A fire pump is used when the water supply can’t provide enough pressure to meet the hydraulic design requirements of the fire protection system. According to NFPA 25, fire pumps must be tested on both a monthly and annual basis to ensure that they will perform as designed. These two different tests are referred to as a monthly “churn” test and an annual flow test.
Annual Fire Pump Flow Test
The fire pump flow test is required by NFPA 25 to be conducted once a year in order to measure the pump’s flow and pressure. The test should be performed by attaching hoses to the discharge test header. Pressure readings are taken as the pump is run through its various stages. These test results are compared to the factory specifications and the test results from previous years. If there is a significant reduction in the pump’s performance, further examination is needed to make the necessary repairs.
Monthly Fire Pump Churn Test
The 2011 Edition of NFPA 25 requires electric motor driven fire pumps to be operated monthly. The monthly churn test requires electric powered pumps to be tested as follows:
- Run pump for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Record the system suction & discharge pressure gauge readings.
- Check the pump packing glands for slight discharge.
- Adjust glands nuts; if necessary.
- Check for unusual noise or vibration.
- Check packing boxes, bearings or pump casing for overheating.
- Record the pump starting pressure.
- Interpret results