When given a choice, homeowners are not likely to install sprinklers.
In August 2006, NAHB commissioned a survey of 800 likely voters to determine some of their opinions regarding residential fire sprinklers. The purpose of the survey was to provide an additional tool in local home building associations' campaigns against mandated sprinklers in single-family homes.
This survey offers hard data to back up what NAHB members have been hearing for years: Consumers do not want to pay for sprinklers when they are offered as an option and they overwhelmingly oppose mandates requiring them.
Sprinkler advocates point to consumer demand as an important reason to mandate residential fire sprinklers. Unfortunately, that demand does not really exist. When asked if fire sprinklers should be required in new homes, an overwhelming 89 percent said that smoke detectors already do an adequate job of protecting them in their homes and 28 percent do not want sprinklers at all, even if they were provided free of charge.
Sprinkler costs vary depending on the climate, whether the house is on a public water line, and of course by the size and layout of the house. A conservative cost of $2 per square foot for the average 2,400-square-foot house means that a residential fire sprinkler system would cost $4,800. Survey results show that only 15 percent of consumers in the sample would be willing to pay that much.