A fire pump is a vital piece of equipment that is designed to activate and provide water for a variety of fire protection systems like automatic sprinklers, standpipes and foam systems. The fire pump is needed when the hydraulic pressure of a building’s available water supply cannot generate enough force to overcome gravity and meet the system demand.
Fire pumps have the capacity to pump large volumes of water in a short period of time, and they are capable of producing very high water pressures. Because they are built to work so fast and at such a high level of pressure, they are also subject to extremely high levels of wear and tear over the course of their lifespans. Because of this, they must be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that they are ready for use in the event of a fire.
When selecting the right fire pump for a building, the fire safety engineer will consider both the rate-of-flow and the water pressure requirements of the system in which it will be installed. The engineer will then select the proper pump from a wide variety of options.
Electric motor-drive fire pumps are the most common type of fire pump. They are cost-effective and easy to operate as the electrical motor only takes up the power required to spin a shaft connected to the impeller. Diesel engine fire pumps are another popular option as they are very reliable and have long lifespans. They have a high maximum rated pressure and come in a range of sizes. Steam turbine fire pumps are more expensive and rarely used as they require a dedicated unit to generate the steam needed to drive them.
All fire pumps must be properly sized for the application they are being used in. This includes ensuring that the motor, driver, and pump are all sized to meet the NFPA 20 standard. The driver must also be sized to meet the required horsepower demands of the fire pump and to be capable of flowing over 150% of its maximum duty point for the entire life cycle of the pump.
IIoT remote monitoring solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent in the fire pump industry, allowing for more proactive maintenance and providing an extra layer of safety. These solutions can help to identify issues like component failures and low water pressures that could compromise the pump’s ability to function correctly when it is called upon in the event of a fire.
Regular fire pump testing ensures that the system will activate as it is supposed to when necessary, providing peace of mind to the building owners and occupants. In addition to this, it allows for the fire safety professional to detect any problems with the system and repair them before a disaster occurs. LVC offers a comprehensive Total Compliance Management program that organizes and coordinates inspections and maintenance for multiple fire and life safety systems including fire pumps. Contact us today to learn more.