“How Much Do Fire Alarms Cost?”

“How Much Do Fire Alarms Cost?”

When asking this important question, the first thing to distinguish between is residential and commercial fire alarm systems. Of course, having a fire alarm in your home, and the costs can get a little complicated to calculate depending on the square footage of your home and your home’s needs, but, the costs between a residential and commercial fire alarm system are very different. It’s normal and understandable you would ask “How much do fire alarms cost?” but a better, more specific question to start with is: “What does it cost to protect my property?”

Begin with Property Specifics

One of the key factors that determines the cost of your property’s commercial fire alarm system is the square footage and the subsequent coverage you need. What kinds of fires do you see might break out on your property – would they be gas fires? Kitchen fires? Electrical fires? – and where can you see the highest risk areas.

Begin by fully walking the property and assessing the highest risk areas, and the areas you’re not quite sure about. While there are standard equipment and layouts for most types of businesses, you will want to think ahead if your business has any special considerations.

Installation of commercial fire alarm system

For example, maybe your property has a commercial boiler, or several. Maybe your property has multiple A/C units with advanced wiring. Or maybe your building is a bit older, and you think the wiring could be a higher-risk fire hazard than it might be in a newer building. Even if you’re not sure, it can be good to ask a professional to check into it for you.

Factor in Your Business’ Needs

Will you need multiple people – maybe several different managers – to have access to the fire alarm system? Will anyone besides you have admin privileges? Does your business need 24-hour fire alarm system monitoring? All these factors can affect how much your commercial fire alarm system will cost.

Perhaps your building combines commercial and residential – such as a high-rise with apartments located over ground-level shopping. Or perhaps you own or manage a hotel, resort, or a home you’ve converted into multiple smaller apartments. Whatever the case, you want to make sure that you’re not only meeting all the requirements of the people who come in and out of the building regularly, but that you’re upholding all federal, state, and local laws that pertain to both property types.

Additionally, consider if your business is frequented by customers – or if you have employees – who might need special adaptations to your fire alarm system. Traditionally, fire alarms let out loud noises, but modern systems can also use flashing lights or even wasabi released into the air to alert occupants to a fire.

Conventional Vs. Addressable System

Proper signs for commercial fire protection.
Proper signs for commercial fire protection.

If the fire alarm can be added onto the building’s existing electrical framework – a “conventional” alarm system – this will greatly reduce the cost of installing the fire alarm system. If your system has higher needs than your current electrical wiring can address, and you have to make upgrades to your property to address those needs, the cost of installing your fire alarm system will be higher.

Calculating the Cost

As much as 90% of the cost of getting a new fire alarm system can be the installation. Once you’ve selected the right brand and configuration based on your business’ available resources and needs, factor in that most of the up-front costs will be one-time. You may also choose a company with a reputation for long-term care, and one that includes regular service and replacements of troublesome parts in a warranty or maintenance package.

The ongoing costs of maintaining your commercial fire alarm system should only be about 10% of the total cost. For a nominal monthly or annual fee, the fire alarm company should visit to check and maintain the entire system, and they may also be on call to address when there is an urgent or specific issue. If the equipment gives faulty readings, goes off when it shouldn’t, or otherwise malfunctions, your fire alarm system company should come out to repair it as soon as you call.

When you’re calculating the bottom line of “How much do fire alarms cost?” remember, it’s not the price that comes out of your wallet, but the value and peace of mind you gain from the service.

I've been an expert maintenance plumber in Atlanta, GA for over 25 years. I love to camp, especially with my family. True cigar devotee. Years ago when we took our oldest daughter to Disneyland, we stopped by an exceptional cake shop who owned this domain. She’s now moved on and has her own beautiful family. But now every time I make a new post on this blog I think of her.