What Is Smoke Testing?
A smoke test forces non-toxic, artificially created smoke through waste and drain pipes under a slight pressure to find leaks. These plumes of smoke form where there are defects. This test can be performed when the plumbing is brand new, but more often it is used to find sewer gas leaks that may plague a building or an area.
Smoke testing only takes a few hours, and forces smoke filled air into the sanitary sewer system. The smoke is non-toxic, odorless, and fills the sewer line and only escapes to the surface if there are any defects in the sanitary sewer system that need repair. Smoke testing is normally done between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and requires the ground be dry. Rain may delay scheduled testing.
Any sign of smoke escaping can be considered a possible site for sewer gas to escape. Sewer gas typically has a rotten egg smell and can contain methane gas, which is explosive, or hydrogen sulfide gas, which is deadly. By performing periodical smoke tests, we can assure ourselves that our environment is healthy and livable.