Wes van Bavel

Safety program showcases home sprinkler system

Red Deer Emergency Services is shining a light on a leading-edge sprinkler system that can help protect homeowners.

Red Deer Emergency Services is shining a light on a leading-edge sprinkler system that can help protect homeowners.

The department has partnered with Laebon Homes and Bruins Plumbing and Heating for the Home Safety Program showcasing the Uponor Residential Fire Safety System installed at a home under construction in Timberlands.

Wes Van Bavel, fire prevention officer with Red Deer Emergency Services, said unlike other sprinkler systems, the Uponor fire system is connected to a home’s plumbing so a separate tank and pump system with backflow devices are not required.

He said the single-family home being built at 22 Tindale Place will be Red Deer’s first home with a maintenance-free Uponor system.

“And the first home where we have a contractor/builder, Laebon Homes, and a plumber, Bruins Plumbing and Heating, installing the system instead of a sprinkler fitter. You don’t need a sprinkler fitter, which cuts the cost considerably,” Van Bavel said at the house on Thursday.

“The system is designed so that it’s flush with the ceiling in here so there will be a cap over the sprinkler head,” he said pointing to the sprinkler head among the ceiling joists in the roughed-in house.

“The smoke alarm and the CO2 detector will stand out more in this home than the sprinkler heads.”

Uponor sprinklers do not operate in response to smoke, burned toast, cooking vapours, steam, or a smoke alarm — only high temperature, 60 to 70 C.

And only the sprinkler closest to the fire will operate, putting water directly on the flames in the area of the fire’s origin.

An Uponor engineer designs the system specifically for each home and it is sent to the plumber to install with the rest of the plumbing system.

Uponor fire system costs roughly one-and-a-half to two per cent of the value of a home.

Van Bavel said the expense is similar to other kinds of upgrades home buyers already consider, like granite countertops.

But this upgrade could be life-saving, he said.

“The whole design of a residential sprinkler system is to control the heat, the gases, the by-products from a fire, giving the tenants time to escape safely,” Van Bavel said.

He said more homes in Canada and the United States are being built with residential sprinkler systems.

“They have found in homes where fires have occurred, there’s 70 per cent less fire damage to a home with a sprinkler system.”

Media will be invited back in the fall at the fully finished house, located in The Timbers neighbourhood off 55th Street (Hwy 11), to revisit the sprinkler system.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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