Standards Matter
January 14, 2022

Helping to Reduce the Impact of Fires With Standards for Residential Sprinkler Systems

Why It Matters

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), automatic extinguishing systems (AES) have proven to significantly reduce the impact of fires in residential structures. When these sprinkler systems are present, they reduce the rate of civilian fire deaths by 89% and help prevent the spread of fire beyond the room of origin by 95%.1  Watch the video above from our colleagues at UL's Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) to see a demonstration of the fire dynamics in similar rooms with and without fire sprinklers.

In order to help ensure consistent, reliable sprinkler operation in the event of an emergency, UL 199, the Standard for Residential Sprinklers for Fire-Protection Service, details requirements for testing to evaluate the construction and performance of sprinkler components. 

What We’re Doing

Requirements in UL 199 specify that residential sprinklers must be able to withstand specific amounts of hydrostatic pressure without leaking, and that they must also be able to open as intended and release water at a consistent pressure and distribution area. Leakage tests, hydrostatic strength tests, water distribution tests, and fire tests are detailed in the Standard to help evaluate each sprinkler system.

During a fire test, the sprinkler system is installed in a test room constructed with common residential building materials and furnished with wood and foam-cushioned furniture. In order to comply with UL 199, each sprinkler system must limit temperatures as follows:

  • The maximum temperature 75 mm below the ceiling shall not exceed 316°C (600.8°F)
  • The maximum temperature 1.6 m above the floor shall not exceed 93°C (199.4°F)
  • The maximum temperature 1.6 m above the floor shall not exceed 54°C (129.2°F) for more than any continuous 2-minute period
  • The maximum ceiling material temperature 6.4 mm behind the finished ceiling surface shall not exceed 260°C (500°F)

How You Can Help

Our Standards are developed through a consensus-based process, which integrates scientific and testing expertise with input from our Technical Committee (TC) members and stakeholders. TC members represent a variety of interests, including industry, academia, government, retail, and manufacturing. If you are involved in the design, manufacture, sale, installation, or inspection of residential sprinklers for fire-protection service, and you would like to help improve safety in your industry, please take a moment to learn how you can get involved.