Fire Pump Testing
Fire pumps provide water supply to fire sprinkler systems where the water supply pressure is too low or nonexistent. The field acceptance test is conducted on newly installed pumps and demonstrates that all the fire pump unit components perform according to manufacturers’ specifications as well as proving that the water supply is adequate. The annual fire pump flow test can identify deterioration of the fire pump or impairments to the water supply.
How often do I test a fire pump?
According to NFPA, fire pumps are flow tested after initial installation according to the field acceptance test procedure (NFPA 20, 14.2, 2010). Thereafter, the annual fire pump test is performed (NFPA 25, 8.3.3, 2008).
Where do I find more information on fire pumps?
- NFPA 20 — Installation of pumps, field acceptance test, hose valves
- NFPA 25 — Maintenance of pumps, annual tests
- Hydro Flow Products Catalog — Section on Fire pump Testing
- FAQs on Fire Pump Testing
- Form for Fire Pump Testing
The Hose Monster® fire pump test system
The Hose Monster will make your job of testing pumps safe, simple and accurate. Because of the unique thrust- canceling design of the Hose Monster, tests can be conducted on an established lawn or a gravel surface without causing damage. The Hose Monsters are FM Approved for flow-rate accuracy.
Software for Fire Pump Testing
Fire Pump Tester Software (FPT) allows fire protection contractors, fire protection engineers, and building managers to collect fire pump test data in a professional and comprehensive format. FPT eliminates the need for users to perform complicated tasks such as calculating flow-rates, calculating performance corrected flow, and graphing flow curves. The user just enters their data, and the program performs all the hard work. (learn more)
What equipment do I need?
1. Little Hose Monster™ (HML) — Built-in stacking grooves enable easy stacking of multiple units. Use one Little Hose Monster per flowing hose line.
2. Pitotless Nozzle™ (PN1GRV, PN1.125GRV, PN1.75GRV, PN2GRV) — Consider the minimum and maximum flow-rates that are required to measure. The 1 3/4" Pitotless Nozzle is the most commonly used sized for fire pump testing, but smaller pumps may require an even smaller nozzle size. Use one Pitotless Nozzle per flowing hose line.
3. Test Hose (2 1/2" Hose) — Hoses for pump testing are commonly 21⁄2" x 25' or 50' long. Length is determined by job conditions, such as needing a safe place to flow water with sufficient drainage.
4. Monster Tester™ (HMMT) — Enables multiple pressure readings from one gauge and the ability to make flow adjustments back at the test header with one person conducting the test. Use one unit per pump test setup. Measures up to six flow readings.
5. Discharge Flow-Rate Gauge (Gauges) — 0.5% accuracy rated 60-psi or 100-psi gauges with a 4" dial are common. Anticipate expected flow ranges using our flow charts so readings are in the middle third of the dial. If using a Monster Tester, only one flow gauge is needed. If not using the Monster Tester, one gauge per flowing hose line is needed.
6. Case (Cases) — For storing and protecting pressure gauges and Pitotless Nozzle units. Use one case of a specified size.
7. Stabilizer (STK) — A Stabilizer provides a base for stacks of two or three Little Hose Monster units to prevent them from tipping over. It includes Tie Downs to secure units together. Use one Stabilizer for each stack of Little Hose Monsters.
8. Pump Discharge Gauge (Gauges) — A 200- or 300-psi pressure gauge with a 4" dial is common. According to NFPA 20, 184.108.40.206, “The dial should be at least 200 psi and be capable of indicating pressure to at least twice the rated working pressure of the pump.” Use one gauge.
9. Pump Suction Gauge (Compound Gauges) — According to NFPA 20 4.10.1, “If the minimum pump suction pressure is below 20 psi at any flow condition, the suction gauge shall be a compound pressure and vacuum gauge.” A compound gauge that reads from 30 Hg to 160 psi or 200 psi with a 4" dial is common. Use one gauge.
Note: A 21⁄2" Hose Monster® with Built-in Pitot can be used in place of the Little Hose Monster for pump testing, but you will need FM Nozzle Inserts and Stackers instead of Pitotless NozzleTM units and Stabilizers.
10. Stream Shaper (SS1) — Use to prevent hose burn.
11. 45° or 30° Test Header Elbow (Elbows) —
Re-angles the hose from the test header to minimize kinks and hose burn.
12. Spanner Wrench (WSPA101, WSPA104) — For attaching the hose to the test header or a 21⁄2" Hose Monster. WSPA104 is used for attaching the 21⁄2" Hose Monster to a Pitotless Nozzle.
13. Gauge Calibration (Gauge Calibration) — We offer gauge calibration service, including a NIST certificate for new and used gauges. NFPA 20 requires test gauges be calibrated within 12 months prior to the test, and gauges should have a label with the last date of calibration. (NFPA 20, 220.127.116.11.2, 2010)
14. Clamp-on Ammeter — Measures pump Amperes.
15. Tachometer — Measures pump RPM.
How many hoses and which size nozzles will be needed?We generally recommend flowing a maximum of 500 GPM per hose stream which in our experience allows most fire pumps to achieve flow at 150% rated capacity. This assumes 1 3⁄4" nozzle sizes and 2 1/2" hoses that are 25' or 50' long.
- Example: 1000-GPM rated pump
- 150% of rated capacity = 1500 GPM
- 1500 GPM / 500 GPM per hose = 3 hoses