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What are smoke testers used for?

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smoke testing sign, smoke testers, smoke pellets, plumbing smoke test Smoke testers are used to conduct smoke tests, which can be applied to a variety of situations.

Chimney maintenance

smoke test chimney

Testing a chimney for leaks

Smoke testers are used to fill a chimney flue with non-toxic smoke. The fireplace and chimney top are sealed off and then the chimney is inspected in all areas; any plumes of smoke emitting from the chimney or leaking into rooms is sign of a defect in the chimney. Remedial work is then carried out on all the necessary defects.

Testing a chimney for draw

Smoke testers are also used in chimney maintenance to conduct a very simple test which will tell you if your chimney is drawing or not. This is usually something as simple as lighting a smoke match or pellet and holding it in the grate of the fireplace. If the smoke is drawn up the chimney then the chimney is drawing. For more information, see our page: How to smoke test a chimney?

Plumbing maintenance

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Smoke testing boilers

Modern domestic boilers are usually sealed units and, therefore, will not require this kind of smoke test.

However, if you have an older style boiler with an open flue, there may come a time when you will need to check if it is drawing.

boiler smoke test Your smoke pellet or match can be used in the same way as it would when testing for draw with a chimney flue. These jobs should be performed by a gas safe qualified engineer.
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Smoke testing drains (below ground level)

Smoke testers are often used to test drains and sewers for leaks or cracks where waste gases may be leaking into a building or area.

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Smoke testing drains (above ground level)

Smoke tests can be performed on drains above ground as well as below.

For more information see our page: How to smoke test drains and sewers?

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Smoke testing pipes

Smoke tests are also used to locate damaged pipes that spill water or waste fluid into the surrounding area.

Tree roots are the most common cause of broken pipes.

Domestic applications

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Testing fire alarms

It is important that fire alarms are tested regularly.

Using a smoke tester match or pellet is an effective way to test them with harmless, non-toxic smoke.

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Testing ventilation and air flow

You can check if your air vents have a proper draft by lighting a smoke match. If the smoke drafts immediately towards and up the vent then the ventilation is drawing.

The smoke should not linger and should draw upwards quickly.

smoke testing for drafts, smoke test, smoke matches, incence stick

Testing for draughts and air leaks

By holding a smoke match close to the seal of a window, door or plug socket etc. you will be able to tell if there are any draughts or air leaks present by watching where the smoke goes.

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