Fire hydrant testing tests fire flow pressure, hydrant flow testing, inspections, surveys and valve exercising

Comprehensive Inspections, Flow Testing and Reporting

Each year, water systems are affected by new construction, scheduled maintenance, erosion and other activities. In order to verify that all fire hydrants are fully operational, and water pressures are sufficient, it is vital to annually conduct comprehensive inspections, testing, and reporting. Public safety is everyone’s safety. This is why all fire hydrants are required to be verified to work on an annual basis. After verifying operability and flow pressures, it is equally important to maintain proper records indicating all work which was performed and any problem remedies and/or maintenance.

 

Fire hydrant safety issues are best detected during inspection and before an emergency.

DURING HYDRANT INSPECTIONS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO:

  • Find “OUT OF SERVICE” hydrants
  • Locate main valve leaks
  • Notate seized pumper and hose caps
  • Exercise the operating nut to ensure the hydrant will pressurize
  • Find broken couplings which would keep the hydrant from pressurizing
  • Find rotted gaskets to prevent leaks
  • Notate safety issues like broken flanges, cracked barrels, loose bonnets, rotted nuts & bolts, loose connections, etc..
  • Locate ant beds, wasp nests, broken glass, litter, etc…
  • Find hydrants hidden by brush and foliage
  • Check to ensure blue markers are present in road for locating hydrants at night
  • Note which hydrants should be repainted for a cleaner look
  • Located areas which may be affected by closed main line valves

What is the flow rate of fire hydants?

Flow rate or discharge flow-rate gauges can be measured from fire hydrant hose nozzles  during annual flow tests. Fire hydrant flow testing is done from the hose nozzles, 2.5in the most common size for fire hydrant flow testing. Always anticiptate pressure ranges within your distribution system. Along with fire hydrant inspections, conducting fire hydrant flow testing and fire flow tests on each hydrant provide necessary information so water department personnel and the fire department can accurately estimate the capabilities of water mains.  Another important reason for fire flow testing, flushing, and inspections is that having these functions performed on a regular basis can help lower your ISO rating. Fire hydrant flow tests and hydrant inspections can also help limit your liability.
Flow testing is done via pitot-tube. A pitot tube is an instrument used to measure fluid flow velocity.

 

Annual hydrant flow testing:

Significant components of water supply systems are fire hydrant tests while conducting safety inspections.
Water systems are constantly being impacted by improvements, aging, weathering, changes in usage, and water department maintenance activities which may affect zone valve settings. As a result it is important to annually test all fire hydrants to determine what their capabilities would be in an emergency.
Fire flow tests conducted on hydrants determine water availability for planning firefighting activities, sprinklers or domestic demand. Tests data helps determine general conditions of water distribution systems. Closed valves can be detected during flow testing.

 

Once the fire flow test is initiated, we determine the gallons per minute available at each fire hydrant. Included in the fire flow testing are:
  • Static pressure
  • Flow pressure
  • Residual Pressure
  • Gallons per minute at hose nozzle
  • Main size diameter
  • Date and time of inspection

After a fire hydrant survey is complete, a Fire Hydrant Survey Report should be provided outlining all information in an organized manner gathered during the survey. The report includes:

1. Out of service hydrants
2. Flow classifications (how much water is available?)
3. Hydrant classification per NFPA (Standard, Usable, Unusable)
4. Hydrant in extreme need of lube, oil, grease
5. Seized operating nuts and hose caps
6. Loose nozzles needing to be recaulked
7. Main valves that do not seal and leak water
8. Bonnet and flange repairs
9. Miscellaneous parts needed
10. Hydrants needing extensions
11. Blue markers missing
12. Accessibility of each hydrant
13. Missing chains and S-hooks
14. Needed paint
15. Locations with excessively dirty flow
16. New hydrant locations
17. Private hydrants 

 

In summary, the main reasons for flow testing fire hydrants throughout a system are:

1. Know how much water is available for fighting fires
2. Determine the general conditions throughout the distribution system
3. Detect closed valves by isolating low pressure zones

 

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Reach out to an inspector and consultant directly. Our team of fire hydrant inspectors and consultants have decades of experience.
Flow tests for cities and private entities. We also provide fire hydrant and valve surveying for GIS and work order management systems