Flow Switch Testing
Are you responsible for any premises which are sprinkler protected, such as a shopping centre, a warehouse or factory? Then you’re well aware that your fire certificate stipulates that the system must be maintained and tested to the British standard, currently BS EN12845. This standard makes the quarterly flow switch test mandatory.
A flow switch is an electro-mechanical device that is the interface between a building’s fire suppression or sprinkler system and the fire alarm system. Flow switches don’t turn on or off the delivery of water, they just activate the fire alarm when they detect that water is moving in the system, such as when a sprinkler head has been activated.
All flow switches should be tested in accordance with TB203.3.2 as part of a mandatory quarterly service routine. For the test to be valid, sufficient water must pass the flow switch to activate it (equal to one sprinkler head in operation). Prior to the test, the pressure on both sides of the flow switch will be equal, maintaining an equilibrium with no water flowing.
During the test, water is discharged from the down-stream end of the pipe causing a drop in pressure (or in the case of a looped system, pumped around a closed circuit) which causes the flow switch to operate.
Sprinkler flow switches are usually tested before a shopping centre opens or work begins on a factory floor so that there’s minimum disruption for your customers or your work force. FSE engineers are used to working at unusual hours or before premises open and, once they are on site, they are available to undertake other mechanical, system or electrical work.
There are a number of advantages to this way of working. Cutting down on numerous trips by different engineers is cost effective and FSE is able us to pass on savings to our customers without compromising safety standards. It is also more environmentally friendly which, these days is an important consideration for many organisations.
All our engineers are employed by FSE and we do not use subcontractors. There are no middle men to pay and, by using only our own engineers, we are able to ensure job quality as well as continuity for our customers.