Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing




Why choose CLOUD 9 SERVICES?

Sanitary sewer smoke testing is one of the best and most cost effective ways to locate defects in the main and lateral sewer lines. This is why many cities and municipalities implement sanitary smoke testing are their method to assess the sewer system.
Smoke testing identifies problems in all of the connected lines even in sections that were not known to exist. Although video inspection and other techniques are proven to be useful, there are times when research has shown that more than half of all stormwater actually flows in from somewhere other than the main line.
With sanitary smoke testing, smoke travels through the system, locating and identifying problems in all of the lines. 
Experts recommend this to be done when the weather is dry, this allows smoke to travel to the surface. It is also a relatively simple process that consists of blowing smoke mixed with a large amount of air into the sanitary sewer line through a manhole. 

What is the purpose of smoke testing


Smoke testing is one of the most accurate, effective and cost effective ways to determine if there are any damages, cracks, defects and leaks. Smoke testing has grown in popularity because it not only identifies problems in the main sewer line but it also locates problems in service lateral lines that connect. 

Smoke testing has grown in popularity because it not only identifies problems in the main sewer line but it also locates problems in service lateral lines that connect. This is why many cities and municipalities choose to implement smoke testing as a way of evaluating the state of a sanitary sewer system.

How does smoke testing work

Smoke testing involves forcing smoke-filled through a sewer line. 
Once the smoke is pressured into the main line and any other lateral connections. As the smoke travels through the pipes it will, the source of the problem will be revealed.

Smoke coming out of the manhole lid  will indicate a good system. If the line has defects, the smoke will escape up and through the ground. 

As long as there are openings for the smoke to follow, smoke tests will be completely effective and accurate of any defects or damages in the line system. It is one of the most accurate ways to locate any type of infiltration or ex-filtration problems in the sewer system. 

Why is smoke testing important? Smoke testing helps identify any leaks in buildings or properties. It's a tool that companies all over the nation use as a way of preventing any threat to clean water supply. 

Is the smoke hazardous

Smoke is used in smoke tests to indicate a break or any type of damage or defect in the underground system. Once smoke escapes up and through the ground and not manholes, it indicates there is an issue in the subsurface system.
The smoke used during smoke testing is not harmful and will not cause any harm to plants, pets or yourself. The source of smoke comes from a smoke fluid system which is usually a petroleum-based product. The smoke won't be harmful to anything in its proximity. It is also not flammable and does not create a fire hazard. 

Is there anything I can do to prepare for smoke testing

During smoke testing, field crews force smoke into the sanitary sewer. When this process begins, there is a possibility that the smoke will enter the residency, due to infrequently used drains or a defect in the sewer pipes.  According to experts, a drain trap is the S-shaped curvature or elbow in the pipe typically found under sinks, is designed to capture and hold water in the trap’s curve. This water then creates a type of seal and blocks gases from exiting through the drain and into the customer’s home. The traps curve will also keep it from going into your home.
If you have a drain in your home that isn’t always used, we recommend you run water in these areas to maintain it in proper working condition and keep it from becoming a dry drain. By doing this, you are also preventing smoke to enter your home. 

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Sewer Smoke Testing Equipment


During a sewer smoke test, high-capacity blowers are used to pump smoke into a manhole. Smoke then travels into the system and emerges from the cracks in the sidewalk and at a downstream manhole. 
The equipment needed to successfully perform a sewer smoke test include the blower and the smoke.
There are two types of blowers available: squirrel cage and direct drive propeller. Generally, squirrel cage blowers are usually larger in size but can provide more static pressure. 
Propeller-style blowers tend to be more compact and offer more cfm (cubic feet per minute).

There are also two different types of smoke: classic smoke candles and smoke fluids. Smoke candles were first used for sewer smoke testing when the process was first introduced. 
Another type of smoke is a smoke fluid system. This system involves injecting a smoke fluid into the hot exhaust stream of the engine.

If the sewer works properly, then the forced smoke will emerge from the manholes. If the system has damages or defects, the smoke will escape from the break. 

1. Smoke Blower


A smoke blower is designed to sit on and blow into an open manhole. The objective is to generate a adequate smoke flow to find any cracks or faults in the system. 

Smoke blowers can be configured to use smoke fluid and or smoke candles. 

2. Smoke Fluid Pressure Tank


This is simply the canister for the liquid smoke. 


Will the smoke come into my house?


It's possible but unlikely. In rare chance that your washing machine, garbage disposal, dishwasher, etc. Was not installed correctly than yes. Your house is equipped with a drain trap to prevent this from happen.   


How-ever do note that if smoke does come into your house than so can dangerous sewer gases. 


If you happen to see smoke inside your house. Please locate one of our smoke testing crew members and they will assist you. 

I see smoke coming out of my roof vent is this normal?

Yes, roof vents are where the smoke should be released from.  

I don't see any smoke at all?

This might be a good thing. If the sanitary sewer lines are in good condition. The smoke will migrate along the sanitary pipes and appear again at the next manhole. Our techs will also check the sewer vent pipes on your house. How-ever in some cases the smoke doesn't reappear and since it has to go somewhere. We will continue the investigation until we find where the smoke is ending up.


If the smoke gets in my house will it set off my smoke alarm?

Yes, your smoke alarms may go off during testing if smoke enters your house. If it does, open a few windows and a few doors for ventilation. When in doubt or not 100% sure call 911 immediately.

How long will the test take?

While we might be in your area for a few hours. The actual smoke test takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Your house or property will only be in the testing area once or twice. 


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Rick Fender


(407) 481-2750


1201 W. Jackson St

Orlando, FL 32805

cloud 9 service, Emergency plumbing
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