The integrity of the water supply system inside a structure is one of the crucial considerations in a fire prevention plan for commercial buildings. It’s why a hydrostatic test pump needs to be utilized during initial construction and then periodically afterward to assess the fire protection system.
The hydrostatic test pump delivers pressurized water into a new fire protection system to confirm that the piping was installed correctly and that the fire department connection (FDC) can handle the stress of water being introduced at high pressures. Subsequent exams will identify vulnerabilities caused by damage or corrosion, with particular attention paid to standpipes.
The widely accepted standard of the National Fire Protection Agency requires running a hydrostatic test pump through a new system at 200 psi for two hours. Gauges are monitored to confirm the pressure stays within a narrow range.
Why Hydrostatic Testing?
Hydrostatic pressure testing is generally preferable to air tests for reasons of safety. Over-pressurization of a plumbing system can cause damage, including potentially shattering PVC piping.
Same Principle Applies to Other Systems
Hydrostatic pump applications in industry go beyond water systems. The pumps can also handle hydraulic fluids and oils contained in production systems. Their nature requires relatively little work to develop a high pressure,
Residential Applications Exist as Well
Hydrostatic testing is also done for sprinkler systems in new home construction, with pressure standards considerably lower than commercial buildings. The gas-powered or electric test pumps are sometimes also used by buyers of existing homes during the inspection process to assess the water lines.
The process in home testing begins with accessing the sewer clean-out to plug the sewer exit under the home before filling the drainage system with water up to slab level. A drop in the water level during an assessment of approximately 15 minutes is indicative of a leak in the system that could be a warning sign of costly problems in the foundation.