Smoke testing is the process of forcing smoke-filled air into the sewer or stormwater drainage system. The smoke, under pressure, will fill the entire system including junction lines.
As long as openings exist for the smoke to flow, smoke tests are effective, regardless of surface characteristics, soil make-up, and depth of sewer lines.
What is the purpose of smoke testing?
Whether in a municipal mainline sewer, residential or industrial system, smoke is forced through the sewer system and escapes through any cross connections, defects, cracks, leaks, etc. along the way.
The smoke that you will see coming from the vent stacks on houses is normal. However, smoke coming out of the grass or cracks in footpaths and driveways IS NOT normal and is considered a defect. It will also highlight illegal stormwater connections to the sewer system via yard surface drains and roof downpipes.
Generally, smoke testing is the only way to identify ongoing sewer gases which can cause health problems for occupants.
Is the smoke harmful?
The smoke is non-toxic, non-hazardous, and manufactured specifically for this purpose. The smoke has a distinctive, but not unpleasant odor leaves no residuals or stains, and has no effect on plants and animals.
Are there any preparations I need to consider?
Before Smoke testing can take place local police and fire agencies must be notified.
The smoke creates no fire hazard and will not enter your home or business unless you have defective plumbing or dried-up sink traps or floor drains. Prior to testing, please pour water into the seldom-used sinks or floor drains to prevent sewer gases, smoke, or odors from entering the premises.