When Should You Consider a Nozzle Change?

How do you know when it’s time to change your firefighting nozzles? As it turns out, there are quite a few reasons for fire departments to change their nozzles. The process can be time consuming with evaluation, demonstrations, purchase, and implementation, though.  

If you are curious about whether a nozzle change makes sense for your department, keep reading! In this article we are going to explore four reasons a department might decide to make a fire nozzle change. 

Broken or Poorly Functioning Nozzles 

The most obvious reason for a nozzle update is if your nozzles are broken or function poorly. This could be due to age, heavy use, or poor maintenance. Like any other piece of equipment, a nozzle will eventually require replacement. You can extend the life of your fire nozzles by caring for them properly, with many of them lasting decades with proper maintenance.  

Replacement should take place if your nozzle becomes unreliable or damaged according to any of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) guidelines.  

You may also opt for replacement if the repair and service costs of your current nozzles become too high. This is possible with older nozzles that have been discontinued, as manufacturers often no longer make the parts you need for repairs. 

Failed NFPA Testing 

You annually test your nozzles following NFPA 1962 and know the guidelines. If your nozzle fails the testing requirements, you will need to investigate repair or replacement and compare your options. Your decision to repair or replace your nozzles will depend on several factors. These may include the age of your nozzles, the reason for the failure, or the cost of repair. 

If you cannot repair the nozzle, or you repair it and it still fails the testing requirements, you will end up replacing the nozzle. 

New Standard Operating Procedures 

Your department may create new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for several reasons. They may be a response to training, changes during a review of current SOPs, or updates due to new construction or changes in your response district.  

If the flow rates in your new SOPs differ from your earlier flow rates, require a different pressure, or include the need for a fog or straight stream pattern, you may need to buy new nozzles to comply with this change. 

Department Preference 

Many departments choose to replace their nozzles for reasons based on preferences. You may decide to integrate a new type of nozzle into your operating procedures and initial attack, desire something with lower maintenance requirements, or realize that you are not using the functionality of your current nozzles to their full capacity. 

It is also common to see fire departments moving to lower pressure nozzles to minimize their nozzle reaction. If this is your goal, remember to keep your hose in mind. Certain hose types do not work as well with lower pressure nozzles. 

Wondering what to consider when choosing nozzles and hoses? Read more here! 


There are a variety of reasons that departments change nozzles. Your nozzle change should be made to meet your response district's needs and ensure you have the equipment you need.