Better Than a Smoke Detector: An Add-On Sprinkler

how the KLER ejection system work
KLER is designed for residential homes, and does triple duty as a smoke detector, emergency light source, and sprinkler.

Migrated Image / Taewoong Kim & Chul Kim /

In our Big Steps in Building series, I advocated for sprinklers in every housing unit, not just for fire safety, but so that we could also get rid of all those flame retardants that are building up in our bloodstream. Installing sprinklers in new construction is not such a big deal, but it is really expensive to retrofit.

That's why I am intrigued by this idea in Yanko.

KLER extinguisher.jpg
 Migrated Image / Taewoong Kim & Chul Kim /

If it worked, this could be a great alternative for when a wet sprinkler installation is impossible or expensive. But would it work? All the drawings say is that it puts out the fire with "powder." In How Stuff Works, they explain how powder extinguishers work:

The most popular extinguisher material is dry chemical foam or powder, typically made of sodium bicarbonate (normal baking soda), potassium bicarbonate (nearly identical to baking soda), or monoammonium phosphate. Baking soda starts to decompose at only 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius), and when it decomposes, it releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide, along with the insulation of the foam, works to smother the fire.
 Migrated Image / Taewoong Kim & Chul Kim /

Unfortunately, they continue:

Most fire extinguishers contain a fairly small amount of fire-suppressant material -- you can use it all up in a matter of seconds. For this reason, extinguishers are only effective on relatively small, contained fires.

So I have to conclude that as nice as the idea is, putting a fire extinguisher on the ceiling that spread its contents around the room probably won't do much good. Now perhaps if they added directional heat detectors and could aim it...