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Posted on October 28, 2019

In this video, we walk you through the process of testing a fire pump. These tests are conducted annually for our clients to ensure they have properly functioning fire protection.

NFPA25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems requires both a monthly and yearly fire pump testing.  Regular testing not only keeps you up to code but saves lives.

About Fire Pumps

So let’s talk a little more about fire pumps.  Fire pumps are often used in commercial establishments, apartment complexes and warehouses to augment the flow of water to a building’s sprinkler systems by pumping it from an external supply.  Without a working pump, the building’s sprinkler system will not function properly and could be hazardous in the case of a fire.

There are multiple types of fire pumps, including diesel and electric pump systems.  Diesel engine driven pumps are most common for private water supplies, and municipal water supplies tend to use electric pumps.  Every once in a while, you’ll find a steam turbine engine-driven pump but they have become rare.  No matter what kind of fire pump it is, all fire pumps require the annual “Flow Test” though the different pump types have different maintenance specifics, so be sure to know what is needed for your specific type.

The Flow Test

As mentioned above, the yearly fire pump test is called the “Flow Test,” and it is the test we’re performing in the video above (Youtube Link:  This test is used to measure the pump’s water pressure and volume, in other words, the force of the flow.  It’s the most important test because it ensures that the pump is in complete working order.  It can also reveal issues with the pump’s water supply, such as closed values and blockages.

To perform this test, the pump is taken temporarily offline.  Then, hoses are attached to the test header and run to a safe spot away from the building.  We’ll often mount them together to prevent them from moving around.  Then, we measure the water pressure of each hose with a gauge and make sure the pump is fully operational and up to code.

The Churn Test

The weekly/monthly test is called a “Churn” (aka No Flow) test.  This test is conducted by running the fire pump without water flowing.  For most electric pumps, a monthly churn test is sufficient.   The exceptions to this are high-rise buildings, electric-driven vertical turbine pumps and pumps using limited service controllers.  These require a weekly test.  Diesel engine fire pumps must also be tested weekly and run for 30 minutes to make sure that there are no issues, such as overheating.

If you are unsure about the frequency and types of tests for your specific fire pump or have any questions about pump testing or fire protection in general, please call us at 814.456.7014 or via our contact form.  Wm. T. Spaeder provides comprehensive fire protection services.  For more detailed information, please view our fire protection service page.

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