Letters to the editor

Home sprinklers will catch on faster

SHAWNEE, KAN. — I think that the time frame for acceptance of residential sprinklers will be much shorter than your sprinkler industry sources say ("Home sprinklers may take decades"). They are looking at the systems through the eyes of sprinkler contractors, and are not considering the cost advantages of making the sprinklers part of the cold water distribution pipe. Traditional stand-alone sprinkler systems require backflow preventers, which add to installation costs and may require annual testing by certified technicians. Plumbing-based systems use manifolded grids for the water distribution pipe, so there is no standing water. When someone operates a plumbing fixture, water flows throughout the cold water distribution pipe.

Manifolded grids also benefit the plumbing system. For example, the smaller diameter pipe wastes less water in delivering the desired temperature to fixtures. The pipe layout eliminates pressure and temperature shock when someone opens a second fixture. The hydraulic efficiency of grids allows them to supply adequate pressure to low-flow showerheads without increasing pipe diameters. I am an advocate of plumbing contractors installing sprinklers in dwellings. They can install plumbing-based systems for much lower costs and homebuilders have one less sub to coordinate. The only things holding them back are a couple days of training on residential sprinkler codes and overcoming the licensing barriers that the sprinkler industry has put in place.

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