If you’re buying a new home in California, I hope you like fire sprinklers

Did you know that beginning January 1, 2011, newly constructed single family homes in the State of California will need to have fire sprinklers installed? It’s true. A few days ago a story posted in the Sacramento Business Journal, but this news first broke a few months ago. According to the National Fire Sprinkler Association (yes, there is such a thing):

“The State of California has adopted building code changes that will require all new one and two-family homes and townhouses built in the state starting January 1, 2011, to be equipped with life-saving fire sprinkler systems.”

Do you think this is a good move? As a prospective home owner, would you favor a property with fire sprinklers? How much do you think this will raise the cost of a new home?


  1. says

    It will be interesting to see how that goes over. Hopefully homeowners insurance costs will be lowered and that may offset some of the added construction costs that are passed on to the buyer.

  2. says

    Very interesting. I wonder how that will change the interior look of a home, if any? And I wonder how many sprinkler systems accidentally go off soaking all electronics, furniture, etc. I guess that is better than your house burning down though.

  3. says

    Good point, Tom. It would seem there should be some sort of incentive to get lower insurance with an added feature like that. Bryan, apparently there are some more stylish sprinklers so they don’t look so commercial. I had a house burn down once. It wasn’t a fun experience.

      • says

        I was in High School when our house burned down. Our little old fixer went up in flames on a Saturday evening while we were there. It was totally destroyed. It wasn’t easy, but there were some really redemptive and formative things that came out of that experience for me and my family. I’m wondering about stylish sprinklers too though… 🙂

  4. Joe Oliver says

    Hi everyone.

    First some disclosure, I am a sprinkler system professional so I may be somewhat biased. ;o) But, that having been said, I offer a few points…
    – Yes, there are numerous styles and finishes of sprinkler heads including concealed models which can have custom coloured plates. All you would see is a round disk that sticks down about 1/4″ from the ceiling.
    – Many insurance providers in the US are providing insurance breaks. To what degree may vary from firm to firm. I have heard though that there is better chance of a water heater rupture that a sprinkler going off. As well, the actual piping system is no more prone to failure than the plumbing already in your home.
    – Upfront costs of the systems vary from place to place but, in general, amount to as much as a typical upgrade (carpeting is the most common comparison). I’ve heard numbers as low as 2% of the overall cost. Again, I may be biased, but give me safety over fancy any day!
    – The maintenance on the system is no more than what is required on many of the appliances already in your home such as furnace, A/C, etc.

    There are numerous resources on the internet to help you find out more information. A first place to start might be the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition at http://www.homefiresprinkler.org/

    Hope that helps.

    • says

      Joe, it’s great to hear from you. Thank you for pitching in. I know you’re not a SPAM comment either, because I see your email address (hidden from everyone else), and you really do work for a sprinkler company. 🙂

      As far as cost, builders often charge way more for features added. The sprinklers of course will not be an “upgrade” though because it will need to be standard. I am just curious to see how it plays out. I would imagine it would be a marketing point for them because many home owners would like the additional security. The concealed models you mentioned would go over well too I bet.

      • Joe Oliver says

        No problem, just trying to help and spread the good word about fire sprinklers. Don’t worry about sending an Email if you have any other questions.


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