Fire Sprinkler Pumps
Sprinkler System Pumps
Ideally, every small to medium residential fire sprinkler system would be connected directly to the town mains. This is often the case in other countries where mains water pressures tend to be higher than that of the UK. Consequently, there are many systems that are fed by a storage system which will incorporate a ‘fire pump’ or also referred to as a‘ fire set’.
The original version of BS9251 focused much more on the technical aspects of mains water supplies than storage systems presumably, because no-one envisaged the amount of problems that have been created by Water Authorities throughout the country.
A major shortcoming of the British Standard (BS9251-05) was the lack of attention given to the problems associated with any pump standing idle and not regularly moving water. The original standard simply suggested that the fire pump should be activated periodically* on a bi-monthly basis in order to stop them seizing up. It was very unlikely that anyone would perform this duty especially as so many of these systems were installed in lofts. At the time, Lowara and Grundfos were manufacturing fire-sets which had been produced to provide what was considered a minimum level of functionality. It is true to say that they were fairly costly but this reflected the research & development costs associated with the product and the size of the residential sprinkler market at the time.
It was generally assumed by the pioneering Residential Sprinkler Association (RSA) in their training all those years ago that installers would use a fire pump-set specifically designed for the purpose. However, as more and more installers entered the market, standards were reduced in an effort to reduce costs in order to gain a share of the slowly expanding market and more and more pumps without adequate automation were installed in early systems.
These problems were addressed to some extent by the industry within the training courses and technical bulletins issued to RSA and BAFSA members.
Why can’t a standard pump be installed in a Domestic or Residential Fire sprinkler system?
The answer is very simple and no company should fit a normal pump to a life safety system which may lie dormant for many years.
The two most fundamental requirements for any fire pump set is that it should carry out the following actions automatically:
- carry out some form of activation cycle periodically to prevent it seizing up and
- that it should provide a fault alarm if the power is disconnected from the system. Neither of these were a requirement of BS9251-05
The publication of BS9251-15 has provided very clear guidance regarding fire sets and they must be designed to include an automatic test cycle which will active the pump at least monthly. *
*It is important to understand that during a test, the fire set doesn’t need to deliver the large volumes of water required during an activation. Flows are restricted and re-circulated back into the water tank
Is it possible to combine the domestic water supply with the fire sprinkler supply? – YES
- BS9251-15 provides clarity on this issue by suggesting that the two supplies can be combined providing that the storage tank has sufficient capacity.
- The pump must also have the capacity to supply the combined total of the domestic and fire supply or, whichever is higher provided that a shut-off valve is connected to the domestic supply which will automatically divert all the available water to the sprinkler system in the event of an activation.
All our storage systems are supplied and have been supplied in the past with full monitoring and an automatic periodical movement cycle.
Call RAD Fire Sprinklers for more information on 01892 680090……….speak to an engineer – we don’t employ sales staff