Many commercial buildings in Houston have large water storage tanks to meet city plumbing code requirements. These break tanks provide water for fire protection pumps and domestic (potable) water pumps to supply the building. A major concern with break tanks in the building is the potential for flooding due to tank overflow. This is especially critical when the tanks are in a basement level.
Many commercial buildings use storage tanks for Domestic (Potable) and Fire Water Applications, especially in Houston where it is required by code. As water is used in the building, an automatic system is required to replenish the water and maintain a constant level in the tank. In domestic applications, this process can repeat multiple times an hour during peak demand loads. An automatic level-control system has two main components, Fill Valves and Controls.
Some call them House Tanks, others Break Tanks, Storage Tanks or Buffer Tanks. If you have been in the pump room of a building in Houston, you’ve seen these large water tanks, but why are they used? The Houston Amendments to the Uniform Plumbing Code states that upstream from a pump system, an atmospheric storage tank with an air gap between the tank and city water supply must be used. This applies any time the city water pressure is insufficient to supply a building for both Domestic (potable) and Fire Water applications and the addition of pumps is required.