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Author Topic: Fire Sprinklers  (Read 576 times)

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Offline flyingparks

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Fire Sprinklers
« on: May 25, 2017, 11:03:55 am »
I need to come up with a fire sprinkler system for my timber frame house. Anyone have any experience with this? Any resource for ideas? I'm guessing I'll just run a beautiful length of galvanized pipe down the middle of the house with pendant sprinklers where I need the. I'm sure it will look great.  :)

That's the task for the day. I'll let you know what I com up with as well, but I wanted to see if anyone has dealt with this and found a better solution. Thanks

Online Dave Shepard

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 11:32:19 am »
I believe ljohnsaw has a system designed for his tf. The trick with private fire suppression is having supply when there is no power. 
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Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 11:39:33 am »
I am on a well so I will have storage tanks and a system that can operate under power loss conditions. My house design called for the SIPs to be held off of the frame by 5/8" so I could slide drywall behind the frame and against the SIP. This makes for a very easy and smooth finish. Now I am seeing two options:

1 - Incorporate an overhead sprinkler system which will give me that "exposed plumbing" look that everyone desires. :-\

2 - Incorporate a sidewall system where a wall cavity is created between the SIPs and the drywall. This method adds significant time and costs and reduces the amount of exposed timber. But it eliminates the exposed plumbing. I'll take a look at ltjohnsaw's thread.

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 12:06:45 pm »
Is this a new requirement in CO? They are pushing for it in NY I am hoping ti fails miserably. It already costs more than it should to build a house.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2017, 12:48:08 pm »
Is this a new requirement in CO? They are pushing for it in NY I am hoping ti fails miserably. It already costs more than it should to build a house.


This is not a new requirement. I has been around for some time. I live in a Wildfire 1 Zone, meaning it's the most critical. However, this requirement is for people in the flatlands as well. This requirement protects property, not people. It's an upsetting requirement, but there are a few dozen more requirements that are upsetting. It's interesting that my neighbors live in homes built by unskilled tradesman that are sitting timber boxes with faulty wiring etc...But I digress.

I'm paying the game because at the end of the day I will have a beautiful home that I built. eye on the prize is my mantra. In talks with my local fire department now.

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2017, 01:53:51 pm »
I was wondering why my ears were burning... :D

California started to require fire sprinklers in new construction (including room additions) in 2010.  The requirement is to protect lives, NOT buildings!  I think that is faulty reasoning - if the FIRE produces enough heat to trigger the sprinklers, the SMOKE will have killed you long before they go off.  Smoke alarms save lives!  I think a legislator has a brother in law in the fire suppression business...  I am in a high fire zone (can't get reasonable fire insurance).  These sprinklers will do nothing to save my cabin in a wild fire.  But, I digress.

I have a friend that is an installer for fire suppression systems.  I used his company to come up with a plan.  They do commercial installs (don't make that mistake).  They came up with a huge requirement for my 1300sf cabin.  Twenty one heads and something like 60 gpm/65 psi pump to feed a minimum 4-head trip (700 gallons of water required to run 10 minutes).  Meaning 4 heads will be triggered by a fire event.  Talking with a hydrant company that has done business in California, he said that was crazy and I should go back and make them do a 2-head calc.  So I did (cost me an extra few hundred dollars ::) ) and the requirement dropped way down to 32 gpm @ 30 psi IIRC.  That is something I can do with an off-grid system.  The county then said I have to have an auto-start generator in the event that the battery bank is not fully charged.  I was talking with the local fire chief before I realized that he was the county guy to sign off on my plans.  I was being a little too generous with discussing my issues - I thought it would come back to bite me - but the fire marshal was very sensible - he agreed with me about my smoke alarm comment above.

I would say get to know the fire marshal responsible for signing off on you plans.  Ask him to share what typically is done (2-head?) in your area.  He probably cannot recommend a fire suppression company but you could ask for recent permits granted like yours.  Look up the owners and see who they used and if they would recommend them.

Good luck!
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2017, 02:09:14 pm »
Thanks ljohnsaw. I agree with the faulty reasoning. The only justification I came up with: being in a critical fire zone, if my house were to catch fire from the inside my neighbors and forest on the outside would be safe. That's my justification for it ::)

The purpose of this post was to find out what sorts of installations everyone is doing in there timber frames. This type of construction does not cater to the installation of sprinklers. I have so many ideas going through my head. The most simple and cheap is to run exposed copper pipe below the loft floor joists. On the other end, I could fir out walls and ceilings and run my plumbing in there. What does your installation look like?

