What types of pumps are typically used for fire protection in buildings?
The NFPA sets the requirements for fire pump systems, their design, testing and installation in NFPA-20. The types of pumps used for fire pump services are various depending on the application need. They can be rotodynamic or positive displacement type, vertical or horizontal installation, driven by electric motor, steam turbine, or diesel engine, and vertical pumps will include a right angle gear when not driven by a motor.
Some of the most typical types of fire pumps are end suction, between-bearing and vertically suspended rotodynamic pumps. The pump used will depend on the water source and the volume of flow required.
Standard flow capacities are published in NFPA-20 for fire pumps. If a high-flow capacity is required, then a large vertical turbine or between-bearing split case pump may be used. On the other hand, if the volume of flow required is less, then a smaller between-bearing, vertical turbine or end suction type pump may be used.
Commercial buildings can also use rotary positive displacement pumps for fire service. These pumps are used in water mist or foam protection systems that require high pressure.
For more information on fire pumps and other pumps used in commercial buildings and their application, refer to HI Guidebook Pump Application Guideline for Commercial Building Services at www.pumps.org/standards.