Fire Pumps are the Heart of the Fire Sprinkler System

Posted on: July 17, 2017

Is yours properly tested and maintained?

If there is one component that could be considered the heart of a building’s fire safety system, it’s the fire pump. This apparatus drives adequate pressure and additional water volume to the fire protection system, including fire sprinklers, the first defense against fire, and they simply won’t work correctly unless enough water is readily available. Properly maintaining and testing the system’s fire pump needs to be a priority for building owners who want to keep occupants and property safe from harm in the event of an emergency.

High buildings are at higher risk from faulty pumps

Taller buildings are especially vulnerable to fire without a fully-functioning fire pump. The water that feeds a sprinkler system needs to travel up tens and sometimes hundreds of feet to reach the upper floors in a matter of seconds.

While city water pressure may be enough to operate sprinklers on smaller structures, a high rise relies on a powerful fire pump. And the equipment demands regular testing, inspection, and essential maintenance to ensure that pressure and flow are adequate to reach the top of the building.

The A-B-Cs of a fire pump inspection

During an inspection, a professional will assess the overall condition of the fire pump to verify that it remains in good operating condition. This checklist includes:

  • Performing a visual inspection of system components in the pump room to make sure that mechanical components haven’t degraded over time
  • Performing a flow test of the pump at rated and peak flow volumes
  • Comparing results of the tests to previous tests and the original design criteria
  • Ensuring that pump components are properly lubricated

A fire pump that is powered by a diesel engine requires regular maintenance and service to its engine on an annual basis or after every 50 hours of service, whichever is less. This includes replacement of the oil, oil filter, air filter, and fuel filter. This engine maintenance is very similar to the service you perform on your car to ensure it has a healthy life span.

Neglecting a fire pump can be expensive

Failure to maintain a fire pump will minimize its useful life; the typical lifespan of the equipment is about 20 years. And replacing a fire pump costs a lot of money, as it’s the single-most expensive component of any fire protection system.

Be sure that your pump and sprinklers are compliant and working

Making certain that your fire pump is operational is essential to the safety of your building’s occupants. Sprinkler systems save countless lives every year, as well as prevent huge financial losses due to fire damage.

If you have questions about your building’s fire pump, sprinklers, or other life safety systems, or need assistance inspecting, maintaining, or retrofitting them, contact LifeSafety Management at (800) 330-1158 or through our online form today.