Monitoring Sprinkler Pressure Gauges

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The results obtained from sprinkler system testing are only as valid as the instruments used for measurement. Old, damaged, or faulty water or air pressure gauges are likely to produce inaccurate test results and result in an unreliable system that may fail when you most need it. Although fire protection companies can perform regular inspections and provide maintenance services, the property management team should be instructed in the periodic visual inspection of pressure gauges to ensure proper operation in the event of a fire activation. This important preventive maintenance check will allow your company to be proactive when a deficiency is found.  When inspecting your sprinkler pressure gauges, be sure to refer to previous inspection reports or inspection tags to verify the recorded pressure. This procedure should be scheduled daily, as well as after any power outage that affects your building.  System components from the point of connection, including control valves, backflow preventers, and pressure-reducing valves, should also be regularly inspected and tested for proper operation.

In the event that any sprinkler system gauges are found to be impaired, or if your gauges show evidence of a reduction in water supply pressure, local administrative procedures for notifying your fire sprinkler service provider should be followed immediately.

Whenever an impairment is found, you will want your fire protection service company to take the proper steps to resolve the issue in a timely manner. Should you have an emergency or need a repair to your system, you can trust Protegis Fire & Safety to be ready to meet your needs at any time, day or night.

The Importance of Testing Your Fire Pump

A fire pump is an integral component of a total fire protection system.  A fire protection system at a facility may include automatic sprinkler systems, standpipes, hose stations, and/or fire hydrants.

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The purpose of a fire pump is to provide or enhance the water supply pressure from public mains, suction tanks, gravity/elevated tanks, lakes, and other bodies of water.

The building owner or a representative (e.g., management company) is responsible for the maintenance of the fire pump.  Fire pumps should be inspected, maintained and tested per the manufacturer’s specifications.  If the manufacturer’s specifications are unavailable, refer to the standard for the maintenance of fire pumps NFPA 25 (Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems) or contact the Protegis Fire & Safety’s Automatic Sprinkler Systems Inspection, Maintenance, and Testing Department.

A comprehensive maintenance program is generally broken down into three components:  inspection, maintenance and testing.

Inspection.  A visual examination of the fire pump to verify that it appears to be in operating condition and is free of physical damage.  Examples include:

  • Heat in pump room is minimum 40 degrees F (70 degrees F for diesel engines)
  • Pump suction, discharge, and bypass valves are open.
  • Controller pilot light (power on) is illuminated.

Protegis also offers maintenance that is performed during this inspection.
Examples include:

  • Lubricate pump bearings
  • Clean pump room louvers
  • Clean coolant strainer in coolant system

Testing.  A procedure used to determine the status of the fire pump and auxiliary equipment by conducting periodic physical checks.  Examples include:

  • Conduct a routine churn test as required by NFPA 25
    (run pump without water flowing)
  • Conduct an annual full-flow performance test
  • Operate alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals

Measures should be taken during an impairment to ensure that increased risks are minimized and that the duration of the impairment is limited.  NFPA 20 provides a trouble-shooting checklist to help in identifying causes of pump problems.  Qualified personnel, such as Fireguard, must make the necessary repairs and adjustments to ensure proper pump operation.

Understanding the proper selection, installation, and maintenance of a fire pump can make the difference between business as usual and a catastrophe at a facility. Let Protegis Fire & Safety be there for you for all your needs. We are your one stop shop for all commercial fire protection needs. Our services range from the installation of fire protection systems in new construction projects to retrofits, to service, testing and inspection of fire sprinkler systems, fire pumps, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, kitchen hood systems and emergency lights.