A fire water pump is the heart of your fire suppression system. It delivers the right flow and pressure to the nozzles and helps you extinguish the fire. There are a few different types of fire water pumps, and understanding the differences is important.
The most common reason a fire pump is replaced is because it failed a performance test. It may have dropped below a specific flow or pressure point that was established during the testing. In this case the fire protection engineer will use a number of rules and calculations to size the replacement.
Another common cause is damage to the pump caused by cavitation. Cavitation occurs when small vapor pockets are produced in the liquid flowing through the impeller. These vapor pockets implode as they encounter the impeller surface and high pump discharge pressures. This type of damage is commonly found in areas where the pump is located far above the water source or where a long length of smaller diameter hose is used (wildland).
A final reason for replacing a fire water pump is if it no longer meets the minimum pressure requirements. The minimum pressure requirements are established based on the required head needed to reach the fire floor or the operating pressure of a hose valve at the fire scene. The pressures can be calculated based on the pump performance data and the suction and discharge piping design.
The fire pump is an essential component in any fire suppression system and needs regular inspections, testing, and maintenance. The equipment should be inspected by qualified personnel at the correct intervals to ensure the equipment is ready for operation when needed. This includes checking the water supply, pump suction and discharge piping conditions, electrical system conditions engine consumables, etc.