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Water surge or water hammer is a pressure wave in a piping system caused when a fluid in motion is forced to stop or change velocity or direction suddenly. Pressure surges in fire water systems can be caused by a number of different factors, such as a valve closing or opening too quickly or a pump starting or shutting down suddenly. This momentum change can create a significant and potentially damaging pressure rise.
Most fire protection systems are designed to operate at a maximum working pressure of 12 barg (175 psi). Pressure waves from water hammer or pressure surge can easily exceed 50 barg (740 psi), thus creating a very real threat of damage to piping and instrumentation.
The pictures below show two examples of catastrophic damage to piping and accessories caused by water surge/water hammer in fire protection systems.
In municipal fire pump applications, a water booster pump is often used to take water from a public service main or private use water system. The booster pump serves the purpose of increasing the existing water pressure to one suitable for the fire protection system. When designing or installing such a water booster pump, it is important to consider certain critical issues specific to water booster pumps.
This video presents the basic installation and the initial priming instructions for a BERMAD 7BM pre-action valve from the time you receive it, through to the installation and initial operation.
A fire event can cause untold damage to property. But sometimes the extinguishing water can do as much damage to protected items as the fire itself. This includes such places as computer rooms, film archives, museums and other moisture-sensitive areas. In such areas where a false alarm can be catastrophic and the deployment of water should be restricted to the fire area alone, rather than the whole building or room, it can make sense to use a preaction fire protection system.