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Jockey Pump Requirements & Sizing - NFPA 20

Jockey Pump Requirements & Sizing - NFPA 20

Jockey Pump Requirements & Sizing - NFPA 20
Jockey Pump Requirements & Sizing - NFPA 20

What is jockey pump?!

A pump designed to maintain the pressure on the fire protection system between preset limits when the system is not flowing water.

General requirements of Jockey Pump:

  • Jockey pump is preferred to be of centrifugal type pumps 
  • Jockey pump shall be approved but shall not be required to be listed
  • The controller for a jockey pump shall be listed but shall not be required to be listed for fire pump service.
  • The jockey pump shall not be required to have alternate or standby power.

Valves of Jockey Pump:

  • An isolation valve shall be installed on the suction side of the jockey pump to isolate the pump for repair.
  • A check valve and isolation valve shall be installed in the discharge pipe of the jockey pump.
  • Valves and components for the jockey pump shall not be required to be listed.
  • The isolation valves serving the jockey pump shall not be required to be supervised.

Sensing line:

  • Jockey pump shall have its own individual pressure sensing line (15 mm) nominal size made between its discharge check & isolation valve.
For more information about sensing line, click here.

Jockey Pump Sizing:

The jockey pump shall be sized to replenish the fire protection system pressure due to allowable leakage and normal drops in pressure and shall have discharge pressure sufficient to maintain the desired fire protection system pressure as followings:

1- For situations where the jockey pump serves only above ground piping for fire sprinkler and standpipe systems:

The jockey pump should be sized to provide a flow less than a single fire sprinkler. The main fire pump should start and run (providing a pump running signal) for any water flow situation where a sprinkler has opened, which will not happen if the pressure maintenance pump is too large.

2- For situations where the jockey pump serves underground mains:

NFPA 24 permits the underground mains to have some leakage, one guideline that has been successfully used to size pressure maintenance pumps is to select a pump that will make up the allowable leakage rate in 10 minutes or 1 gpm, whichever is larger.
A rule of thumb  for sizing jockey pump supplying underground piping is to use 1% of the fire pump rated capacity.
For example:
A fire pump with rated capacity of 1500 gpm.
Then the jockey pump flow rate is 1500 gpm * 1% = 15 gpm.

Jockey Pump Head:

Pressure of jockey pump shall be greater than the pressure of main fire pump by minimum of 10 psi to avoid false starting of main fire pump.
For more information about setting of fire pumps, click here.

References of this article:

NFPA 20 - 2019 edition (Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection)

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  1. Replies
    1. You are welcome & thanks for your kind comment.
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  3. Sir I want to know that if Jockey pump is 20hp then what is capacity of jo key pump and how to calculate for 60 hp

  4. The seal on our jockey pump is leaking. Is it possible to just replace the seal ? Any NFPA requirements on who can do it and if its allowed ?

  5. Asking regarding the sensing line.. what fittings are used in the drain of sensing line. in the layout you showed had 2 gate valves with check valve between the gate valve, at what face does the check valve face?

  6. What is standard for choice capacity & head pressure of jockey pump?

  7. when jockey pumps starts and off in relation to fire pump function

  8. Is there any rules and regulations stating the 1+1 redundancy for jockey pump...? Means whether two jockey pumps are mandatory....??


  10. No relief valve after jockey discharge before the check valve?

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  12. thanks for information

  13. Hi! I’ve made mobile app for calculating pressure set for jockey and fire pumps. App is available for free in App Store & Google Play. Enjoy: