Frequently Asked Questions

 

General - Fire Sprinkler Systems

Q.   Who installs Fire sprinklers? Can a homeowner install a system in his/her own home?

A.   A fire sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the appropriate standards, local codes and ordinances. Fire sprinkler system design, layout, and installation shall be completed by a licensed C-16 contractor only.

Q.   What should I do if I have "Recalled" Fire Sprinkler Heads in my home or business?

A.   Contact Sam Cowell Fire Protection for an onsite survey and review of your system.

Q.   How often must I have my Backflow devices tested?

A.   All Backflow devices installed in a fire protection system piping must be tested annually.

Q.   Am I required to have a complete walkthrough of my facility, apartment or condominium during a Fire Sprinkler Inspection?

A.   Yes. California Law requires a complete walkthrough of your facility. Therefore, a visual sampling of different areas or portions of a system such as a percentage of apartments or rooms in a residential facility or business is unacceptable and cannot be considered as a fully inspected system.

Q.    What should I do if I have Painted Sprinkler Heads in my facility?

A.    Painted sprinkler heads are required to be replaced. According to the 2008 edition of NFPA 25 - 5.2.1.1.2 – Any sprinkler head shall be replaced that has signs of leakage, is painted (other than by the sprinkler manufacturer), corroded, damaged or loaded; or is in the improper orientation.

Q.     How often must I have my Private Fire Hydrants inspected?

A.     Fire Hydrants are required to be tested Annually to ensure proper functioning. Each hydrant is to be opened fully and water flowed until all foreign material has cleared. Flow is required to be maintained for not less than one minute.  Flow Tests are usually required every three years, depending on the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). A flow test is conducted to determine pressure and flow-producing capabilities at any location within the distribution system. The primary function of fire flow tests is to determine how much water is available for fighting fire.

Q.   Is my home required to have a firesprinkler system?

A.   Effective September 16, 2010, all new residential buildings will require an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Q.   What type of home fire sprinkler system should I have installed?

A.   One and two family homes can use a NFPA Standard 13D system installed by a State Licensed Sprinkler Contractor.

Q.   Does Napa County require a Fire Department Connection (FDC) on home sprinkler systems?

A.   Systems installed in accordance with NFPA Standard 13D are not required to have an FDC.

Q.   Is a water flow alarm device required on home sprinkler systems?

A.   NFPA does not require the sprinkler system to have a water flow alarm. However, the City and County of Napa do require a water flow switch (WFS) on all systems.

Q.   Can the home owner perform routine maintenance on a home sprinkler system?

A.   No, the routine maintenance must be performed by a licensed fire sprinkler contractor.

Q.   Is a back flow preventer required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   All water districts now require a double check valve on home sprinkler systems.

Q.   Does Napa require additional sprinklers beyond what is required by NFPA Standard 13D?

A.   Requirements for fire sprinklers in one and two - family homes are as indicated by NFPA Standard 13D.  No additional coverage is required.

Q.   Are permits required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   Yes. Local permits are required. The installer must pull the permits.

Q.   Are sprinkler heads available to match my decor?

A.   Yes. Sprinkler heads can be ordered to match most  any decor or be recessed but can not be modified, painted, or covered by any object that is not specifically listed to do so.

Q.   If there is a fire, will all of the sprinkler heads activate?

A.   No, Only one head will activate at a time and only if it reaches it's specific temperature.

Q.   What about water damage?

A.   According to homefiresprinklers.org, a residential fire sprinkler flows 10 to 26 gallons per minute for approximately 10 minutes ( depending on how soon responding fire fighters turn off the system).  The fire department uses hoses that flow 250 gallons per minute or more; often 10 times the water used by a residential sprinkler.  The property loss in a home with residential fire sprinklers is only a fraction of the loss in a home with no fire sprinklers.

Q.   Are insurance discounts available for homes with fire sprinklers?

A.   Yes. Rates vary between companies. Contact your insurance agent for details.



Homeowner FAQs

Q.   Is my home required to have a firesprinkler system?

A.   Effective September 16, 2010, all new residential buildings will require an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Q.   Can a homeowner install a system in his/her own home?

A.   A fire sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the appropriate standards, local codes and ordinances. Fire sprinkler system design, layout, and installation shall be completed by a licensed C-16 contractor only. A C-16 licensed Fire protection contractor lays out, fabricates and installs all types of fire protection systems; including all the equipment associated with these systems, excluding electrical alarm systems.

Q.   What type of home fire sprinkler system should I have installed?

A.   One and two family homes can use a NFPA Standard 13D system installed by a State licensed Sprinkler Contractor.

Q.   Are permits required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   Yes. Local permits are required. The installer must pull the permits.

