Niagara Fire has been performing hydrostatic testing at 150PSI for 2 hours on Fire Department Connections since 2018 as per N.F.P.A 25 code.
What is hydrostatic testing?
A hydrostatic test is a way in which pressure vessels such as pipelines, plumbing, gas cylinders, boilers and fuel tanks can be tested for strength and leaks. The test involves filling the vessel or pipe system with a liquid, usually water, which may be dyed to aid in visual leak detection, and pressurization of the vessel to the specified test pressure. Pressure tightness can be tested by shutting off the supply valve and observing whether there is a pressure loss. The location of a leak can be visually identified more easily if the water contains a colorant. Strength is usually tested by measuring permanent deformation of the container. Hydrostatic testing is the most common method employed for testing pipes and pressure vessels. Using this test helps maintain safety standards and durability of a vessel over time. Newly manufactured pieces are initially qualified using the hydrostatic test. They are then re-qualified at regular intervals using the proof pressure test which is also called the modified hydrostatic test. Testing of pressure vessels for transport and storage of gases is very important because such containers can explode if they fail under pressure. ~wikipedia
13.8.5 (“The piping from the Fire Department Connection to the fire department check valve shall be hydrostatically tested at 150PSI (10 bar) for 2 hours at least once every 5 years”).
The reason I bring this up is Fire Department Connections we have been testing at a variety of facilities have been failing this test at an alarming rate of 80%.
A fire department connection on a sprinkler system is used to boost the pressure in the sprinkler system from the fire departments pumper truck so that the sprinkler and system can extinguish the fire and make it safer for the fire department to enter the building.
Some failures have been minor, like the ball drip leaking but most have been major failures.
We have had 3 where the city check valve didn’t hold meaning water from the fire department connections just goes back into city water supply.
Most of the failures were due to improper installation. No Teflon or pipe sealant used and not made up tight. If the components were to blow apart under pressure of water, it could cost a firefighter their life.
With the pipe not being made up tight it would appear these fire department connections could not have been installed correctly and were probably never tested at 200 PSI during the original install.
General contractors on new builds should make sure that the sprinkler contractor includes the fire department connection in their 200lb test. The check valve needs to be turned around and fire department connection needs to be plugged off.
If you have any questions, or require an inspection, in Toronto, Barrie, or GTA, contact us.