Will It Work When You Need It?
What would happen if you tried to drive a car that had sat on blocks in the garage for 10 years without ever being driven? It wouldn’t go very far, would it? Well it’s the same with your fire protection pumps. Hopefully, your fire sprinkler system activates pretty rarely. Unfortunately, if it goes without running for too long it might not turn on when you need it most!
Like any mechanical device, a fire pump that sits unused in the pump room for a long time will start to deteriorate – the parts will settle, the joints and connections will erode, the couplings will become misaligned and accidental (or intentional!) tampering can prevent your fire pump from kicking on properly in response to a fire. In fact, if it is left alone too long, you may find that there is a serious problem with your pump – a problem that will prevent it from starting immediately when it needs to and costing you precious seconds of fire sprinkler response (and as you know, every second you waste can potentially cost you your entire building!).
How to Exercise Your Fire Pump
In order to keep your fire sprinkler system in fighting shape, you need to run the pump in test conditions pretty frequently. Different types of fire pumps need to be tested for different lengths of time:
- Electric pumps should be tested 10 minutes a week
- Diesel pumps should be tested 30 minutes a week
You shouldn’t need to call a fire protection company to exercise your fire sprinkler system. Instead, all you need to do is find the test line on your pump and open it up. This will cause a drop in water pressure in your pump system, similar to what would happen if your fire sprinkler heads opened. If all is well, your pump should kick on immediately and start pumping water through the test line (it will drain outside).
What Happens If It Doesn’t Startup?
If your pump DOESN’T turn on right away, that’s when you need to start worrying. Call a fire protection services company for fire pump inspection – there could be a problem with your pump motor.
Ideally, you should exercise your pump once a week – that said, once a month is probably fine. Just make sure it gets done – you don’t want to wait until your building is engulfed in flames to find out that your fire pump doesn’t work!
If in doubt contact our expert team at Complete Fire and Pumps for your no obligation fire pump assessment. We are only a call away!
Yours In Fire Safety