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Fire pumps are used to move water through a fire sprinkler system or to manual hose bibs in commercial or industrial applications. The pump’s intake is most often connected to an external water supply, though sometimes it can be connected to a local water source such as a tank or well.
The fire pump system efficiently delivers water to in hopes of dousing a fire before it spreads – and the pump is a key component to the success of the system. These pump types are commonly used in tall buildings where the height of the upper floors make it impossible for water to get there via pressure or capacity of the local water supply. In many areas, the local fire inspection agency requires that fire pumps be periodically tested and certified.
Fire pumps and the rest of the system must meet the requirements of UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory), NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), and, in Canada, the CSA (Canadian Standards Association). There are a limited number of NFPA, UL, and CSA approved pump suppliers. Before selecting a fire pump and supplier, be sure to study the local regulations and the requirements put forth by owner’s insurance.
Fire pumps use either an A.C. electric motor or a diesel engine for power. When one of the sprinklers in the building detects a high level of heat, the pump begins working immediately. In some cases, the fire regulations may require a fire pump to have an emergency generator as a back-up in the event of a power failure. Small, portable engine-driven configurations are used in forest fire fighting applications.
The most common types of fire pumps are vertical turbine and horizontal split case.. Some applications for lower flows may include end suction or vertical inline. Many fire systems also use a jockey pump. This is a small centrifugal pump that runs continuously, keeping fire system piping filled and under pressure. This ensures that the sprinklers will start working immediately once the fire pump is started.
Written by PumpScout.com staff.