As a building owner, staying compliant with fire codes helps maximize system integrity and allows fast, effective response in the event of a fire emergency. This includes knowing when and how to test and maintain a fire pump. While an outside service provider is often hired to ensure a fire pump is safe and compliant with codes, it is the responsibility of the building owner to maintain all equipment and systems in his or her building, and repair any deficiencies or impairments.
NFPA 25 – the standard for inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems – mandates various tests at different time intervals depending on the type of system. The two most common types of tests, however, are “No Flow Conditions” and “Annual Flow Tests.”
No Flow Condition
A no-flow condition is the way to test a pump without flowing water. In this routine test, Ryan Fireprotection professionals inspect a pump’s pressure and evaluate the time it takes for the motor to achieve that pressure, as well as make necessary adjustments for valves and o-rings. If there is an electric motor, the test will take approximately 10 minutes, whereas a diesel motor will take 30 minutes.
Annual Flow Test
An annual flow test is a full test of a fire pump’s capabilities. According to Chapter 4 of NFPA 25, “The pump output pressure and flows are measured and then plotted on hydraulic graph paper. Field acceptance test results are compared to certified shop test curves.” This means that a pump’s performance must meet a pre-existing industry standard to pass the test. These tests can take up to four hours per pump to complete.
These tests are conducted to ensure the rate of water flow is sufficient to deliver the right amount of water at the right time.
What You Need To Know
When the time comes to have a building’s fire pump inspected, there are some additional responsibilities to keep in mind:
- Fire pump testing and maintenance is an industry-standard and usually included in a service agreement.
- During the testing period, a fire pump is temporarily taken offline. Because of this, it is important that nothing above and beyond “normal operations” be conducted to keep tenants safe.
- The state also requires that all test records be maintained and stored onsite electronically by the building owner. These records are provided by Ryan Fireprotection and include:
- Organization that performed the test
- Procedures and activities performed
- Frequency of the test (weekly, monthly or annually)
- Results and date of test
- Name of the lead inspector
To have a Ryan Fireprotection professional conduct inspection and testing services on your fire pump or provide you with a “no cost” owner’s training session at your facility, please complete our contact us form, or call 1.800.409.7606, and press 1 to be connected to our service department.