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Why PEX-based multipurpose residential sprinkler systems outperform standalone CPVC designs
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As states consider passing the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC), which will require the installation of sprinkler systems in new homes built after January 1, 2011, builders and installers are stepping up their search for the most cost-effective fire suppression systems. and efficient. protection solution.
Many are turning to today's most affordable and reliable lifesaving technology: PEX-based multipurpose sprinkler systems. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is already a mainstay in new home construction, being used in nearly three times as many homes as rigid CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride).
Unlike self-contained sprinkler systems designed for commercial use that rely on rigid CPVC or metal pipe, PEX-based multipurpose systems combine the chilled water lines and sprinklers into a single, efficient system. As a result, a redundant piping system is eliminated, reducing material, labor and site planning costs, saving 35 to 65 percent in installation time over rigid, free-standing CPVC systems.1
In fact, installation costs for new multipurpose sprinkler systems average $0.57 per square foot less than traditional stand-alone systems.2That's a savings of $1,368 for a 2,400-square-foot home.
“The multifunctional systems are specifically designed to meet the needs of residential construction and the family lifestyle,” said Jayson Drake, Senior Product Manager, Plumbing and Fire Safety, Uponor North America. "Unfortunately, many installers cling to outdated commercial methods and miss out on the efficiency that home multifunction devices provide."
Studies show that PEX-based multipurpose sprinkler systems have "the lowest installation costs and the lowest ongoing maintenance."3for the owner of the house. However, lower cost is just one of the many factors behind the popularity of PEX-based general purpose flexible systems.
What is perhaps the biggest advantage of all for builders is that a multipurpose system only requires one subcontractor to do the work – usually the plumber who is already on site. This seasoned professional, usually a home construction veteran, is the one who combines the plumbing and sprinkler system into a single piping solution.
"Our existing plumber was able to install both systems at the same time, eliminating the need and expense of a separate sprinkler contractor," said Emil Wanatka, president of Durango, Colorado-based Timberline Builders, which specializes in residential development. “Anytime you can eliminate a trade, it helps the bottom line. There are always conflicts over planning, training contractors for your floor plans, and overall site harmony. In our case, when it comes to surrogates, less is definitely more.”
The reasons why PEX pipes outperform CPVC pipes are in the materials themselves:
In addition to the installation flexibility, watertight connections, and cost savings that homeowners and contractors enjoy from multi-purpose sprinkler systems, many law enforcement agencies and homeowners prefer multi-purpose designs for their reliability.
"For now, and pending further action from the NFPA consensus standards committees, NFPA sprinkler standards prohibit the use of antifreeze in new residential sprinkler systems."
Another important difference between multipurpose and traditional self-contained sprinkler systems is that the latter require a separate disconnector, check valve and/or water meter.
Independent sprinkler systems keep toxic stagnant water out of the potable water system with check valves or backflow prevention devices, making these installations more expensive and labor intensive. To avoid contaminating a home's potable water supply, some communities (Tacoma, Washington) prefer multipurpose designs, while others (Nolensville, Tennessee) require them and do not allow stand-alone systems.
Many states, concerned about the return of contaminated water to domestic plumbing, require a set of dual check valves (DC) or reduced pressure backflow preventer (RP) valves. In addition to the costs of purchasing these additional components, they must also be regularly inspected and maintained. Likewise, the strength of any antifreeze mixture in an autonomous system requires annual checking, as antifreeze degrades over time and needs to be replaced.
In contrast, multipurpose sprinkler systems contain only potable water and therefore require fewer auxiliary devices for maintenance, inspection or breakdown. An all-in-one system is as good as it is maintenance free, except for regular visual inspections.
First used in waterworks in the 1970's, PEX piping systems quickly gained popularity due to their ease of installation and durability, allowing contractors and builders to meet tight deadlines and even tighter budgets. In recent years, PEX has proven to be a highly effective alternative to CPVC pipe in residential sprinkler systems.
For the past 15 years, PEX-based general purpose sprinkler systems have been listed in NFPA 13D, the sprinkler industry standard for installing single-family and two-family residential sprinklers. The International Residential Code (IRC) lists multipurpose residential fire protection systems in Section P2904 and recognizes compliance with NFPA 13D.
PEX-based plumbing systems have a 40-year track record of success in millions of installations in homes and businesses worldwide. One of the most tested plumbing materials on the market today, PEX has proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective material for home plumbing and sprinkler systems.
Multipurpose sprinkler systems: benefits at a glance
Contractor from a single source.A multi-purpose system only requires one subcontractor to do the work – usually the plumber who is already on site – eliminating the hassle and expense of a separate sprinkler contractor.
Watertight connections.PEX's unique shape memory allows installers to create tight, leak-proof connections without the possibility of uncemented, dry-installed connections. Additionally, the flexibility of PEX tubing reduces the number of connections and potential leak points by 50%.
Reliable performance.One of the main benefits of these interconnected multifunctional systems is reliability – homeowners cannot accidentally turn off their home's fire protection. In fact, homeowners know that water is available to their sprinklers every time they use a faucet or flush the toilet.
cost benefit.Because multifunctional systems eliminate a redundant piping system, builders reduce material and labor costs and site planning effort. These flexible systems can reduce installation time by up to 65% over standalone CPVC systems.
Low maintenance.An all-in-one system is as good as maintenance-free. In a stand-alone CPVC system, the check valve or check valve needs professional and regular maintenance, as does the antifreeze resistance. Studies show that PEX-based multipurpose sprinkler systems “have the lowest installation costs and lowest ongoing maintenance requirements for the homeowner.3
Specially designed for the living room.Unlike stand-alone sprinkler systems designed for commercial use and based on rigid CPVC or metal piping, multi-purpose fire protection systems are specifically designed to meet the needs of residential construction and a family's lifestyle.
1US-Handelsministerium and National Institute of Standards and Technology, NISTIR 7277http://www.fire.gov/newsletter/fall2006/EconAnalResidSprink.pdf
2Setembro de 2008 Research Foundation Fire Protection,http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/Research/FireSprinklerCostAssessment.pdf, p. eleven
3“Comparison of Service Options for Residential Sprinkler Systems,” Washington Water Utilities Council, October 2008, p. 16. A similar 2007 study entitled "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Residential Sprinkler Systems" by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that PEX-based general purpose sprinkler systems had the lowest service life. NISTIR 7451.http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build07/PDF/b07025.pdf
4PEX-a pipe is the preferred manufacturing process for making cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipe as it produces the highest percentage of molecular bonding.
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