The Importance of Fire Pump Testing

What is a Fire Pump?

Some fire protection sprinkler systems include a fire pump. The fire pump is used to increase the pressure when the water supply will not adequately support the hydraulic design for the fire protection system. To ensure the fire pump is performing as it was designed, fire pump testing is required by NFPA-25 and also by insurance companies and the State/ Local Fire Marshal. 

Fire Pump Testing

NFPA-25 does require Monthly and Annual testing. The Annual Fire Pump Flow Test is conducted one time per year to measure the pump’s pressure and flow.  The test results are compared to results from previous years and factory specifications. The Monthly ‘Churn’ Test is performed by running the fire pump without water flowing.  Per NFPA-25, 2011 Edition, electric fire pumps are tested monthly, as noted below:

  • 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

NFPA has also performed case studies on Fire Pump Testing, and the studies have revealed the need to test fire pumps as often as weekly, depending on some specifics of the fire pump type and its components.  Many fire pumps fall into the category of being required to be tested on a weekly basis.  In these situations, NFPA allows “No Flow” testing to verify that the components operate correctly.  Some of the items NFPA-25 requires to be verified that they operate properly during a Weekly Fire Pump Test include:

  • Automatic Start
  • Manual Start
  • Packing Gland Water Discharge
  • Gauge Pressures
  • Pump Temperature
  • Pump Driver Specific Items

Importance of a Fire Pump Test

The purpose of the fire pump test is to ensure the automatic and manual operations of the pump are working properly.  If the fire pump does not perform within designed parameters, the fire protection sprinkler system may not perform adequately.  Ahern can provide weekly, monthly, and annual fire pump testing which is performed by qualified technicians who can deliver detailed information and assist with corrections that may be needed to this vital part of the fire protection sprinkler system.

Please contact Ahern at 888.532.4376 to schedule your fire pump tests or for more information on testing.

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