Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

Will the Waterflow Switch Activate the Turned-Off Fire Pump?

By Douglas Krantz | Suppression

Will the Waterflow Switch Activate the Turned-Off Fire Pump?

Will the Waterflow Switch Activate the Turned-Off Fire Pump?

Greetings Douglas,

Since no record is on file of the Acceptance Certificate from the developer, our condominium unit owners assumed that AFSS [Automatic Fire Suppression System] and FDAS [Fire Detection and Alarm System] were not tested and commissioned.

In spite of our follow up, no action was taken from the developer and in the last 5 years. The fire alarm panel is also just turned off.

Question: will the Flow Switch send a signal to the panel and activate the Fire Pump?

I would appreciate very much appreciate your technical advice and looking forward of your reply. Thank you and more power.

Thank You, AN

Unless the flow switch, the fire pump, and the fire alarm panel are wired really weird, the water flowing past the flow switch will not override the "turn-off" switches on either the fire pump or the fire alarm system. When there's a fire, because everything is turned off, they'll stay off; right now, there is no "Automatic" Fire Suppression System, and no Fire Detection and Alarm System.

Using the Flow Switch to Turn-On the Fire Pump

To turn on the pump in case of fire, there is the possibility of wiring the flow switch into the main fire pump controller, but there is a major drawback to doing that.

If you're concerned with the system being tested and commissioned, using the flow switch will not pass commissioning. The biggest problem is that it cannot be tested properly. Yes, you can test it to make sure that at the time you test it, it will work. However, to make sure it will work reliably, and under all circumstances, the two systems working together requires laboratory testing.

The manufacturers have used UL, ULC, CE, FM, CCC, or other testing laboratories to test the systems to make sure they work reliably. However, neither the fire pump controller not the fire alarm have been tested to turn-on, and then activate when the waterflow switch detects flowing water.

Turning Everything Back On

Not commissioning the fire pump or the Fire Detection and Alarm System (FDAS) is a problem that should have been addressed originally by the developers. However, I'm not certain about what legal recourse you are able to use at this point.

For the big picture, legal recourse isn't the issue here, life safety is the issue. Think about it this way. If someone was injured, or worse, because of a failure of the fire pump starting and failure of the fire alarm system giving warning to evacuate the building, that person would be injured, or worse.

Yes, commissioning is important, but commissioning does not override the turning-off of either the fire pump or the fire alarm system. I know that it costs money, but hire a fire sprinkler company and a fire alarm service company to come in and fix both systems.

Remember, the developer doesn't have any skin in the game. But it's your life, and the lives of all the other condo residents that are in in balance.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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