While fire sprinkler systems can save lives and prevent a house or business from succumbing to fire damage, a fire sprinkler that is accidentally triggered or releases water for too long can cause significant and unexpected water damage.
While there is undoubtedly an argument to be made that water damage is preferable to fire-related property damage, that does not change the fact that water damage cleanup and repair fees from accidental sprinkler activation can be incredibly costly. Professional water damage repair and cleanup services are required to prevent rot, mold, and other water-related damages.
If you want to know how much fire sprinkler water damage can cost to repair, you have come to the right place. We will discuss the costs associated with these types of water restoration services and explain how you can prevent this type of destruction from occurring in the first place.
So, let’s get started!
When an automatic sprinkler system is activated, a plug holding the water back is released, and water is immediately ejected from the fire sprinkler in all directions.
The result is the same whether this release is caused by high air temperatures that would indicate a fire or the fire sprinkler has activated due to a malfunction. Once the fire sprinkler has started to spray water, it will not stop until the waterline has been shut off or the sprinkler valve has been blocked in some other way.
The amount of water a specific fire sprinkler releases will depend on the type of system and the pressure the sprinkler system uses. As you would expect, larger commercial and industrial buildings use fire sprinkler systems that release more water than those installed in residential buildings.
With that said, a typical fire protection system will release between 35 and 150 gallons of water per minute. In most cases, the water will range 12 feet in all directions.
For perspective, this means that just one average residential fire sprinkler can release enough water to fill a bathtub in less than one minute!
Just think how much damage would be caused if someone dumped a bathtub full of water into your living room or kitchen. A single fire sprinkler would fill the room with at least that much water in a single minute.
Now imagine that your residential fire sprinkler system, like most fire protection systems, had multiple modern sprinklers, and it was allowed to run for 25 minutes without being shut off. Your home, office, warehouse, or any other indoor space would be in horrible shape.
While you probably know how damaging excess water can be in an indoor space, it helps to understand the types of destruction water can cause. This is why we are going to quickly highlight some of the types of water damage a faulty fire sprinkler system can cause.
If significant amounts of water are allowed to pool, it can cause serious structural damage to a building. For example, water can cause wooden floors to swell and warp. It can also weaken drywall and other common building materials.
Metal is also highly susceptible to corrosion if it is not dried properly. This can be a significant issue for the long-term structural integrity of your home or business.
Any electronics plugged in when a fire sprinkler runs could be at serious risk of permanent damage. Not only can the water released by automatic sprinklers immediately damage appliances, electrical equipment, and even personal electronics, leftover and trapped moisture can trigger problems in the future.
In other words, if you cannot shut a fire sprinkler system off immediately, sensitive electronics, such as computers, could be destroyed.
One of the most destructive consequences of water damage is the growth of mold and mildew that can occur after the majority of the water has been mopped up.
Not only can mold spores cause serious respiratory issues in the future, mold and mildew can destroy organic substances, including wood support beams, flooring, walls, and so much more. It can also discolor and destroy carpets, furniture, and other soft surfaces.
While the destruction caused by a faulty fire sprinkler system can be immediate, addressing the issue afterward can also be incredibly costly. Most insurance companies will not pay for water damage caused by an accidentally activated fire sprinkler.
While you may assume that you could simply mop up the floors and do the water removal yourself, there is an extremely high chance that you would need more time to do an adequate job. In other words, by cleaning up the water yourself, you could leave your home or business susceptible to higher costs in the future.
You have to consider the extent of the water damage restoration, which can include carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water extraction, and more.
Non-professional water damage restoration efforts almost always leave trace amounts of water and moisture behind, leading to mold growth and spreading dangerous bacteria in your home. Mold remediation and mold removal are also significant expenses.
Again, the damage caused by mold and mildew would not be covered by your insurance company, especially if they know that you did not hire a professional water damage restoration service with specialized equipment for repair.
Unfortunately, the average water damage repair cost caused by fire sprinkler systems is just under $35,000! Although water damage restoration services are expensive, these specialty cleaning services are indispensable, as you will only spend more in the future if you do not address the issue immediately.
Water damage cleanup and water damage repair services are expensive because it is very labor-intensive. The structure needs to be thoroughly dried; then all surfaces need to be cleaned, which can include carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and contents cleaning, and all damaged surfaces and items need to be replaced.
Depending on the damage, as well as the size of the affected area, the process could take several days to several weeks to complete.
When it comes to water damage, time is money. The longer the water was allowed to flow, and the resulting standing water was left alone, the more expensive the water damage restoration cost will be.
The same applies to an activated fire sprinkler head, as a minute’s worth of activation could cost thousands of dollars in water damage.
As is often the case with costly repairs, prevention is far better than the cure when you are dealing with fire sprinkler damage.
While fire sprinkler systems are vital pieces of fire safety equipment that can save lives and protect your home or business from burning down, they can cause serious problems if they are accidentally activated or allowed to run longer than necessary.
Fortunately, there is a simple and affordable tool that you can purchase to shut off an activated fire sprinkler instantly. The Shutgun is the world’s leading fire sprinkler shut-off tool. Since 90% of fire sprinkler activations are accidental, the ability to shut off your system quickly can be incredibly useful.
When you leave it up to the fire department to deactivate your fire sprinkler system, it can take minutes to hours and could mean tens of thousands of dollars in water damage.
Given that the Shutgun is only $65, keeping one on any floor with a fire sprinkler installed makes sense.