Uponor Solutions:
Residential Fire Safety

Fire Safety: Types of Residential Sprinkler Systems

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13D Standard for the design and installation of residential sprinkler systems identifies two basic types of systems — multipurpose and standalone.

Multipurpose systems integrate the fire sprinklers with the cold-water plumbing lines in the house, so the sprinklers perform just like any other plumbing fixture. These systems were created specifically for residential use, and are designed to be easily and seamlessly incorporated into a home’s construction process.

Standalone residential sprinkler systems use a separate, additional system of piping that must be kept isolated from the home’s drinking water supply by a backflow preventer. This component adds additional cost to the initial installation as well as annual maintenance costs which can significantly add up over time.

Benefits of Multipurpose Systems

More cost-effective
No backflow or antifreeze costs
No accidental shutoff

Since the fire sprinkler and cold-water plumbing systems are integrated, there’s no need for another separate network of sprinkler piping for the house.

Because the sprinklers are part of the plumbing system, there’s no need to install expensive backflow devices needed by standalone systems to keep stagnant, harmful sprinkler water separate from the drinking water. And there are no antifreeze requirements, dangers or yearly maintenance costs to worry about.
One of the most common reasons for standalone sprinkler failure is that the system has been unintentionally shut off. A multipurpose system, however, cannot be unintentionally shut off without also shutting off the cold-water plumbing. With a multipurpose residential sprinkler system, if there’s water flowing to your fixtures, water is also available to the sprinklers if it is ever needed in the event of a fire.
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