How Smoke Testing Works

Posted by on Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 in Uncategorised

Smoke testing is a procedure used to identify problems in sewer systems. It involves filling the principal line, as well as any additional connections with smoke. This is a simple method of verifying for leaks and infiltration problems.

Identifying leaks is important, as sewer gases can enter buildings and cause health issues for the residents in question. The slight pressure is necessary to force the smoke through sewer lines. If there are any defects, there will be visible plumes of smoke in the respective areas.

In this article we’ll reveal what smoke testing is, how it works and why smoke testing is a highly important plumbing practice.


How does smoke testing work?

A field crew will come and force smoke-filled air through the sewer system. They will then monitor where there is smoke. When smoke appears at the ground surface, they can identify the source of the problem. 

As mentioned above, the procedure is necessary not only to determine leaks, but also to pinpoint any infiltrations (ground water, storm runoff, etc.).

To perform this test, a smoke generator is placed over a manhole. The attached fan will force the smoke to travel through the principal line and its connections. If there are no defects, smoke comes through ventilation pipes locate on the roof of the house.

To conclude, these are some key reasons for why smoke testing is recommended:

  •   Identification of leaks in the primary sewer line, plus additional connections (service lines)
  •   Verification of odor sources (sewer gases that are harmful to one’s health)
  •   Identification of plumbing issues, including faulty connections, broken pipes, and dry traps.


What happens if smoke enters the house?

This is one of the most common questions people have. If this happens, we recommend that you open the windows and doors for the smoke to disperse. You may then ask someone from the field crew performing the test to come and assist you. If there is a plumbing defect, identifying the source should be the number one priority.

You should also test your smoke detectors for such purposes. Where is the test button on a smoke alarm? You can find it on one side and, upon being pressed, it should produce a high-pitched sound. If this does not work, you may need to replace the batteries or ask an electrician to check it out. The specialist might recommend changing the device.

You can also purchase an aerosol spray to test your smoke detector. Use it around the alarm to make sure the smoke sensor works. To verify the alarm, you can also use actual smoke, such as the one coming from matches — but you should always be extra careful in such situations.

How to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

This process is pretty much similar. You just press on the test button and wait for the alarm to sound. To make sure the sensor functions as it should, you can use smoke materials such as the ones mentioned above. For carbon monoxide detectors, however, you should know that there is no test crisis (you cannot force it to go off — you should only test if the device works).

Contact Us

For those of you looking to learn more about how smoke testing works, how to test your smoke alarm or what steps you should take next, contact Miles Plumbing Services Ltd. today!