Houston that the NFPA used in its study – the average cost was $1.70 per sprinklered square foot as of 2013.
Many factors affect fire sprinkler cost. Here are the specific factors the NFPA identified in its 2013 study.
Obviously, the more sprinkler coverage you require, the more piping and sprinkler heads you need. Adding more components to the installation makes it more expensive.
Piping for sprinkler systems is usually made of plastic, but local ordinances often require unfinished areas to also be sprinklered. Areas such as the garage, attic and unfinished basement typically require piping made of more expensive metal. Copper is a particularly expensive material to use for sprinkler system piping. This makes homes with unfinished basement foundations more expensive to install sprinkler systems in than homes with slab foundations and no basement. To keep costs down, you should use plastic piping whenever possible throughout your home or business.
Most homes have access to the municipal water supply. However, if you get your water from a well or other stored source, your fire sprinkler system will likely require a booster pump and tank, which can increase installation costs significantly. The average cost per square foot of sprinklered space for homes and businesses on public water is 22 percent lower than those with stored water systems.
Obtaining permits and conducting inspections result in extra fees for the installer, which is then passed on to you. These costs must be taken into consideration in the total installation amount.
Although not a requirement for code compliance in many jurisdictions, some fire sprinklers include backflow preventers, especially if they use antifreeze. The purpose of these devices is to prevent pressurized fire sprinkler water from flowing into the municipal water supply. This can add an additional $75 to $350 to a typical residential fire sprinkler installation, more for larger commercial installations.
You have two basic types of sprinkler systems to choose from: standalone or multipurpose. Standalone systems, which are much more common, use dedicated sprinkler piping. Multipurpose systems combine the domestic and sprinkler water supply into a single potable piping system. In the NPFA’s study, most multipurpose systems were less costly per sprinklered square foot than standalone systems.
The American Fire Sprinkler Association highly recommends enlisting a trained contractor to design and install your fire sprinkler system for the best results. As a Houston home or business owner, Kauffman Co. is your premier source for fire protection services, including fire sprinkler installation. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a fire sprinkler estimate, please contact Kauffman Co. online or call us at 713-893-1090.
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