What is a Hydrostatic Test

If you have a fire protection system in your facility, you are likely no stranger to all the tests required to keep it maintained. A hydrostatic test is just another one of those tests. We will discuss what the hydrostatic test is and why it is so important.

Ins and Outs

First, standpipes serve as a type of fire hydrant for the inside of your building. They allow firefighters access to water in case of a fire. Note that both wet and dry systems can use standpipes. The hydrostatic test examines standpipe systems that do not always contain pressurized air or water. For instance, automatic wet or dry standpipe systems or manual wet standpipes which are part of a combined system.

To illustrate, technicians increase the water pressure to a specific psi for a determined duration to test for leaks or check the integrity of the system. They typically tested at 200 psi minimum for 2 hours or 50 psi over the max psi where the maximum is over 150 psi. It is important that a qualified tech should always be the one to conduct this test. They will use a test pump to up the water pressure in the pipes and check the system for leaks. A leak can cause the system to fail when you need it during a fire. Additionally, the test exposes other damage and corrosion.

Moreover, professionals will look for visible leaks in the system or drops in pressure when pressurizing the system for two hours. Obviously, a drop in pressure but no visible leak could indicate a problem like an underground leak. Different drops in psi indicate different severities of a leak.

Hydrostatic Tests for Standpipe Systems

Mostly, techs conduct hydrostatic tests on manual standpipe systems and semiautomatic dry standpipe systems including piping to the fire department connection. A professional will perform the test every 5 years. If your business is new, you may not have had one yet. Essentially it tests for weaknesses in your system by turning the water up to a certain pressure.

Hydrostatic Tests for Sprinkler Systems

Alternatively, non-standpipe systems do not require hydrostatic testing regularly. Wet and dry pipe fire sprinklers are hydrostatically tested when they are installed or modified. After the install or large-scale modification, they must be tested using 200 psi for two hours. A tech will conduct the test similar to the standpipe test. At the lowest access point, a test pump introduces pressurized water and inspectors examine the system for leaks and check for pressure drops.

When Do you Need a Hydrostatic Test?

According to the most recent NFPA standards, “manual wet standpipes that are part of a combined sprinkler/standpipe system are not required to be hydrostatically tested in any edition.” If the pipes are from a fire department connection, test the check valve every five years. NFPA 25 standards name a few other instances requiring a hydro test.

Do you need a fire sprinkler installation or repair? Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing can help you design and install a fire sprinkler system for your facility.

Related Topics: Fire Protection
By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.

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