Choose the type of fire sprinkler system you want and need. Bear in mind that there are a lot of different factors that determine which sprinkler system will be best for your situation, from the size of the system to its output volume. Choose the rooms where you wish to install the sprinklers and check your local fire protection codes. Also check with your local fire department or the manufacturer of your system to get some advice.
Plan a layout of your sprinkler system, to determine the amount of material you will need. Include enough pipe to circle the perimeter of each room. This will allow you to install multiple sprinklers in a room, to ensure optimal fire protection. You will need to purchase straight threaded pipes, pipe connectors and elbow-joints to attach pipes wherever two walls meet. Always purchase at least 15 percent more pipe than you think you will need, to allow for mistakes and changes in your plan. Allow approximately one sprinkler for every 10 feet of piping.
Locate the place where the house’s water system connects to the city water system. This is usually the basement of the house, so you may have to cut through the subfloor to connect the fire sprinkler system to the water supply. If you do not have a basement, you will have to determine where the water pipes enter the residence underground and dig there. You can use a jackhammer to cut the hole if it is under concrete, or use a shovel if you are digging into earth. You will need to cut one hole, approximately 2 ft. x 2 ft. Shut off the water to the building and use a wrench to remove the pipe-connector. Install a three-way T-connector and screw the pipes into it using a wrench.
Run the fire sprinkler pipes from the main water supply to the rooms in the house. Following your plan, run the pipes through the walls and above the ceilings. Drill holes in the wall the same diameter as the pipes. Drill holes where the sprinkler heads will attach to the piping.
Cut walls and ceilings, if necessary, while you work your way through the house and lay the piping assembly according to the plan. Use a drywall saw and a power drill for the cutting. Use elbow fittings and straight pipes and tighten them very firmly at every connection. Remember that as with any other plumbing system, a fire sprinkler system needs to be absolutely watertight.
Install a steel nipple at the ends of all pipes that go through the ceiling. These will be the locations of the fire sprinkler heads. Apply pipe sealant at the end of each pipe and then attach a cap or a cage, according to your particular fire sprinkler model.
Insulate all the fire sprinkler pipes as you install them. Use a quality, thick insulation and make sure to secure it in its place with wire or mesh. The pipes must be protected from cold temperatures and damage for the system to function properly.
Test the entire system for leaks before closing the walls and ceilings. You can do this by turning the water supply back on. Look for droplets of water on the exposed parts of the pipes. If there are any leaks, repair them with a water sealant.
Repair the holes that you created in the walls by sealing them with spackle. Repaint the parts of the walls where the holes were, using paint the same color as the walls. Apply two coats of paint, allowing each one to dry before applying the next.