Who Should I Hire to Install Fire Sprinklers?

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated December 15, 2021
A close up of a fire sprinklers
Photo: arcyto / Adobe Stock

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We tend to think of plumbers when it comes to installing new sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. But for some reason—even though it's a water- and plumbing-related job—we don't automatically think of hiring a local plumber to install new fire sprinklers.

More often than not though, a plumber with fire sprinkler installation experience is your best bet for tackling this job in both residential and commercial buildings. In many states, new sprinklers are required when a new commercial property is being built.

Benefits of Hiring a Plumber to Install Fire Sprinklers

Outsourcing your fire sprinkler project to an experienced plumber comes with the following benefits: 

  • Ensures your job meets fire codes and ordinances 

  • Can be installed for an affordable price (about $0.50 to $4 per square foot, or at least $1,250 for a 2,500 square foot home, according to HomeAdvisor)

  • Better protects your home and assets from fires

  • Can tackle other sprinkler projects (like lawn irrigation sprinklers) simultaneously

  • Some fire sprinkler contracts come with maintenance plans or discounts for future service

Can I DIY Fire Sprinklers?

You can, but it's not the easiest project, and only homeowners with experience installing new plumbing should tackle this job. DIY fire sprinkler installation could be dangerous if you're drilling holes in the wall or floor or working with electrical components.

Fire sprinklers are a pivotal component of fire safety in a residential or commercial building, which is why each state has its own fire code and ordinances for installation of new sprinklers. DIY installation that isn't done properly may lead to your work being turned down during inspection, or you could incur fines. A building permit from your town or city may be required.

Fortunately, increased mandates at the state level have helped make fire sprinkler installation more affordable than it used to be. In some states, you may pay less than $1 per square foot.

Can I Hire a Handyperson for Fire Sprinkler Installation?

The same logic applies here as tackling the job yourself. You certainly can hire a handyperson to install fire sprinklers, especially if you can find someone in your area that's up to snuff on local ordinances and fire codes. However, it’s better to hire someone with experience, even if it costs a little more on the front end.

After installation, though, you may be able to hire a handyman to test valves, water pressure, and flush the pipes every six to twelve months to save money while keeping your building safe.

How Do Plumbers Install Fire Sprinklers?

How a professional local plumber installs fire sprinklers depends on the project. For example, in an older building, the plumber may need to fit additional pipes into existing plumbing before attaching sprinkler heads. Whereas in a new commercial property, it may be as simple as hooking up the sprinkler system to the water main.

Generally speaking, the process involves the following steps in a residential home:

  1. Checking the water pressure in the home, then turning the water off

  2. Installing the home sprinkler system in the basement (if there's no basement you may need to install it outside and cover it)

  3. Running pipes from the basement through the walls upstairs

  4. Installing sprinkler heads

  5. Concealing pipes in walls by patching drywall (if necessary)

  6. Testing the system

Supplies needed for this project include CPVC piping, screws, and insulation for your pipes if you live in a cold weather area. Tools required include a power drill and drill bits, utility knife, stud finder, and hacksaw. 

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