Fire fighting pumps are used to supply water to fire hoses during an emergency. Choosing the right fire fighting pump is critical for your department to ensure reliable water pressure and flow during an emergency.
Look for pumps with sturdy, metal components that can withstand heavy demand. The best fire fighting pumps use quality engines, like Honda or Yamaha in petrol and Cromtech or Water Master in diesel.
Choosing the Right Pump
There are many different types of fire fighting pumps, and each type has its own advantages. Some are powered by petrol engines, others by diesel engines, and some by electricity. Each type has its own pros and cons depending on the availability, reliability, cost, maintenance requirements, noise, and emissions.
It is vital to know what your fire suppression system needs in order to select the right fire pump. The pump must be sized to provide the required water pressure reliably in the event of an emergency.
The designer must use a sprinkler area method to determine the rated flow and pressure demands of the building. This will help them to correctly size the pump for the installation. A common rule of thumb is to calculate the demand by taking 1% of the rated fire pump net pressure at its rated flow. However, this does not always fit the circumstances of each building. It is better to take into account the occupancy class, the number of floors, and the location of sprinklers.
When it comes to fire fighting, electric motor-driven pumps have become the industry standard. They are quiet, clean and can easily be powered by electricity.
In order to meet NEC requirements for providing power to fire pump motors, engineers must carefully size the emergency system transformer to handle six times the full load current and maintain a voltage drop of no more than 5% at 115% full load amperes (FLA).
Electrical start pumps can be powered from the mains changeover facility, a generator or other approved source. To start, the operator simply turns a key, much like a vehicle key. Most models will have the battery and wiring harness set mounted within the roll cage frame to provide portability. Some models even offer a recoil start option, which is as simple as pulling a rope to start the engine. This reduces noise and eliminates the need for a starter battery. This is ideal for large and remote buildings.
When it comes to fire fighting, diesel pumps are often a better option than electric fire pump drivers. When compared to an emergency generator, they offer more reliability and are capable of handling a much higher load.
Additionally, many fire pumps are designed to be mobile so that they can easily be repositioned. This makes them ideal for situations where the water demand is greater than what can be supplied by a fire hydrant or the municipal water supply.
As with an emergency generator, a fire pump requires annual testing and inspection by a licensed professional. This process puts the system through its paces, measuring both water pressure and flow. When discrepancies are found, a licensed technician can usually find an easy explanation and corrective action.
Horizontal Split Case
As the name suggests these fire fighting pumps are horizontal centrifugal pumps that can be used with either electric or diesel drivers. They are extremely reliable and come in a wide range of rated flow and pressure capacities. They are also very easy to maintain compared to end suction fire pumps. However they typically cost more due to large flanges, larger impellers, and more space required for split case casing seal joints.
When selecting a fire pump it is important to ensure that you choose the correct size for your system. Undersized fire pumps can lead to water hammer which causes damage to your equipment. Oversized fire pumps can cause the pump to cycle on and off too rapidly which can shorten the life of the pump and also cause premature wear on the rotor.
An experienced fire service engineer will be able to assist you in choosing the right type of pump for your application. If you would like to speak with an engineer about your system please contact us today.