1. #1
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    Default Residential sprinklers and wells

    I need assistance in locating info concerning installation of residential sprinklers with well source for water.

    Installation of sprinkler system, with its associated water demand, can easily overwhelm the supply from many private residential wells. Solution might be larger pump, large storage pressure tank, storage tank with pressure pump, gas cylinder powered foam/water storage tank, or?

    I'm looking for case study or research info concerning any of these or other "outside of the box" solutions to srinkler installations in rural areas (no public water supply).
    Last edited by neiowa; 09-28-2004 at 01:44 PM.

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    Default Question?

    What type of residential property are you concerned with? Multiple or single family?

    Duration is either 20 minutes or I believe 10 minutes depending on the occupancy. Single family using NFPA 13D is 10. Multiple up to 3 floors with certain construction criteria I believe is 20 according to NFPA 13R.

    Both of these durations can be maintained with a tank and pump arrangement some being sold as total units.

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    Try giving a residential rie sprinkler installation service a ring. They have probably dealt with this out in more rural areas of the countryside.

    Try:

    http://homefiresprinkler.org/hfsc.html
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    Prince Georges County Maryland requires sprinklers (Since 1992) in all new construction, and in rehab/remodel work beyond a certain percentage of the total value of the structure. Contrary to popular belief PG has rural areas that have no municipal water supply. Contractors install tanks of a certain size, based on a square foot formula, to provide water to X number of heads for X number of minutes at X Pressure. Several other Maryland Counties have, or are working on, residential sprinkler requirements. I expect to live to see Maryland become the first State to require residential sprinklers Statewide.
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    If you can wait until tomorrow, I can run through the 13D and 13R codes at work. I bid and design sprinkler systems for a living (if you can call it that), and as much as I'd like to think I have everything stored away in my head, the rules around 13D and 13R are pretty unfamilar to me. We bid so little in the residential field, and almost nothing in the single family realm, that I don't use it enough to know it cold. I do know that the remote area calculated in 13D is awfully small, so the demand shouldn't be so out of hand to need an enormous tank and pump.

    Unfortunately, there is so little of a push to require single family installations here, that we only do some small developments that have homes with access issues, hence AHJ requirements to sprinkler the homes. And being a commerical sprinkler installer with crews paid to that union scale, we tend to not be competitve with the crews that are paid to the residential scale, which is different.

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    One option might be to go with a high pressure/low volume water mist system. It uses a bank of bottles under pressure or a small pump that;s simular to a pressure washer and provides a micro mist to "fog" the fire. These systems are rapidly replacing fast acting halon systems aboard ships and have tremendous potential in residential application. Drklmb and I had a thread going a while back about the subject but it appears FH is deleting older threads and Drk is gone from this forum now , but hopefully someone else remebers.




    Here's a link to a video of the system being tested on a navy ship. The fire is a high pressure fuel line rupture.
    http://chemistry.nrl.navy.mil/6180/6...s/JOHNFARL.MOV
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    I'm looking for single family house system info. (NFPA 13D)

    npfd801 and fire304 anything along those lines would be helpful.

    fire304 I think I remember the thread you mentioned but search was not coming up with anything.

    My project is to reduce ISO water req. in rural areas (and life safety/property preservation). Sprinklers in city obviously a great thing. In rural area we have an additional problem in that very low density of homes, set back from roads, little road traffic (particularily at night), daytime houses are empty. So fires are not detected as early as may be in a city. ANYONE THAT HAS STATS TO "PROVE" THIS SEND THEM MY WAY. So the fire may be self venting before anyone calls in the alarm. Vol. dept then has to respond and from a considerable distance. Now needs LOTS of water which we don't have/can't transport. Solution is early detection/alarm and early suppression (sprinklers).

    I'm finding that req. is 13gpm for 10 min for single head ___gpm for 2 heads. So mnimum of 130-200 gal water needed. This is several times the size of the typical rural home of pressure tank. Big tanks relatively expensive if need to upgrade. Big pumps even more expensive. So looking for other alternatives that have be successfully used. Perhaps piping/controls that start the pump and pressure tank discharge simultaneously would provide flow and volume required. Other proven concepts solicited.
    Last edited by neiowa; 09-29-2004 at 12:02 PM.

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    My recollection is 250 gallons in 10 minutes, by tank, pump, or combination (2 heads x 13 gpm x 10 minutes basically). That's a *big* residential tank (our firehouse used to run on a 80 gallon tank before it went on public water).

    I don't have the FSRS at my office...does ISO give you credit for residential sprinklers? I know there's the default formula for a normal size home on a normal lot being 250gpm x 2 hours for the water flow instead of being "calculated" using their s.f. formulas. IIRC, even with sprinklers on commercial buildings you're still held to some minimum flow like 250 or 500gpm x 2 hours.
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    Originally posted by neiowa
    fire304 I think I remember the thread you mentioned but search was not coming up with anything.
    Yeah, I did a search of my name and nothing came up before 2003, Ive been posting since 2002, so I suspect the old threads have been deleted.

    Part of the beauty of water mist systems is that they require a fraction of the water traditional systems use. This means much smaller plumbing so retrofitting is easier (can snake flexible PEX through walls) and much smaller water systems. Low flow means much less water damage in the event of accidental activation.

    One of the biggest reasons not to install sprinklers is the high volume service to city water required and the ridiculous fees the water works demand for such a service.

