Fire sprinkler system on a ceiling.

Answers about automatic fire sprinkler systems

Commercial sprinkler systems are a key step in fire protection. If you have questions, get answers to help protect your business from devastating fire damage.

A commercial sprinkler system can help fight the spread of a fire in your place of business. Sprinklers offer the highest degree of fire protection, when well-maintained and working, and are designed to control a fire even when the business or workplace is not occupied. They can help reduce property losses by fighting a fire in its early stage.

How much does a commercial fire sprinkler system cost?

Sprinkler systems can be cost-effective. If you are planning a new building, sprinklers add between $1 to $2 per square foot to construction costs — about the same as new carpeting, and may also qualify for discounts on your business insurance premiums. The price is higher for fitting existing buildings — between $2 to $7 per square foot covered and up to $10 per square foot covered for historic buildings.

Is the fire sprinkler installation and maintenance worth it?

The cost to install a sprinkler system can be minimal when compared to the amount of damages that may result from a fire. Commercial sprinkler systems are generally low maintenance, too. They need to be inspected annually, but their lifespan can last up to 20 years.

What causes a fire sprinkler to activate?

For many modernized systems, each sprinkler is individually activated by the heat of the fire and reacts only to the temperature in the room where it's installed, not to the reactions of the other sprinklers in the system. If a fire starts somewhere in the building, only the sprinklers activated by heat will go off to help with the fire suppression and help contain the property damage.

Older systems may be deluge fire protection systems that activate all of the sprinkler heads when one is tripped.

Do fire sprinklers react to smoke?

No. As stated above, fire sprinklers are activated by the heat from the fire and not by smoke.

Will water damage from a sprinkler system be more extensive than fire damage?

In a business with no system in place, a fire can quickly spread through an entire building, potentially damaging a significant amount, if not all, of a business's property. With a sprinkler system, that same fire can be controlled in the area where it started and all the other business property may remain safe. Also, fire sprinklers usually dispense less water and force than what a firehose would once firefighters arrive.

Do automatic sprinkler systems only save your property?

Sprinklers are not only there to help protect your property, they can also provide a level of life protection. Sprinklers dampen the flames to help reduce the risk of smoke inhalation and injury.

Despite the effectiveness of sprinkler systems, some people are still skeptical about their value and role in controlling fires. Knowing the difference between fact and fiction can help you make an informed decision about an automatic sprinkler system. For information about residential and business sprinkler systems, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and take action to help protect your home and business against fires.

Now that you have learned about the benefits of automatic fire sprinklers, you might want to read about other fire prevention tips for your business. Contact a State Farm® agent if you want to learn more about small business insurance.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm General Insurance Company
­Bloomington, IL

State Farm Florida Insurance Company­
Winter Haven, FL

State Farm Lloyds
­Richardson, TX

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