Home Fire Hose Setup Using An Electric Pool Pump, Or Lawn Irrigation Well Pump

 

Let me first say, this is not intended to replace a Fire Department.  There are a LOT of risks involved in fighting a fire, some very specialized training, and some very expensive gear.  My intent is to have another option.

I have about a 1/4 mile of woods behind our home.  Florida has had some nasty wildfires across the state in recent years.  I wanted a way to wet the woods behind our home, the shed, the grass, and the house.  Some proactive steps before evacuating if the situation deems it necessary.  I can leave a sprinkler setup on the roof just before we leave.  Lots of examples of roof sprinklers on Australian websites.

What I've not seen are people using EXISTING lawn irrigation pumps, or pool pumps to fight fires.  Plenty of gas powered pumps with a feed line in a pool, but why?  A typical pool or irrigation pump is 1.5HP.  Many of the gas powered stand-alone pumps are 6+HP.  Does this mean the electric pump can't do the job?  I think you'll be impressed with the results.

Below, I will show you what it took to modify a lawn irrigation setup, and a pool pump setup, to accept a standard 1.5" fire hose.  With my configuration, I have two separate water sources, pumps, and fire hoses.  The one weak link is electricity.  If the grid goes down, neither pump will work.  But there's a workaround.  I can run either pump from my Yamaha EF2400iS generator, or both pumps from my Champion 7500W generator.  Either can run from gasoline, or propane.

During Hurricane Mathew in 2016, the island I live on had mandatory evacuations.  Police, Fire, and Medical left.  The bridges were closed.  Those who stayed were on their own.  We did evacuate for that storm, but once we returned, emergency services still weren't back in place.  Worse yet, they had shut the water off to the island.  The fire hydrants had little water pressure.  If a fire started when the power was restored, this is a prime example of why I want to have the ability to limit the damage. 

 

 

Here's a source for most of the parts I purchased:

PVC Fittings: http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/PVC-Fittings-s/159.htm

100' used fire hose: https://www.firehosesupply.com/collections/used-fire-hoses/products/fire-hose-100-feet

1.5" pipe thread to 1.5" hose thread adapter: https://www.firehosesupply.com/collections/fire-hose-adapters/products/2-5-pipe-thread-to-1-5-standard-thread

1.5" Adjustable Fog Nozzle (plastic): https://www.firehosesupply.com/collections/spray-nozzles/products/fog-nozzle

Dixon Valve BN15F Brass Fire Hose Nozzle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AJT5NE0/

We bought this house a few years ago.  It was built in 1990, and the pool was original to the house.  No idea how old the hardware is, but it still works.  I'll be adding the valves and fire hose connector on the upper piece of PVC between the pump, and the tall filter.  Once everything is finished, I'll pretty up the entire area with weed blocking cloth, and some lava rock.

When I modified the propane connection on my generator, this was the recommended product to prevent gas leaks.  It's also recommended on PVC fittings that see water (not solvents).

I've used Teflon tape on fittings for years.  But they still tend to weep a little under pressure.  This stuff works great!  It seals immediately, no drying time necessary.  I now use this on all my threaded fittings.

I'm also installing a well pump for lawn irrigation.  The well had been abandoned for years.  Previous owner never used it, and didn't know the status.  I tested the well with a Harbor Freight utility pump for a few months to run a hose and sprinklers.  I'll modify the well pump, and the pool pump, to accept fire hoses.  The golf cart makes a great work platform.

I used a Dewalt portaband, and a Swag base to cut most of the 1.5" PVC.  The only downside is it doesn't make for a clean cut.  I used a deburing tool to remove the "fuzz" from the cut pipe.  I bought a new PVC pipe cutter shortly afterwards, pics of it in use below.

Here are most of the pieces needed to modify the pool pump setup.  A couple of 1.5" PVC cut to 4", a 1.5" slip fit PVC to 1.5" female pipe thread adapter, a 1.5" slip fit tee, and a couple of 1.5" slip fit ball valves (only one shown here).  Not pictured is the 1.5" brass male pipe thread to 1.5" hose thread adapter.

Here are the pieces put together.  Notice the smaller gap between the tee and the ball valve on the right.  I used a 3" section of 1.5" PVC to reduce the spacing.  I only have a 12" spacing on the existing pool pump plumbing that I need to insert this.  Any wider would require more parts to re-plumb the existing setup.

Another package from Fire Hose Supply arrived today.  A second 100' used 1.5" fire hose, the needed 1.5" brass male pipe thread to 1.5" hose thread adapter, a brass 2.5" fire hydrant to 1.5" hose adapter (I can now connect to the fire hydrant across the street in a worst case scenario - worry about consequences later), and a fire hydrant tool.

Even used, the products are in excellent condition.

I bought a large PVC cutter.  Think it's rated up to 2.5" pipe.  It made short work of cutting the 1.5" pipe coming from the pool pump.

A 7.5" section was removed to make room for the modification.

PVC (purple) primer was applied to all surfaces getting glued.

I let the glue set for about 5 minutes to cure.  It was pushing 90 degrees, making cure time short.

I powered up the pool pump, and diverted water out through the fire hose connection.

Time to connect the 100' fire hose.

The brass nozzle chokes the 1.5" stream down to 1/2".  Great for putting water on distant fires.

But I think I prefer the plastic fire nozzle.  It will go from a fog, to heavy stream, shooting about as far as the fixed brass nozzle.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm very pleased with the results.  I do plan on adding a support bracket for the sections of pipe that have the hose connector on them.  I might also add a power plug to each of the 1.5HP pumps.  This way they could be quickly disconnected from the grid, and plugged into a generator.  Other than these minor tweaks, just a little cleanup of the area, and some decorative lava rock, this project is complete.

 

 

Google

Back to the main page

 

Last updated 06/08/17    All rights reserved.