    The down side of the low flow is that it does not fit the definition of a sprinkler. As a result you get no credit for them unless you can convince your insurance underwriter to allow the system. Drkblram had told us about a church with a nitrogen driven system, I imagine to get that installed the church had to get the nod from a lot of people. There were several bottles of water which were pressurized by a single bottle of nitrogen and expelled through the sprinkler heads. Simular systems are being used to replace halogen systems on ships.

    NFPA 750 is titled "Water Mist Sprinklers" and is a new title from 2003 anyone got that? Curious if there is much in there.
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    I apologize for the delay in my reply, but I wanted to make sure I understood the codes before I posted anything.

    I spoke to our chief engineer today about 13D and the requirement for calcs. Basically, you need to flow two heads for 30 minutes, minimum. You're looking at nearly 15 gallons/minute per head. 30 gallons x 30 minutes is 900 gallons. 13D refers to plain old 13 for calcs, which shows calcluating demand for light hazard for 30-60 minutes... There is no specific exception for time for 13D or R 13D also does not require an outside hose allowance, which helps.

    Now the tricky part is you need not have a 900 gallon tank. You need to have a big enough tank to compensate for whatever flow the pump from your well can provide. If your well can provide 500 gallons in 30 minutes, then you only need to compensate for the 400 gallon difference.

    Confusing? Sorry. This is how my company would approach this design the way we interpret the codes. Other jurisdictions may allow something different, but by my understanding, they wouldn't be following NFPA's code 100%.

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    I do not believe ISO will recognize a NFPA 13D system as it is intended for life safety, not property protection.

    The 1996, 1999, and 2992 editions of NFPA 13D all require a 7 minute water supply for houses less than 2,000 sq.ft. AND one story in height. Larger houses require a 10 minute supply.

    Two sprinklers must be calculated (and in some cases 3), The flow rate per sprinkler is based on its UL listing and the area of coverage of the sprinkler. For example, one particular Tyco sprinkler requires 13 gpm per sprinkler if it covers a 14 ft X 14 ft area (26 gpm). The same sprinkler requires 18 gpm per sprinkler for 3 sprinklers if it covers an 18 ft X 18 ft area and is installed on a sloped ceiling (54 gpm). These are the extremes for this sprinkler. There are many many other residential sprinklers having their own specific design criteria.

    Neiowa, you are correct that a well pump (submersible pump) will not likely handle the flow/pressure requirements of a residential fire sprinkler system, particularly if it is an existing well/pump. The submersible pump will have to supply a tank (sized for the fire sprinkler system demand) which in turn will supply a pump (capable of supplying the residential fire sprinkler system) which will supply a smaller tank (which will act as a pressure buffer) and then on to the sprinkler system. The chances that a well pump will be able to supply a portion of the tank capacity, as npfd801 suggest, is between slim and none unless the submersible pump is replaced with a larger pump. Since a larger pump may require a larger well casing, it won’t happen. There are numerous pump/tank arrangements, this is just one.

    Also, consider the well recovery time. If the well runs dry after 5 minutes, you lose. Consider the domestic demand. If there is a substantial domestic demand on the pump/tank (i.e., irrigation), this demand must be included.

    Neiowa, I understand your desire to limit costs, but remember that the same tanks and pumps that supply the fire sprinkler system can be used to supply the domestic system. Where there is a water treatment system for the domestic system (i.e., water softener or a purification system) make certain the sprinkler system is supplied ahead of the water treatment system. It may be necessary to use a filter if the well water is “dirty”. Also. The fire sprinkler system is based on a two sprinkler design - this does not leave much of a safety factor. Don’t skimp on life safety. If you lose one life or one house (even though the 13D system is not designed for property protection), you will lose the whole residential fire sprinkler system concept. The old adage “Penny wise, pound foolish” comes to mind.

    Te activation of the pump is typically by a pressure switch which is set to activate at a specified pressure (based on the hydraulic calculations of the system).

    Neiowa, you state you are looking for statistics. These are difficult to find. NFPA may have something. Certainly, follow the website DaSharkie provided. USFA may also have something. Consider that not all residential sprinkler activations are included in the statistics NFPA and USFA collect. NFPA has a video on the effectivenes of residential sprinklers and NIST (www.bfrl.nist,gov) has a video also (it is probably a freebie). Also, try the IAFC website. They have been very active in promoting residential sprinkles.

    I also believe a water mist system has a lot of merit. Check with the Marrioff Corporation to see if they have developed a residential system. Fire304 did a good job explaining this one.

    There is a lot more to this, but this should get you started.

    Good Luck.

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    Cost factor is very significant as is the result. Hign cost/a new idea means that residential sprinklers are unknown in rural areas. I think even more critical in rural that in cities. In my district we may show up to the fire (once someone notices it) in 10 minutes. We put on the 4700gal we carry and then tanker shuttle starts (lucky if we do 250gpm with the 1500gal baby tankers in our area).

    Getting too cheap vs result is same arguement good vs perfect. Do you run a converted milk tanker truck (not NFPA baffled) or do you have no tanker (thus no water). No sprinklers now so anything an improvement?

    I applied for demonstration project under FEMA Fire Prevention grant. I wouldn't bet a penny on our chances but I think RURAL Residential Sprinklers is an important and unexamined issue. Farmhouse fires are statistically rare but when they occur not detected early and fire dept response times are long, then water supply is substandard.

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