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Commercial Fire Protection: Fire Pumps

Fire pumps can be a vital portion of your commercial fire protection system by providing water flow for fire sprinkler systems, standpipes, hydrants and other fire protection systems. In most cases, fire pumps are used to supplement the existing water supply, which may not be adequate to provide enough water flow at pressures needed to operate the sprinkler systems. This usually occurs if the building is very tall or in system that requires a relatively high pressure in order to provide a large volume of water to a large space, such as in a warehouse. Fire pumps are also needed if fire protection water supply is provided from a ground level water storage tank. In some cases, fire pumps are installed with a tank when no public water supply exists. The pump and tank may be the sole water supply for the sprinklers and hydrants of the facility.

The fire pump starts when the pressure in the fire sprinkler system drops below a threshold. The sprinkler system pressure will drop when one or more fire sprinklers are exposed to heat above their design temperature and water is released.

Fire pumps work to create a complete assembly. The main components of a fire pump include water supply, piping, the pump, a driver to provide power and a controller. The controller turns the fire pump on and off and monitors its operation. Other accessories include the pump shaft, air release valve, and relief valves. There are several types of fire pumps available for installation, most notably the two operated by electric motors and diesel engines. Like any piece of equipment, they require regular inspection, testing and maintenance to ensure they remain in top operational condition.

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