Guide to Fire Pumps: Diesel vs Electric

In the realm of fire protection, fire pumps play a crucial role in safeguarding both lives and property. These pumps are essential for maintaining adequate water pressure in a fire protection piping system, especially in scenarios where the local municipal water system cannot provide sufficient pressure on its own.


We will explore the most common questions we get asked, such as how fire pumps operate, the various types, their uses, and the necessary maintenance practices, focusing on both electric and diesel fire pumps.

How does a fire pump work?

A fire pump activates when the fire protection system detects a drop in pressure below a set threshold, typically due to the opening of a fire sprinkler. Once activated, the fire pump draws water from a static water source, like a reservoir or tank, and delivers it at high pressure to the fire sprinkler system, ensuring that the system has sufficient flow and pressure to effectively combat fires.


What is the most common type of fire pump?

Centrifugal pumps are the most commonly used types of fire pumps. We build packaged complete fire pump sets in Adelaide, equipped with all necessary components, including suction and discharge manifolds, valves, bunded fuel tanks and controllers. Additionally, they feature a jacking pump and switches, all pre-wired, pre-plumbed, and tested to ensure reliability and performance. Our fire pumps are available with ISO End Suction Centrifugal Pumps, known for their simplicity and efficiency. These can be configured with either diesel or electric-driven motors, catering to various operational needs and ensuring versatility across different fire safety applications.


When is a Fire Pump Required?

Fire pumps are mandated by building codes and insurance carriers when the water supply system lacks the capacity to meet the hydraulic design requirements of a fire protection system. This can include situations where the building is exceptionally tall, like in high-rise structures, or where large flow rates are needed, as in industrial complexes.


What is a Fire Pump Controller

A fire pump controller is a crucial component that manages the operation of the fire pump. It automatically starts the pump when it senses a drop in pressure within the fire protection system and ensures the pump runs at optimal conditions. 


What is a fire pump used for?

The primary use of a fire pump is to enhance the water flow and pressure in fire suppression systems, essential in effectively containing and extinguishing fires. They are particularly critical in facilities where high water volume and pressure are required to reach elevated or remote areas.


Fire Pump Maintenance and Testing

Regular testing and maintenance are crucial to ensure that fire pumps perform reliably in an emergency. Australian Standard AS 1851-2012 covers the routine service of fire protection systems and equipment. During these tests, it is essential to run the pump under load to verify that it operates correctly and meets the required performance levels.


Diesel vs. Electric Fire Pumps

Choosing between a diesel and an electric fire pump depends largely on the specific needs of the property and the reliability of the local power grid. Diesel fire pumps may be preferred in locations where electrical power is unreliable or where it is critical to have a pump that can operate independently of the power grid. Diesel pumps are also valued for their robustness and ability to start up quickly under power failure conditions. It is very common for Global Pumps to design and package a dual diesel/electric pack to combine the best of both worlds.


How does a diesel fire pump work?

A diesel fire pump operates on a diesel engine, which drives the pump’s impeller to move water through the pump and into the fire suppression system. This type of pump is equipped with a fuel tank, batteries, and other controls to ensure it can operate autonomously. They require regular maintenance, including checks on the engine, fuel system, and batteries to ensure readiness at all times.


Fire pumps, whether electric or diesel, are integral to effective fire safety strategies in many modern buildings. By understanding the operation, types, requirements, and maintenance of these systems, mechanical engineers and fire protection professionals can better design, implement, and maintain systems that enhance safety and comply with all applicable regulations. Regular upkeep, maintenance and testing are indispensable in ensuring these life-saving systems perform optimally when needed most. Feel free to contact our engineering team for any further questions or specific project needs.

Tags: Mining, Fire pumps


Guide to Selecting the Best Pump

If you need some guidance on how to select the right pump then you’re not alone! There’s such a wide range of pumps in Australia, from centrifugal pumps to hose pumps to diaphragm pumps. The options available to you can make it a difficult choice, so we’ve created this special guide to help step you through the process of selecting the ideal pump for your requirements.


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