When designing a fire sprinkler system for any building, one of the first, and most important, steps is to analyze the water system in the area by having a water flow test performed by third party fire hydrant flow testing companies. Why is fire hydrant testing so important?

To work properly and control a fire, a sprinkler system must flow a certain amount of water with enough system pressure to be effective. The entire design must be based upon how much water flow and pressure is available from the water system – if this inspection and test information is not accurate, the design may fail and the fire will not be controlled! There are many options when it comes to fire hydrant flow tests and fire hydrant maintenance, so we explain each option in detail below.

Know Your Options for Fire Hydrant Testing 

There are many choices when it comes to getting a fire hydrant flow test done. Some will go right to the source and have the water department or fire department perform a water flow test. Others have the fire sprinkler contractor working on the project go out and run a test, while yet another option is to have third party engineers or fire hydrant testing companies perform this analysis.

Which option provides the greatest benefit for the project? Let’s look at each option of fire hydrant inspection companies & organizations.

Water Department or Fire Department

The water department seems like a logical choice to provide details about the available flow, however, there can be some unexpected issues. Some water departments have a great deal of pride in their systems which, intentionally or unintentionally, can result in inflated test numbers because they want to look good. Similarly, inflated numbers can come from some water or fire departments who want their city to be the one where the project gets built.

Another issue I have personally witnessed doing water flow tests all over the country is the fire hydrant flow test equipment used by water and fire departments. Many times regular equipment maintenance is not a high priority and the devices just get thrown in the truck to bounce around the city each and every day. This can seriously affect the flow test results this equipment will give you. Trust me, I also work for a fire department and I don’t trust their flow test gear – I borrow from the engineering firm! You want to be sure the hydrant flow test equipment is accurate.

Another issue I can attest to is that most firefighters just do not have much experience with testing water flow. It is important to have tests performed by experienced and educated fire hydrant flow testing companies.

Fire Sprinkler Contractors

What about the sprinkler contractor that is already working on the project?

Once again, many sprinkler contractors also do not have much experience with commercial fire hydrant flow testing. They can go through the motions and perform the test to get numbers, but they do not have the background to understand where the numbers come from. If the numbers do not match what should be produced by a water system, a sprinkler contractor may not catch it. This can cost the owner unnecessary money. That’s why you need experienced fire flow testing companies.

Benefits of Third Party Fire Hydrant Flow Testing Companies

So what are the benefits to hiring a third party engineering firm of water experts, like Alternatives In Engineering (AIE) for water supply testing?

Accurate Testing & Water Flow Test Results

First and foremost, we have the experience and ability to understand both the water supply system that is producing the flow test results and the fire sprinkler system the test is used to design. This allows fire hydrant testing companies to immediately understand if the test results are accurate and make sense based on the capability and operation of the water system.

Quickly Troubleshoot Issues

This knowledge and experience is important because if we believe the water system is not performing properly, we can help the water department troubleshoot the system while we are still on site. This saves time and money. AIE has discovered closed valves, partially closed valves, and other water system problems at various sites all over the country.

Recognize Alternatives to Save Time or Money

Another advantage of our engineering experience is the ability to use our knowledge of water systems and fire sprinkler systems to suggest possible alternates to a site’s water line layout that will satisfy fire water demands without the costly additions of fire pumps and/or water storage tanks. AIE can recognize possible alternatives before visiting the site, which can allow us to perform simultaneous hydrant flow tests on two different water mains to see if there is a benefit to connecting them to supply the site.

Save Money & Mitigate Extra Costs with Fire Hydrant Testing Companies

Some of our clients that use our services on a regular basis have realized savings on some projects that exceeded the costs of those services.

The bottom line is using a third party engineering firm for your water supply testing can help protect your bottom line and ensure the most accurate flow test results. Fire hydrant testing companies are experienced in the exact services you need. You can rest easy knowing all testing and equipment is accurate.

Whether you are looking at fire hydrant flow testing companies in St. Louis, or another part of the country, AIE’s team can perform the tests. If you have questions or want to learn more about water flow testing options or fire hydrant inspection companies, we are always here for you.


Information posted in our blog is merely for educational and informational purposes. While the information has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee its total accuracy, and it should not be considered legally binding advice. This blog is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, and should you decide to act upon the information, you do so at your own risk.