Q.   What should I do if I have "Recalled Fire Sprinkler Heads" in my home or business?

A.   Contact Sam Cowell Fire Protection for an onsite survey and review of your system.

Q.   Does Napa County require a Fire Department Connection (FDC) on home sprinkler systems?

A.   Systems installed in accordance with NFPA Standard 13D are not required to have an FDC.

Q.   Can the home owner perform routine maintenance on a home sprinkler system?

A.   No, the routine maintenance must be performed by a licensed fire sprinkler contractor.

Q.   Is a "Backflow preventer" required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   All water districts now require a Double Check Valve  on home sprinkler systems.

Q.   Is a water flow alarm device required on home sprinkler systems?

A.   NFPA does not require the sprinkler system to have a water flow alarm. However, the City and County of Napa do require a water flow switch (WFS) on all systems.

Q.   Does Napa require additional sprinklers beyond what is required by NFPA Standard 13D?

A.   Requirements for fire sprinklers in one and two - family homes are as indicated by NFPA Standard 13D.  No additional coverage is required.

Q.   Are sprinkler heads available to match my decor?

A.   Yes. Sprinkler heads can be ordered to match most  any decor or be recessed but can not be modified, painted, or covered by any object that is not specifically listed to do so.

Q.   If there is a fire, will all of the sprinkler heads activate?

A.   No, Only one head will activate at a time and only if it reaches it's specific temperature.

Q.   What about water damage?

A.   According to homefiresprinklers.org, a residential fire sprinkler flows 10 to 26 gallons per minute for approximately 10 minutes ( depending on how soon responding fire fighters turn off the system).  The fire department uses hoses that flow 250 gallons per minute or more; often 10 times the water used by a residential sprinkler.  The property loss in a home with residential fire sprinklers is only a fraction of the loss in a home with no fire sprinklers.

Q.   Are insurance discounts available for homes with fire sprinklers?

A.   Yes. Rates vary between companies. Contact your insurance agent for details.



Code Requirements - Permits

Q.   Who can install a Fire Sprinkler System?

A.   A fire sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the appropriate standards, local codes and ordinances. Fire sprinkler system design, layout and installs shall be completed by a licensed C-16 contractor only. A C-16 licensed Fire protection contractor lays out, fabricates and installs all types of fire protection systems; including all the equipment associated with these systems, excluding electrical alarm systems.

Q.   Are permits required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   Yes. Local permits are required. The installer must pull the permits.

Q.    What should I do if I have Painted Sprinkler Heads in my facility?

A.    Painted sprinkler heads are required to be replaced. According to the 2008 edition of NFPA 25 - 5.2.1.1.2 – Any sprinkler head shall be replaced that has signs of leakage, is painted (other than by the sprinkler manufacturer), corroded, damaged or loaded; or is in the improper orientation.

Q.   Is my home required to have a fire sprinkler system?

A.   Effective September 16, 2010, all new residential buildings will require an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Q.   Is a backflow preventer required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   All water districts now require a double check valve on home sprinkler systems.

Q.   Does Napa require additional sprinklers beyond what is required by NFPA Standard 13D?

A.   Requirements for fire sprinklers in one and two - family homes are as indicated by NFPA Standard 13D.  No additional coverage is required.

Q.   Does Napa County require a Fire Department Connection (FDC) on home sprinkler systems?

A.   Systems installed in accordance with NFPA Standard 13D are not required to have an FDC.

Q.   Is a water flow alarm device required on home sprinkler systems?

A.   NFPA does not require the sprinkler system to have a water flow alarm. However, the City and County of Napa do require a water flow switch (WFS) on all systems.

Q.     How often must I have my Private Fire Hydrants inspected?

A.     Fire Hydrants are required to be tested Annually to ensure proper functioning. Each hydrant is to be opened fully and water flowed until all foreign material has cleared. Flow is required to be maintained for not less than one minute.  Flow Tests are usually required every three years, depending on the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). A flow test is conducted to determine pressure and flow-producing capabilities at any location within the distribution system. The primary function of fire flow tests is to determine how much water is available for fighting fire.



Fire Hydrants & Flow Tests

Q.   How often must I have my Private Fire Hydrants inspected?

A.   Fire Hydrants are required to be tested annually to ensure proper functioning. Each hydrant is to be opened fully and water flowed until all foreign material has cleared. Flow is required to be maintained for not less than one minute.

Q.   How often must I have a Flow Test?

A.   Flow Tests are usually required every three years, depending on the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). A flow test is conducted to determine pressure and flow-producing capabilities at any location within the distribution system. The primary function of fire flow tests is to determine how much water is available for fighting fire.


Backflow Device - Check Valve - Water Flow Alarm - Water Flow Switch

Q.   Is a Backflow preventer required for a home sprinkler system?

A.   All water districts now require a double check valve on home sprinkler systems.

Q.   How often must I have my Backflow devices tested?

A.   All Backflow devices installed in a fire protection system piping must be tested annually.

Q.   Is a water flow alarm device required on home sprinkler systems?

A.   NFPA does not require the sprinkler system to have a water flow alarm. However, the City and County of Napa does require a water flow switch (WFS) on all systems.