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The start-up and operation principle of the jockey pump system

Jul 31, 2023

The jockey pump system is a critical component of a fire protection system, specifically in fire sprinkler systems and fire hydrant systems. Its main function is to maintain a stable pressure in the fire protection piping, ensuring that the system is ready to deliver water for firefighting purposes at any given moment. The jockey pump helps prevent pressure drops due to small leaks or minor fluctuations in water demand, ensuring that the fire protection system remains effective and responsive. Here's how the start-up and operation principle of a jockey pump system typically works:

1. Initial Setup:

  • The jockey pump is a smaller pump compared to the main fire pump, often an electric pump.
  • The jockey pump is connected to the fire protection piping system, typically through a pressure maintenance or jockey pump controller.
  • The system is filled with water, and the jockey pump maintains a baseline pressure within the pipes even when the fire protection system is not in use.

2. Pressure Maintenance:

  • The jockey pump system constantly monitors the pressure in the fire protection piping.
  • If there's a minor drop in pressure due to leaks, thermal expansion, or other factors, the pressure maintenance controller activates the jockey pump.

3. Start-Up and Operation:

  • When the pressure drops below a certain preset threshold (set slightly above the normal operating pressure), the pressure maintenance controller signals the jockey pump to start.
  • The electric motor of the jockey pump starts running, and the pump begins to pump water into the system to restore the pressure.

4. Pressure Restoration:

  • As the jockey pump operates, it gradually restores the pressure to its optimal level within the fire protection piping.
  • Once the pressure reaches the preset upper threshold, the pressure maintenance controller signals the jockey pump to stop.

5. Continuous Monitoring:

  • The jockey pump system continues to monitor the pressure in the fire protection system and responds to pressure drops as needed.
  • This continuous monitoring and operation of the jockey pump ensure that the fire protection piping remains pressurized and ready to deliver water in case of a fire emergency.

6. Interaction with Main Fire Pump:

  • In larger fire protection systems, there might be a main fire pump responsible for delivering water at a much higher flow rate during an actual fire event.
  • The jockey pump and main fire pump work together. The jockey pump maintains pressure during non-fire situations, while the main fire pump kicks in when there's a significant water demand during a fire.

In summary, the jockey pump system plays a crucial role in maintaining a stable pressure within the fire protection piping, ensuring that the system is always ready to provide water for firefighting. It starts up automatically when pressure drops and stops when the desired pressure is restored. This system helps prevent pressure fluctuations and ensures the reliability and effectiveness of the fire protection system.

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