FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM COST
Commercial buildings are increasingly embracing the idea of fire sprinklers as the first line of defense against fire. More and more residential homes are also beginning to install them as well. A fire sprinkler system is designed to prevent a fire from taking hold in your home. Sensors on the system respond to heat and smoke and set off a sprinkler system that sprays the entire space with a fluid designed to put out the fire – most commonly water (the actual type of fluid and the amount is dependent on the room and the type of installation you’re going for).
It’s impossible to put a price on the impact of buying a fire sprinkler system. Not only can it prevent your entire property and possessions from being destroyed and potentially save lives, but it also gives you peace of mind, knowing that the system is the first line of defense, constantly vigilant against the threat of fire. However, a fire sprinkler system is actually cheaper than you may assume.
The below guide outlines the key costs involved in installation and setup, as well as ancillary purchases you should make to keep your home as safe as possible. Although the exact price will depend on your unique living situation, the below numbers will give you a ballpark figure to decide what options are best for you and your family.
FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM COSTS
THE OVERALL COST
If you are installing a fire sprinkler system, you can expect to pay between $215 and $968. The average homeowner spends just under $600. However, depending on your specific circumstances, you can spend between $100 and $2,400 on a sprinkler system. The general rule of thumb is that a system will cost between $1 and $10 per square foot of space you are installing it in.
This varies greatly depending on the type of building you are installing a fire sprinkler system in (see full breakdown below). There is an economy of scale to this so that a larger space is likely to have a cheaper price per square foot. For a 2,500 square foot area, for example, you will pay at least $1,250.
The biggest determinant of the cost of installation (and therefore the overall cost) is the type of building it is being installed in. There are strict regulations pertaining to how these systems are installed, and so this can have a major impact on cost.
Below is a breakdown of how the different building types affect the cost of installation:
In a fully finished building, the cost of retrofitting a fire sprinkler system will usually be between $2 and $7 per square foot. If the building is a high rise, the cost is likely to be $4 per square foot at least.
Historical buildings have much stricter building regulations (although tend to be far more in need of fire safety additions). In general, you can expect to pay $10 per square foot for installing a sprinkler system in one of these.
In a building that’s currently being constructed, installing a sprinkler system is relatively simple, and therefore has the lowest cost. For this, the price is usually somewhere between $1 and $2 per square foot (although you can usually have it added to your overall construction cost, creating an economy of scale, since the contractors are already there, and are already wiring things into the ceiling).
QUICK REFERENCE CHART
$2 - $7
$1 - $2
In addition to the basic costs, there are other areas where you can add to the ballpark figure for a fire sprinkler system. The above numbers represent the basic fee, so you should consider that to be your minimum spend, with the following additional (and sometimes optional) add-ons to go on top.
If you have a well system, then you will almost certainly need to install a booster pump to allow the right amount of water to be pumped out of the well when it is needed.
The cost for this varies depending on things like the depth of the well and the distance from your home, although you should expect to pay between $2,000 and $3,600 for this (in addition to the cost of installation).
Some local governments have ordinances on sprinkler systems to ensure that they are maintained and installed correctly. You will need to check with your local city hall as to the specific requirements for the permit. Some charge a one-off flat fee, where others base it on square footage or the overall value of your home.
The costs for this permit are usually between $50 and $350, although in some places these can be as high as $800. They will also involve an inspector coming to check on your sprinkler system.
Installing a fire sprinkler system is very rarely a one-off purchase. Instead, you need to build an arsenal of safety devices to help minimize damage from fire. You should view a fire sprinkler system as just one part of a safe home. The following are also important purchases that go along with a sprinkler system.
In addition to the sensors in the sprinkler system, you should also have smoke detectors. On the basis that a fire sprinkler system is designed to prevent a fire from spreading in order to allow you to evacuate, a smoke detector system gives you a further early warning. Smoke detectors cost between $10 and $65 each, and you should install one on each floor of your home (possibly more, depending on the size of your home).
Heat sensors do a similar job to smoke detectors, and you should take the same approach to location and number of heat sensors as smoke detectors. Heat sensors will cost you between $60 and $100 each.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Although not usually part of a fire safety arsenal, a carbon monoxide detector is usually part of a home safety checklist (it is a legal requirement in most parts of the country). These should be installed at least one per floor and are usually plugged into outlets. They are designed to be at floor level to make detection easier. A carbon monoxide detector costs between $15 and $150.
Fire extinguishers are an essential purchase for any home safety system. Even if you have a fire sprinkler system, you should also have a series of fire extinguishers. Not only do they provide a backup if your sprinkler system fails, but it will allow you to supplement the sprinkler system. A sprinkler system is usually designed to prevent a fire from spreading. This may allow you to totally extinguish the fire yourself.
Fire extinguishers cost between $100 and $500 and you should place them in easily identifiable locations in places such as kitchens where fires are more common.
You will also need an annual inspection of your fire extinguishers, which will cost between $30 and $100 to inspect each year.
Like fire extinguishers, a fire blanket is an important tool in actually putting out a fire (which a fire sprinkler system may not do). Fire blankets work by smothering the fire. They are particularly useful when it comes to grease fires, which cannot be extinguished with water. Fire blankets are specialized pieces of equipment and cost between $10 and $100. You should have one at least in your kitchen, although generally there should be one on each floor of your home.
CHIMNEY CAP SPARK ARRESTOR
A chimney cap spark arrestor is a specialist piece of equipment designed to prevent fires from starting in your chimney. They cost between $400 and $3,500 to install, although you’ll need to get a tailored quote based on your personal circumstances. You may need to pay additional maintenance fees to ensure that it is kept in a good condition.
Ultimately, safety for your home is not a binary choice: it’s not a case of being safe or not; it’s incremental. Installing a fire sprinkler system – even if just in one room – is better than not having one. So if your budget doesn’t extend to your entire home, you can use our guide above to determine what is within your budget. Even if you simply end up buying fire extinguishers and blankets, that’s preferable to not having them.