In reviewing a fire pump test report written on a CA State Fire Marshal issued form, it indicates that a non-acceptable test result was found according to section 126.96.36.199 (adopted 2011 code, which appears as 188.8.131.52.8 in 2017 code). The formula on the CSFM test form is as follows:
Rated VA = V x FLA x SF (which is then compared against the measured VA)
The Pentair factory was consulted, as the fire pump is under warranty. In response to this test report, the factory's representative is suggesting that calculation of Rated VA should instead be replaced by calculation of Horsepower, and has yet to acknowledge that a non-acceptable result was found according to section 184.108.40.206 of the 2011 code. The proposed formula for alternatively determining an acceptable result is as follows:
hp = (volts*amperes*efficiency*power factor*1.73) / 746
It is assumed that this alternatively proposed measured hp is then meant to be compared against a rated hp. It is unknown if the rated hp calculation would then include corrections to the service factor according to the difference in elevation above sea level, differences in ambient conditions, etc. The manufacturer’s local representative has offered to take a measurement of the power factor under energized conditions. The calculated arc flash hazard at the fire pump control panel is in excess of 25 calories per centimeter squared, as evaluated in accordance with NFPA 70E.
However, I have a couple concerns:
- This suggests the test methodology for an acceptable result for a fire pump in California should deviate from that which is on the CSFM forms, which directly reference NFPA standards. CA Title 19, Division 1, section 904, further confirms testing should be in accordance with the national standard NFPA 25, 2011 edition.
- I am concerned about potential safety hazards for taking additional field measurements that are not already included in the factory furnished instrumentation built into the standard fire pump controller. Alternatively calculating horsepower, using an alternative calculation formula for test result determination, implies a measurement of power factor under live/energized conditions. This would seem to be counter to the bulletins fissued by NFPA.
Thank you in advance for any clarification in determination of an acceptable, or non-acceptable, electric fire pump test result according to NFPA 25. Please also let me know if any additional testing or measurements must be undertaken, such as live measurements of power factor, to establish a valid test result.