A fire pump is an essential component in a city’s fire safety system because it is used when a facility’s water supply is unable to provide enough pressure to meet the hydraulic design requirements of the fire protection system. This is commonly the case in high rise buildings and large storage warehouses.
The fire pump is powered either by electric or diesel fuel and uses water from an external water source to increase the water’s pressure, so it can reach wherever necessary to extinguish the flames. To ensure these pumps are always ready and working, they need to be tested on a regular basis.
According to NFPA 25, fire pumps are required to be tested on both a monthly and annual basis to ensure that they will perform as designed.
Difference Between Monthly and Annual Fire Pump Testing Requirements
The monthly fire pump test is what is known as a “churn” test. The FDNY requires electric powered pumps to be tested as follows:
- The pump should be run for a minimum of 10 minutes
- The pump starting pressure is recorded
- The system suction and discharge pressure gauge readings are recorded
- The pump packing glands are checked for signs of discharge
- Glands nuts are adjusted; if necessary
- System is checked for unusual noises or vibrations
- Packing boxes, bearings or pump casings are checked for overheating
- Final results are interpreted
The annual fire pump test is called a “flow” test and it is designed to measure the pump’s flow and pressure. This test is performed by attaching hoses to the discharge test header. The hoses are then run to a safe location where the discharge of water will cause no damage.
As the pump is run through its various stages, pressure readings are recorded. The test results are then compared to the pump manufacturer’s specifications and the test results from previous years. If there is a significant reduction in the pump’s performance, the technician will conduct a further examination to determine the cause and the necessary repairs.
Stay Compliant – Get Your Fire Protection System Inspected Today
Your fire pump system needs to work when it is called on. To ensure that happens, it needs to be properly inspected and tested according to the latest NFPA fire pump testing requirements. Contact Metro Fire Inspections today to schedule your next inspection. We’re a full-service fire sprinkler systems company with licensure in New York City, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, and our fire protection experts can help ensure your facility is safe and compliant with all current fire codes.