Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Why does the Jockey Pump Run So Often?

Why does the Jockey Pump Run So Often?


Greetings Douglas,

The jockey pump starts every 30 minutes or so when the pressure drops from 200 PSI to 150 PSI. It only runs for one second.

What does that mean? Is there a leak in the system, or something else causing the problem?

Thank you, F M

The jockey pump is controlled by a separate controller from the main fire pump. Many times, the jockey control box is a separate control box, and is not monitored by the fire alarm system because the jockey pump isn't needed for fire suppression. The only purpose of the jockey pump is to keep the pressure in the sprinkler system high enough that the main fire pump will not turn on.

If the pressure indicator that you're looking at is showing the actual pressure of the sprinkler system, then there might be a water leak. The leak could be in a drain valve (I've seen that problem a couple of times), it could be in the backflow prevention valve, it could be in the bearings for the main fire pump, it could be somewhere else in the building. Leaks are one problem to check.

If the pressure isn't actually fluctuating, the problem could be in the jockey pump controller.

Either way, the problems should be looked at by someone from a sprinkler company.

Douglas Krantz
Based on his electronics training, and his understanding of Life Safety, Douglas Krantz has compiled his knowledge of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems into the book Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms. The book covers the basics of the Conventional Fire Alarm System, and shows how Life Safety and internal supervision affects the fire alarm system.

Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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