Smoke Testing Basics

Smoke Testing Basics

Smoke testing is an efficient and cost-effective way to identify trouble spots along your water lines. This type of testing helps you pinpoint the source of an inflow or identify problematic infiltration. Of course, it’s better to located problems when they’re small and before the repairs become very expensive.

Why Testing Is Needed

Inflow and infiltration are especially troublesome situations. They affect the efficiency of water facility operations and lead to increasing operational costs. There are several ways that that these problems affect facilities:

  • The pump or pump station must handle more water than their designs can handle.
  • The risk of hydraulic overloads gets higher and the probability of decreasing system efficiency grows.
  • Unnecessary wear and tear on the system increases the operating costs.
  • This wear and tear also increases the need for equipment maintenance and repair.

Of course, older facilities may have a lot of outdated materials along the water and plumbing systems. There may be complicated twists, turns, and connections that increase the potential for damage. Smoke testing is a safe and efficient way to identify cracks or areas of weakness along those lines.

Importance of Notifying Building Owners and Occupants

During testing, smoke may escape through buildings or surrounding properties due to damage along the water systems. Before the day of testing, be sure to alert anyone who’ll be working in those areas, so they aren’t concerned if they notice the smell or sight of smoke. It’s best to stress the safety of the smoke and the need for identifying areas that need repairs.

The Risk of and Response to Sewer Gas

However, it’s also important that any areas where smoke appears are tested. If sewer gases enter the buildings, they pose risks to people in the area. Professionals should recognize the distinctive smell of the safe gas and understand how to recognize sewer gas. Immediate action should be taken to correct any smoke or gas entering the buildings.

Smoke testing can be very useful for identifying many potential forms of trouble along pipe, sewer, and water systems. These tests are particularly valuable for systems that tend to run underground or otherwise out of sight.