Fire Pump Systems

A fire pump is usually a part of a large building fire sprinkler system and is connected to the fire protection water supply at the intake and to the buildings sprinkler system risers at the discharge. A fire pump is listed specifically for fire service by a listing agency such as UL or FM Global. The main code that governs fire pump installations is the most recent edition of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) NFPA 20 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Fire Pumps for Fire Protection.

Fire Pumps may be powered either by an electrical motor or a diesel engine. If the local building code requires power independent of the local electric power grid, a pump using an electric motor may require the installation of an emergency generator.

The fire pump becomes active when the pressure in the fire sprinkler system drops below a threshold. The sprinkler system pressure drops significantly when one or more sprinkler heads are exposed to heat above their design temperature. The sprinkler head releases and water discharges. The discharge of water triggers a water flow alarm inside the sprinkler system pipes, which is monitored by a central station and which the Fire Department responds to. The fire pump provides additional water pressure to the sprinkler system.

Fire pumps are required for when the local municipal water system cannot provide a sufficiently high pressure to meet the pressure requirements of the fire sprinkler system. This usually occurs if the building is very tall, such as in high-rise buildings, and in systems which require a relatively high terminal pressure in order to flow a large volume of water from the sprinklers, such as in storage warehouses. Fire pumps are also needed if fire protection water supply is provided from a ground level water storage tank.

Types of pumps used for fire service include: horizontal split case, vertical split case, vertical inline, vertical turbine, and end suction.

At each inspection we will conduct a system churn test and a full flow test, weather permitting. Record all operating pressures, waterflow volume, amps and RPM readings; compare to Manufacturer's specifications and report this data in chart-graph format. Check Jockey Pumps. Test and record performance of electric or engine controller units for proper timing and event sequences. Lubricate all bearing assemblies, check packing and make minor adjustments, as necessary. Visually inspect all sprinkler related water feed systems, domestic or tank units for any leaks. Furnish all test equipment, hoses and hose monsters as necessary to conduct the tests. Prepare and forward directly to Owner and Local Fire Official, a comprehensive report of system condition.

Owners Tip - If suction pressure drops below 20 PSI, the Fire Pump test will be terminated until the source of the problem is corrected. It is the Owner's responsibility to furnish a safe area for discharging outflow of water.

Inspection Frequency: quarterly

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