I'll keep ya'll filled in. I just talked to the marshall, nice guy. He said I could have an engineer design it and install it myself. That would be nice. I also don't need a self start generator, so if my house catches fire while the power is out... thats it for my house. So far three companies have said they only design and install. And installations are completely outrageous cost wise. I mean, come on, it is very basic plumbing. It seems like another new requirement where the costs are completely inflated like radon mitigation and asbestos abatement (paid a license asbestos contractor $2300 to take out a 12'x8' wall.)

Anyway, not here to complain. I'm trying to embrace the new rules as they will add protection to my family.

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2017, 02:38:41 pm »
My foundation is in - maybe my frame will be up this year...  I don't think code will allow copper.  I have a choice between CPVC or black pipe.  If I do plastic (very easy to install), it cannot be exposed - I have to cover it or enclose it.  I was initially thinking of making wood covers.  It also has the benefit of not rusting up over time.  Timber frame are a bit "industrial" looking and I wouldn't mind exposed black pipe.  I happened on a huge pile of free black pipe in various diameters and might consider using that.  My buddy will help (for free) with the install and I'm assuming he would have a pipe threader to use as we cut this pipe to lengths needed.  He will also let me buy the parts (heads, flapper, etc.) I need.  As my building will be unheated/not fully occupied, they spec'd the system as a glycol filled pipes - not dry pipes that I would have preferred.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2017, 07:48:00 pm »
Check to see if your fire Marshall will let you install a dry preaction system. These require two events in order to trigger the water, typically heat/ smoke detection and pressure loss in the manifold pipe.

The pipes are filled with compressed air instead of water so that if you break a head off accidentally you will not flood your home. They require a secondary trigger too.

When triggered, the system automatically opens up the main water valve providing water to the pipe. Only the heads that are open (due to the wax pellets melting) will then spray water.

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Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 08:37:16 pm »
The dry system doesn't seem practical for my situation. From what I gather, they are used primarily in areas of potential freezing. Cost is much higher, more maintenance and a minute delay before water makes it to the sprinkler head. I ended up designing the system myself and the fire chief signed off. Exposed copper. Pretty simple and bare bones...cheap. 1000 gallon tank in my crawlspace.

Offline JJ

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 09:39:05 am »
I have suppression system, but keep it off because of kids horse play.
Home inspection and my alarm company tell me more homes are damaged by inadvertent leaks or accidentally triggering sprinkler heads than are saved from fire.
Previous owner of my home also did not trust it, so its been off for long time.

      JJ

Offline jdonovan

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 03:30:39 pm »
Home inspection and my alarm company tell me more homes are damaged by inadvertent leaks or accidentally triggering sprinkler heads than are saved from fire.

after 10+ years in the fire service I can say with conviction,

b u l l s h i t !

Two takeaways from my time in the first response world, seatbelts, and sprinklers work!

I never had to cut/remove a seat belt to remove an fatality from a car wreck, and I never was called to a fire that had active fire on arrival in a fully sprinkled building.

I feel strongly enough about this when I had my custom home built, that was the one absolute non-negotiable feature I wanted in the home.

The data from the insurance companies is clear as well. They want sprinklers too. The only significant lobby against them are the home builders. They don't want the price of their new house to go 5-10k up vs the rest of the local market.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 03:58:40 pm »
Yep, the data speaks. 

Seatbelts have saved so so many people and sprinklers save buildings and lives. 

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2017, 04:03:18 pm »
And a flood from a sprinkler is repairable.

A burnt out house isn't, especially if you're dead.
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Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 06:30:04 pm »
Right. Okay. No dispute on the effectiveness of seatbelts. I think fire sprinklers are more similar to a speed governors if we are doing an automobile comparison. My friends in the fire department tell me the main cause of house fires is people falling asleep while they are smoking cigarettes. I think fire sprinklers are great for a commercial setting when so many people are on so many floors of one structure. But in reality, for human safety, a smoke alarm will go off long before a sprinkler will. To minimize structural damage a sprinkler is great. Materials for my house are: concrete, heavy timbers, gypsum board, fiber cement board, and steel.

Offline jdonovan

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2017, 07:11:26 pm »
My friends in the fire department tell me the main cause of house fires is people falling asleep while they are smoking cigarettes.

get a new data source, your friend is SO wrong its funny. Try 5% of all fires.  Even arson is a more common cause than smoking.

