Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Annual Fire Pump Testing

Your fire pump is a crucial part of the effectiveness of a fire sprinkler system. The fire pump is connected to the public water supply, generating the flow of water into your fire sprinkler system when you need it most. To ensure that they’re ready to perform and help suppress flames during a fire-related emergency, it’s vital that they are annually tested, inspected, and maintained.

Whether your fire pump is powered by diesel or electricity, there are a couple of important tips and tricks that will help ensure your annual test is a success.

Diesel Powered Fire Pump Testing

If your sprinkler system runs with a diesel powered fire pump, it’s important that your fire pump is tested annually to keep it running smooth and ensure it’s using its fuel correctly and efficiently. As the diesel itself degrades over time, you should make sure that the diesel fuel is fresh every two years - or better yet, replace it when you do your annual testing. It’s best to hire a professional fire protection service to make sure these areas are covered during your annual test and inspection:

  • Ensure the strainers in the water cooling loop are kept clean. Once your diesel pump has been run, inspect the strainer in the cooling loop to ensure that it is clean and water can flow through efficiently.
  • Double-check the batteries to make sure they are working.
  • Ventilation of the diesel powered pump room is vital, so ensure that the exhaust is able to evacuate through your ventilation completely.
  • Make sure that there is some sort of signal on your monitoring point that is on when the fire pump is running, as someone should be notified as soon as it begins to run.

Electric Powered Fire Pumps

When testing your electric powered fire pump annually, ensure that the fire inspection professional is testing the following:

  • Ensure that the fire pump starts automatically. They’ll be able to tell by making sure the pressure switch or transducer is working upon starting the fire pump.
  • Check the drip from the packing boxes. There should be a slight water flow, but not a large splash of water. It’s important that the packing leakage is not completely stopped, as this will dry out the packing.
  • Check the packing drip drains are not clogged with debris or other sediment.
  • The casing relief valve, or circulation relief valve, should have enough water flowing through to keep the casing from overheating.

Stay Safe During Testing

During these tests, whether you have a diesel or electrically powered fire pump, it’s vital that you or the professional inspector is using gauges and testing devices that are not directly connected to the fire pump, as the data collected from the gauges on the fire pump cannot be trusted to give a correct reading if they’ve malfunctioned.

Because flowing water can be of high force, it’s important that the flow test is controlled and directed properly. Discharged water hoses should be anchored correctly, such as to  other pipes. When your fire pump is annually inspected by a trained fire safety contractor, you can rest assured that your building's sprinkler system will be ready to react during any fire emergency.

For more information on having your fire pump annually tested, you can trust the fire safety equipment professionals at Bison Fire Protection. Contact us for your fire protection solutions and services in Winnipeg, Thompson, Kenora, Brandon, Regina, and Saskatoon today.

Posted by Rob Read at 11:08 AM


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