Part II: Hitchhikers Guide to the Jockey Pump

The following is a list of information to gather to make the most efficient use of your time:

1. Get the pump model number and serial number. It’s on the pump, not the motor itself. This seems obvious, but 4 times out of 5 people don’t copy down the right information because they simply are looking at the wrong nameplate, especially on turbine jockey pumps.

Turbine jockey pumps look like this:

Pentair Aurora Turbine PumpPentair Aurora Turbine Pump Model & Serial Number

We will get into more technical detail on turbine pumps in other blogs, but suffice it to say you can always tell a turbine jockey pump from other styles because the motor is 75% to 90% of the pump unit. In fact, the motor itself is used to hold the pump together — to directly connect to the impeller and hold the casing together at the same time. Because of this, people look at the pump and motor together as a unit and call it “the pump”. For all intents and purposes, they are correct. Continue reading

Hitchhikers Guide to the Jockey Pump

Bluffton Jockey PumpProper selection and sizing of a jockey pump is typically handled by a consulting engineer or pump salesman during the first phase of a new installation. The amount of usage a jockey pump can handle depends on the system size, temperature changes, proper function of check valves, and whether or not there are any leaks in the piping. Regardless of the installation, no one will argue that the expected life of a jockey pump is far less than that of the fire pump itself, mainly due to its repetitive use.

While replacing a jockey pump in an existing installation is a simple endeavor, gathering the necessary information to make it happen properly and accurately is not as easy as it seems. Continue reading

Examples of Proper Fire Pump Equipment Installations

Whether it is through a new fire pump sale or from a service or repair troubleshooting call, we see a lot of fire pump mechanical rooms. Occasionally we see an installation of new fire pump equipment which catches our eye in a good way — that is, the installing contractor did an exemplary job with installing the equipment. The proper installation of fire pumps and controls is covered in NFPA 20, as well as in NEC Article 695. Going forward, when we see exceptional work in this regard, we will point out the aspects that make the work stand out. We want good work recognized!

For this blog, we feature an installation in Phoenixville, PA, installed by H & H Systems, Inc.

Peerless horizontal split-case fire pump install 1

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Aurora Launches New PVM Jockey Pumps

In case you haven’t heard the exciting news, as of the beginning of this month Aurora’s current PVM jockey pump models are no longer available and have been replaced with a brand new series. TAurora Logohis new flow series consists of several models, including 316 stainless steel models that are all 3rd party certified to NSF-61 and NSF-372 water quality standards. If you prefer the cast iron or 304 stainless steel models, these are available as well. Continue reading

NFPA Researches Flame-Retardant Fire Hoses

Unfortunately for firefighters, being in the line of duty comes with certain dangers, among them even death. According to the NFPA, there were 97 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2013. The good news is that that number is down to 87 in 2014, but this is still a number that must be improved upon. Sadly, some of these fatalities are the result of popular lightweight fire hoses that are suffering from “burn-through,” a scenario where the fire hose burns as a result of the fire they’re trying to extinguish, and is therefore rendered useless to our heroes. This was the case in a March blaze in Boston, where two firefighters were killed in a nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street.

This problem is exacerbated by using the lightweight hoses for routine house and apartment fires, since these hoses are supposed to only be used for high rises. This was not the case in the Boston fire, but it’s a common issue seen elsewhere. Continue reading

The Best Steel Bolted Fire Protection Water Storage Tanks

In the field of fire protection water storage tanks there are several types of tank options, and some of the most commonly used are corrugated, steel welded, steel bolted, and concrete. We have found that for most projects, the steel bolted design has the most advantages over other types when considering cost, manufacturing quality, field erection time, and product durability.Central Fire Mobis

When it comes to steel bolted fire protection water storage tanks, the experts here at Steven Brown & Associates recommend CST Storage. CST Storage has been an industry leader in the steel bolted storage tank for both dry bulk storage, as well as fire protection water storage. Continue reading

Fire Pump Testing and NFPA 25 – Automatic Starting is the Priority

Over the course of this year, we have encountered several disabled fire pumps due to burnt up or failed fire pump controller components.  This can happen for various reasons — age, misuse, lightning, power surges, etc.  But, for one particular installation, what troubled me the most was that for months at a time, no one knew there was a problem at all.  To the outside observer, everything seemed to be working fine. You press the ‘start’ button and the pump runs.  But it wasn’t until a simulation of a pressure drop was performed that the problem revealed itself:  the automatic start circuitry was damaged.  The pump would start manually, but not automatically.  Several “monthly tests” did not reveal the problem because no one thought to test the equipment automatically.

NFPA 25 – the Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems provides an excellent guide as to what equipment needs to be tested, and how frequently.  And very often, the property or building owner hires the right person — licensed and qualified — to run the fire pump through its proper test.  But if you are not careful, it is easy for someone to simply press a start button to test the operation of a fire pump, and in so doing forget or neglect to test the automatic starting of the fire pump. Continue reading

Home Fire Safety Tips & Tools


The American Red Cross recently announced a national campaign that aims to reduce deaths and injuries from fires in the home. The goal is to reduce these numbers by over 25% in the next five years, and this is an absolutely plausible goal as our society grows smarter about fire safety. Technological advances such as hard wired smoke detectors, home sprinkler systems, and updated fire codes and standards all provide us with a much better chance to survive a fire compared to previous generations. That being said, there still are steps we should all take to further our personal fire prevention repertoire, and some of our favorite fire prevention tips and tools are outlined below. Continue reading

Centrifugal Pump Priming

UL/FM fire pumps require what is commonly called a “flooded suction,” or a positive suction pressure prior to starting.  The concept is that the water supply source must arrive at the pump impeller on its own, without the aid of the pump.  This will guarantee that the pump is properly primed and ready for operation.   With many centrifugal pumps, as little as 3% air in the casing can be enough to prevent the proper operation of the pump.  So it is important to maintain a positive pressure on the pump prior to starting.

Once started and running, a centrifugal pump can operate with a vacuum, with its negative suction pressure, on the suction side of the pump, but prior to starting there could be air present in the pump casing to prevent proper operation. Continue reading

New Sprinkler Legislation Passes in New York

It would make sense that if you are renting or leasing a home, or at least thinking about doing so, you know whether or not the building you are looking at has a fire sprinkler system. This was not true in New York until this month, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will require new leases to detail, in BOLD print, whether or not the tenant will be protected by a fire sprinkler system. Continue reading