Fire pumps are at the core of your fire suppression system. It’s crucial your fire pump performs at its optimum levels to rapidly supply water into the system as the primary defense against any fire hazard they may occur within your building, buying precious time for emergency services to arrive in order to save your property, but most importantly, lives.
Ensuring you have the right fire pump for your property cannot be understated. Without the correct pump, there’s a serious risk of under performance, such as with its suction ability and discharge pressure – both of which could prove catastrophic in emergency situations. There are numerous errors and faults that can occur, each related to a multitude of reasons related to why some pumps aren’t suitable. In this blog, we’ll look into how you can ensure you’ve got the right pump, leaving you with no doubt in the ability of your fire suppression system.
Building Types & Regulations
The first step when considering which fire pump you need, is to specify your building type. The height of the building and layout will determine your pump room location and whether you may need more than one pump room. Understanding your building type will also provide important information that will decide whether the water reservoir will best be above, or below ground level.
Following local and global regulations is, of course, paramount as well. Ensuring your pump or pumps operate at the correct flow rates and produce adequate pressure according to regulations is a must. The pump, as well as all the hardware in your fire suppression system, will only suffice should they comply with all these regulations and standards.
Pump Types & What They’re For
A fire pump activates when pressure in the water supply to the sprinklers starts to drop. This is caused because heat detection has activated the sprinklers and water is now being dispersed throughout the building in order to put out any fires. Understanding the demand for water pressure because of building type is key for knowing which pump is best suited for your needs. Here are five main types of water pump you’ll need to consider:
- Vertical Turbine
With water sources below ground or at deck level, vertical turbines offer an ideal solution. They provide rapid and reliable response to emergencies by utilizing impellers that are fully immersed in the water source, meaning they’re always primed and ready to go. Vertical turbines also have the flexibility of being powered by either electric motors or a diesel engine. Typically, they’ll be used in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, power stations, oil and gas, and fuel storage depots.
- Split Case
Split case pumps all feature single double suction or two single suction impellers in order to create consistent water pressures when needed. Their design offers simplified maintenance which makes them a popular choice for a wide range of uses, from airports and power stations, to office buildings and hospitals. One of their key attributes is their long life and reliability, in some cases lasting as long as 70 years in operation.
- End Suction
End-suction pumps are designed to meet most normal requirements, making this space saving pump one of the most commonly used arrangements. They’re also known for being easy to maintain and compatible with both electric and diesel drives. End-suction pumps are commonly found across supermarkets, airports, hospitals, schools, hotels and offices to name but a few examples.
- In line
In-line pumps are lightweight and compact, ideal for smaller pump rooms. It’s common to find in-line pumps pre-wired and packaged with an electric motor, mounted on a steel fabricated base, making installation quick and easy. In-line pumps are suitable for use in a range of environments, including offices, hospitals, power stations as well as schools and colleges.
- Multi-Stage Multi-Outlet (MSMO)
MSMO pumps are used most commonly in high-rise buildings such as offices, hospitals and hotels. Due to the multi-stage operation, these pumps effectively reduce cost and space; power requirements are lower, pump rooms can be smaller and, in line with new EU legislation, there is no need to use pressure reducing valves to prevent over-pressurization of sprinkler heads. They also eliminate the need for water storage on intermediate floors, meaning the entire fire suppression system is more streamlined and easier to maintain.
Still Not Sure? Ask an Expert
Understanding which pump is best for your property can be confusing. While some pumps can be used on the same types of buildings, it all very much depends on the total area, height and local regulations. One thing is for certain: if you’re unsure, seek the help of an expert. Not only is this about saving lives, it is also about ensuring your fire safety system is compliant with both local and global regulations. This is vital not only in the day-to-day operation of your pumps, but also in the case of any emergencies.
If you are in the market for a fire pump, whether for a new project or as a refurbishment, you may also be considering purchasing parts of, or a complete fire pump system. That’s precisely where Dr. Pump & Engineering can help.