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When to use and avoid automatic water shut-off systems

PARK CITY, Utah — Water can cause damage to the foundation of a home, the drywall and your property. Automatic water shut-off systems protect property from water damage by detecting slow leaks or the sudden bursting of an appliance containing water. However, they can also trigger when the sprinkler system is trying to protect your home from fire.

What to know before you install an automatic water shut-off system

“Water shut-off systems are great and serve a very important purpose,” said Mike Owens, fire marshal for the Park City Fire District. You need to consider your particular property before you install such a system though.

Owens cautioned, “If people install them anywhere where it will affect their fire sprinkler system, which is designed to put out 26-27 gallons per minute in most instances, that is enough to activate the automatic water shut-off system to turn the sprinkler system off. Fire sprinkler systems are meant to give people 10 minutes to get out of the house and prevent flash-over. If the fire sprinkler system were capable of preventing the fire, a water shut-off system could cancel that as well.”

Three things to help make your decision

Owens summarized it like this:

  1. “If you don’t have a sprinkler system in your house, have at it.” You can install a water shut-off system, if you want to.
  2. “If you do have a fire sprinkler system, a water shut-off can be installed on the culinary side of the water line.”
  3. “If there are any questions, call Mike Owens at 435-940-2520.”

Fire sprinklers are required by state law or as part of residential development agreements

In the Park City Fire District, there are different scenarios for fire sprinkler requirements. For example, Promontory, Glenwild and the Colonies require fire sprinklers. In Silver Creek, it depends on the proximity of fire hydrants, whether the residence is required to have a fire sprinkler system.

Silver Springs does not require fire sprinkler systems at all. It was not part of the development agreement, because the neighborhood was designed to limit the risk of the spread of fire, for example with great access and close proximity to fire stations.

Fire sprinkler systems have saved lives in the Park City Fire District.

How does a water leak detector work?

An automatic water shutoff valve device detects potential water leaks by either monitoring flows in the pipe or by detecting water on the floor. When flow is irregular or moisture is detected, the valve will automatically shut off the water supply to your home. This may help prevent a significant amount of damage that water leaks can cause.

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