Fire Pump Testing Requirements

 In Fire Safety, Fire Sprinklers, Fire Suppression, News

Fire pump testing is required monthly and yearly according to NFPA 25.  It is important to make sure your fire protection system is up to code and working properly.   

What is a Fire Pump? 

A fire pump is a part of a fire sprinkler system’s water supply and powered by electric, diesel or steam.  It uses water from an external water source to increase the water flow and pressure.  The pump intake is either connected to the public underground water supply piping, or a static water source. The pump provides water flow at a higher pressure to the sprinkler system risers and hose standpipes.  Fire pumps must be tested on both a monthly and annual basis to ensure that they will perform as designed.  These two different tests are referred to as a monthly “churn” test and an annual flow test. 

Monthly “Churn” Test 

This test is conducted by running the fire pump without water flowing. The monthly churn test requires electric powered pumps to be tested as follows: 

  • Run pump for a minimum of 10 minutes. 
  • Record the system suction & discharge pressure gauge readings. 
  • Check the pump packing glands for slight discharge. 
  • Adjust glands nuts; if necessary. 
  • Check for unusual noise or vibration. 
  • Check packing boxes, bearings or pump casing for overheating. 
  • Record the pump starting pressure. 
  • Interpret results. 

Annual Flow Test 

The fire pump flow test must be conducted once a year in order to measure the pump’s flow and pressure. The test is performed by attaching hoses to the discharge test header. The hoses are run to a safe location where the flow of high-pressure water will not cause any damage. During a flow test, pressure readings are taken as the pump is run through various stages, plotted on hydraulic graph paper, and compared to factory specifications and test results from previous years.  If there is a significant reduction in the pump’s performance, further examination is needed to make the necessary repairs. 

Fire pumps must be tested on a monthly and yearly basis to ensure that the pump will operate as needed to protect the property and people in the event of a fire.  Call Fire Control Systems today to schedule your next fire pump test. 

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