We all recognize that fires are incredibly destructive. We take regular precautions to minimize the risk of a fire breaking out, monitoring our kitchens carefully, inspecting our electrical wiring, and extinguishing open flames (like those found on candles) proactively. But even the best preventative measures can’t completely eliminate the risk of a fire.
That’s why many people turn to fire suppression systems as an added line of defense. But are fire suppression systems really worth the money?
What Is a Fire Suppression System?
Let’s start with the basics: what is a fire suppression system, exactly?
As the name suggests, fire suppression systems are designed to suppress fires. Using water, chemicals, or some other important material, these systems activate in response to fire or smoke and attempt to remove danger from the situation. The ultimate goal is to reduce the spread of the flames or extinguish the flames entirely, thereby minimizing damage to your property and keeping people safe as they evacuate the building.
There are many different types of fire suppression systems worth getting, which makes the discussion of their cost efficiency complicated. For example, some fire suppression systems are very complex, independent of specific types of plumbing running throughout your building. Other types are modular, allowing you to quickly and easily install them with no plumbing related installation required. You can also invest in portable fire suppression systems, which are incredibly inexpensive and easy to use.
It’s worth noting that fire suppression systems are not simply fire sprinklers. Sprinklers rely exclusively on water, while fire suppression systems typically use an agent like a blanket of gas, a specifically formulated foam, or a chemical powder designed to mitigate flames.
Let’s take a closer look at the costs. Depending on the type of system you’re installing and the amount of work you need to do, you’ll typically end up spending several hundred to a few thousand dollars.
. Initial installation. The initial installation may be expensive and time consuming, or may be quick and cheap. It all depends on whether your fire suppression system is modular and made for easy installation or whether it requires a total plumbing overhaul.
. Ongoing costs. Many modern fire suppression systems are designed to be maintenance-free (or close to it). Your ongoing maintenance costs should be minimal.
. Incidental damage. If your fire suppression system is activated, it may cause incidental damage, depending on the materials deployed; however, this is usually far less expensive than the damage you would incur by allowing the fire to spread.
So what about the benefits?
. Damage mitigation. A fire suppression system could save your entire property. If you ever experience a fire, the system will therefore immediately pay for itself, many times over.
. Health and safety. Your fire suppression system can also protect the health and safety of the people in your home or building – which is invaluable.
. Insurance benefits. Some insurance companies are willing to give discounts or bonuses to businesses with fire suppression systems in place. This can negate some of the costs of installation.
. Peace of mind. With a fire suppression system in place, you’ll have true peace of mind, which is an incalculable benefit.
Variables to Consider
There are some additional variables to consider when weighing the costs and benefits of a fire suppression system, such as:
. Fire risks. What are the specific fire hazards and risks at your building? The more dangerous the situation, the more valuable a fire suppression system becomes. For example, commercial kitchens are particularly vulnerable to fires, and therefore have an increased need for fire suppression.
. Area of coverage. How big of an area are you hoping to cover? For small houses and spaces with minimal square footage, fire suppression may be overkill; a simple fire extinguisher may be enough to control flames in the area (and you won’t have as much property to protect).
. Population. How many people live and work in this area? The bigger the population, the more people you’ll have to protect – and the more valuable your fire suppression becomes.
. Other fire mitigation strategies. Are you utilizing other fire mitigation and fire control strategies? If you have strict rules that prevent the outbreak of fire, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and well-trained staff on hand, a fire suppression system may not be as necessary.
The Bottom Line
So what’s the bottom line here? For many homes and businesses, fire suppression is more than worth the money. For a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can install a system capable of completely extinguishing most fires before they have a chance to damage your property or hurt the people in your building. If you live or work in an area with significant fire hazards, fire suppression systems are a no-brainer, and may even be a legal requirement.