The city of Wood Dale has had an ordinance requiring fire sprinklers in new construction single-family homes since May 2012. Now, the city also has its first existing home to be retrofitted with fire sprinklers.
The home is owned by Ed Kadlec, Jr., president of fire protection contractor C.L. Doucette, and his wife, Penny. Built in 1989, the two-story home features four bedrooms and a full finished basement.
“Being in the fire protection industry, I believe in the value of fire sprinklers and their ability to protect lives and property. I wanted to make sure my family would feel safe from fires in our own home,” says Ed Kadlec.
There are certainly challenges to retrofitting fire sprinklers in an existing home versus new construction. A retrofit could cause some disruption to residents’ daily lives due to workers being in the home, while also requiring potential removal of walls and ceilings and paint to be matched after drywall is put back in place. However, many homeowners find ways to simplify fire sprinkler retrofit projects.
In the case of the Kadlecs’ home, the fire sprinkler retrofit was timed to match up with their kitchen remodel, making it easier to install fire sprinkler pipes while the kitchen walls were open. Fire sprinklers and piping on the second floor were routed to interior walls or installed behind soffits to avoid potential freezing issues in the unheated attic space.
After the fire sprinkler system was installed, a fire inspector for the Wood Dale Fire Protection District conducted an inspection of the system and gave his approval.
“Although my wife was very nervous about the thought of having walls and ceiling opened up in every room, when everything was put back together and walls and ceilings were painted, she was very pleased with how the fire sprinklers blended in,” notes Ed Kadlec. “Retrofitting a fire sprinkler system in my home was one of the best things I could do for my family and their safety.”