"U.S. Home Structure Fires" fact sheet
http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/fires-by-property-type/residential/home-structure-fires

Quote
I think fire sprinklers are...

And that is the problem... What people think, or feel about fire protection and life safety is often wrong. Dead wrong.

In residential designs for fire/life-safety, a smoke detector gives you the early warning so you know there is a fire, and the sprinklers keep fires from growing as fast so you can have a way out. Its a team effort.

from the other NFPA report linked above:
Quote
Home fire sprinklers can control a fire until help arrives even when the occupants are unable to act. Fire sprinklers were present in only 7% of reported home fires in 2010-2014. The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 79% lower when wet pipe sprinkler systems were present compared to reported home fires without any automatic extinguishing systems. For more information on how sprinklers can help, see firesprinklerinitiative.org.

An almost 80% reduction in fatalities, for spending on average $1.35 / sq-ft for installing a system.

The research has been done, and there are enough systems in the field now that real life is meeting or exceeding the predictions from the research. The firefighters, and fire protection engineers have known what works for a long time, and now we have the real data to know that sprinklers and detectors work.

Being a Firefighter Is a very strange profession, we go out of our way time and time again to train and educate the public so they don't need our services. When we get through a shift and the alarm didn't ring it means no one in town had a really bad day, and that's good for everyone.

Please help us help you.

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2017, 07:32:27 pm »
My friends in the fire department tell me the main cause of house fires is people falling asleep while they are smoking cigarettes.

get a new data source, your friend is SO wrong its funny. Try 5% of all fires.  Even arson is a more common cause than smoking.

Not trying to stir the fire :D, but flyingparks' fact was almost right, according to your link.  The main cause of DEATH in fires is due to "smoking materials".  I'm assuming that means tobacco-type smoking, not smoking meats... ;)

The data also shows that we all need to stop cooking in our houses - eat out more often  :D :D :D ;)

I DO appreciate what firefighters do for all of us.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2017, 07:50:02 pm »
I was just gonna say..."Smoking was the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths." I'm not trying to cause a fight. I respect your opinion and you seem very passionate about sprinklers and statistics. The only people I respect more than fire fighters are my dad and my grandpa and I think they would both question any statistics...especially when reported by our magnificent government.

As an example: "The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 79% lower when wet pipe sprinkler systems were present compared to reported home fires without any automatic extinguishing systems." That really doesn't tell us anything. How many homes were equipped with sprinklers? How many people died. Statistics can be skewed to prove anything.

In my hood, there is not one example of fire sprinklers saving anyone or anyone's house, and they have been required since '95 Why? Because fire sprinklers won't protect against wildfire. This is just an example of how silly statistics can be. A wildfire is not a house fire.

I realize you are just trying to keep us safe. Some of us don't agree with having to spend a significant amount of money for something that is effectively in question because a small percentage of our wonderful population smokes cigarettes in bed, leaves the kitchen stove on, or simply doesn't get their chimney swept. I appreciate the concern and rest assured I will have a wet sprinkler system in my house that is code compliant. And ya'll can see the photos when it's in!

Offline jdonovan

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2017, 08:08:35 pm »
Except these aren't from a government agency. NFPA is a non-government entity (trade organization).  The data is from National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). So this is data source directly from the fire departments. After each call the officer does a report, and these are what feeds the data to NFPA.

358,300 reports were made 2010-2014, so fires occurred in just over 25,000 sprinkled residences.

I very much appreciate your position of not liking to be told to do something that you don't see value in doing.



Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Fire Sprinklers
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 08:08:50 pm »
In my hood, there is not one example of fire sprinklers saving anyone or anyone's house, and they have been required since '95
I'm not looking for an argument, either.  I just like looking at numbers and making inferences.

I guess, for once, California was not a leader in government thinking for us.  My regs kicked in in (tom) 2010.

Looking at some other statistics on that link, I find something interesting - especially if you consider sprinklers have been a requirement for quite some time in places (apparently).  There has been a steady decline in home fires from 1977 to 2015 - in fact, a 50% decline - fantastic news - probably due to education and safer products.  However, the rate of injuries and deaths have followed almost the same trend - about half (slightly slower decline).  Damage costs (adjusted to 2015) are almost flat.  IF there is a significant number of houses covered by fire suppression systems (which we cannot tell but I presume), I would expect at the very least that the death rate would be dropping faster than the number of fires' rate and the costs dropping significantly (very little change) if the sprinklers actually do any good.

Or, maybe, my reasoning is just all wet. :D
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.