A diesel engine fire pump is a critical component in a sprinkler system. It provides high pressure water to the system that is triggered by the sprinkler head when a fire occurs. The diesel fire pump requires regular maintenance, like any other engine, and it has a limited lifespan, typically 20 years or less. Here are some tips to help you maintain your fire pump.
The diesel tank must be located in an environment that complies with both NFPA 20, as well as the engine manufacturer’s requirements. Typically this means a maximum temperature of 120 F while the fire pump system is operating at full load, and a minimum of 40 F when the fire pump is not in operation. The exhaust system needs to be properly sized, insulated and protected. Too often, the exhaust system is not designed or assessed correctly, which leads to problems with available power and heat rejection by the diesel engine.
It is important that you regularly test the fire pump system. It is recommended that you do this weekly. Call the fire alarm company and let them know that you will be closing some valves, and turning on the engine/pump. Turn on the engine/pump and allow it to run for about 15 minutes.
This will help to ensure that the fire pump will operate in an emergency, and that it is ready to perform its duty when called upon. Also, testing the system will show any leaks in the system. Leaks in the system can be a major problem, and should be addressed as soon as they are found, since air leaks can cause serious damage to the fire pump.