13 Fire Sprinkler Insights I learned from an Expert

Posted on by Greg Schoenbaechler

A Fire Sprinkler expert testing a system after an install

In my quest to build a Fire Sprinkler page that people would find interesting, I needed help gathering content.

Upon reading code after code, I figured I’d lose a reader…right about now.

So how can I spruce it up?

How about I interview our Fire Sprinkler Manager, Scott Rose, who’s been in the fire protection industry since I graduated from coach pitch?

After our interview, I reflected back and thought about the statements that really stood out, the ones that anyone NOT from a Fire Sprinkler background would find interesting.

Here’s what I found:

13 Fire Sprinkler Insights I learned from an Expert


1) Almost everyone is getting fire sprinklers installed! Scott explained that even your local McDonald’s, who only needs a few sprinkler heads, has been asked by the city to install a fire sprinkler system.


2) If you’re building is over 12,000 square feet, more than likely, you will have to get a fire sprinkler system. According to NFPA 13, one of the most common requirements for needing a fire sprinkler system is having over 12,000 square feet of space.


3) Everyone must comply with NFPA 13, which is all about fire sprinkler systems. However, some jurisdictions have their own building codes, which can force stricter policies than NFPA 13.


4) If you operate in a business that provides the option of an overnight stay, you are likely to have more stricter fire codes than NFPA 13. Example institutions include hotels, hospitals, university housing and nursing homes.


5) A pre-action fire sprinkler system needs two activations to begin. One is a loss of air in the system that triggers a trouble alert. The second is a series of manual actions such as activating a fire sprinkler head, a smoke alarm and a pull station. Pre-action fire sprinkler system are designed for worse-case scenario, meaning that the system is designed to ONLY go off in case of a major fire.


6) A pre-action system is mostly used to provide fire protection to assets that’ll become damaged by water (data centers, computer rooms, machinery).


7) In some cases, it’s natural for the water to begin flowing out of sprinkler heads for 60-90 seconds before a fire alarm ever goes off.


8) One fire sprinkler head can protrude up to 450 gallons of water in 60 seconds!


9) Who is Factory Mutual? And how are they so involved with the Fire Sprinkler industry? Factory Mutual is a global property insurance company that creates premiums based off the risk-analysis of the fire protection system.


10) Factory Mutual has authority into writing fire codes.


11) Factory Mutual has its own certification of fire sprinkler equipment.


12) Installing a fire sprinkler system in 2018 can be completely written off your taxes according to the reform of Section 179 of the IRS tax code. In fact, any fire sprinkler system installed from September 27, 2017 to December 31, 2022, will be able to be 100% written off.


13) A metal fabricating company can label metal piping used for installing fire sprinkler systems so that the technician can piece the system together like a puzzle.




Hopefully today you’ve learned at least one fact about fire sprinkler systems you didn’t before. The most important lesson I learned is that if you want to learn about an unfamiliar topic, don’t be afraid to interview an expert.

They will most likely be happy to help you out. Plus, like your grandpa’s stories, you’ll obtain the “real”, and “old-school, no holds barred” insights that you’ll never find online.


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