(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Water service upgrade for home fire sprinkler

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mattster1975's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    7

    Default Water service upgrade for home fire sprinkler

    Hi:

    I am looking at installing a home fire sprinkler in a 2 story slab home.

    The current water service is only 5/8" and the sprinkler contractors have advised that is not going to be big enough.

    Is it possible to replace the existing water service to and inside the the house with a 1" service, or does it make more sense to either
    1. get a separate dedicated meter for the fire sprinkler and have it enter the house above grade (with insulation)
    2. have a 1" meter installed and then have that line tied into a new sprinkler line and existing domestic water line in a valve pit (with shutoffs and backflow preventers as requires) and then have the 1" line enter the house above grade.

    (the shutoff for the sprinkler will be at the meter and inside the house locked open I believe).

    Any tips generally on retrofitting these systems is appreciated.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    9,001

    Default

    First ask the water company about costs. You pay an meter fee based on size. But the water RATE for sprinkler system may be different, so it may pay for it to be on a separate meter

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,382

    Default

    Depending on the sprinkler head type, design, quantity, and their placement, 1" may not be sufficient. One condo near me made up of townhouses needed 2" service per each unit. They all complain about their water demand charge. Many utilities charge by how much water you COULD use in addition to how much you DO use.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Dominick G Kasmauskas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Look into Tank and Pump options. Tank required to hold enough water for 10 minute fire flow. Generally around 300 gallon tank, not very big. Pumps can be electric or there are a couple manufacturers that have non-electric pumps that run by stored CO2 or Nitrogen cylinders or air compressor.

    May be less costly than worrying about underground, meters, backflow prevention, and ridiculous fees for fire sprinkler systems.
    Last edited by Dominick G Kasmauskas; 04-02-2013 at 06:04 AM. Reason: more info

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member mattster1975's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    7

    Default

    I am thinking about tanks too. I was leery of the tank because of the reliance on the electrical grid, but if there are non electric pumps that makes it more interesting. Mostly I want the sprinklers to give me a few more min to evacuate if there is a fire so a 10 min run time is ok.

    The other part of the project is the whole pipe install in the house. There are options about where to run the pipe - I have floor trusses so I am thinking it is best to put the pipes in the ceiling (and either cut the ceiling drywall or pull up the carpet and go in from the 2nd floor. It is possible to run the pipes along the wall ceiling junction and conceal with molding too. I'm just not sure the best way to go an the sprinkler guys either won't touch any drywall, or will just do rough demo.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,605

    Default

    There is no water flow through a sprinkler system unless there is a fire, so the majority of them are connected to the house line. In fact, some systems are being installed as part of the house plumbing system rather than having their own piping. I once asked the fire marshall why they connected the fire line AFTER the house valve, since that made it ineffective if the homeowner shut off the water for a vacation, for example. He said, "If the water is turned off, there is probably on one in the house. Our fire sprinklers are to save lives, so if no one is in the house, we don't care if it burns down."
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member mattster1975's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Yes - if I was building a new house I would probably do a system like this (UpHonor makes a PEX system that works with domestic water). The only risk would be if the whole house was shut off and we were sweating in a water heater and started a fire that way (but this would be during the day anyway when fire risk is lower and it's easier to get out etc).

    Texas has a program for plumbers where they can take a continuing ed class and get certified to install residential sprinklers though I'm not sure how many folks are doing this.

    I think my current water supply is not adequate though for a fire sprinkler system (it is only 5/8" line and I am not even sure where it comes into the house).

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,382

    Default

    In another 10-years, sprinklers in new construction may very well be a universal thing in the USA...it's being enforced in some locales now and expect it to spread. Often, a fire only starts in one room, so you may not need a lot of water to put it out if the sensor turns it on fast enough. In some cases, seconds count. In some, it could smolder for a long time before it might generate enough heat to trip the thing. Getting proper coverage with the flow and pressure you have is critical to a full-coverage system. Expect more choices as these become mandated and the sales volume goes up in the future.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member mattster1975's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    7

    Default

    A lot of newer construction is done with light weight construction (floor and roof trusses and wood I-beams etc) and it seems that this style of construction does not perform as well in a fire when compared to traditional construction with larger dimensioned lumber. Houses built with lightweight construction have structural failure sooner in a failure making sprinklers for these kind of homes more important.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,605

    Default

    quote; The only risk would be if the whole house was shut off and we were sweating in a water heater and started a fire that way

    The way most domestic fire systems are connected, it would be shut off any time the house valve was closed, such as installing a water heater.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

Similar Threads

  1. Service Upgrade completed!
    By leejosepho in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 12-12-2011, 11:44 AM
  2. service riser needs for an electrical service upgrade?
    By myladyfae in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-22-2010, 11:28 AM
  3. House Fire Sprinkler
    By Master Brian in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 11-20-2008, 01:43 PM
  4. Upgrade to 120 amp service without rewiring?
    By mckern in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-08-2008, 08:18 PM
  5. Need Help with Fire Sprinkler system
    By DonM in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-27-2007, 03:35 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •