Fire hydrant flow testing is an important step in ensuring that the designated fire hydrant or hydrants are functioning as they should. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) specifies how and when these test should be done. This overview will cover basic information on fire hydrant flow tests so you can know what to expect when one is done on your property with a fire hydrant located on or near it.
Who Performs Flow Tests?
A fire hydrant flow test cannot be performed by just anyone. Only a licensed contractor with the correct engineering expertise can perform a flow test. While the exact requirements for who can conduct these tests will vary on a state to state basis, the tester needs to prove they have the necessary knowledge and skill set to do the job. There are many fire protection and flow testing companies out there who offer this service.
How Often Should a Flow Test Be Conducted?
Flow tests are not simply a recommended procedure; they are a requirement. The AWWA, the American Water Works Association, recommends that all areas should undergo testing every ten years or sooner. The NFPA requires that underground and exposed piping be flow tested at least every five years. However, some states choose to have flow tests conducted once every year.
When Is a Flow Test Conducted?
According to the NFPA, fire hydrant flow tests need to be conducted during a time with “ordinary” water demand. This time differs for residential and commercial settings. While people often use water in their homes during non-working hours like 6:00 am to 9:00 am or 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, operating work hours between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm is ideal for commercial settings.
Fire hydrant flow tests will help you best prepare your home or your business in the case of a fire. Regular testing can help you determine any issues ahead of time.