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  • Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

    Anyone use these? got one you like?

    Got a ghetto low cost version?

    Set off smoke detectors?

    Alternatives? are there sniffers which will find the vent leak w/o smoking the system? I've got 5 trips and a $1200 bill in finding two open vents in a hotel; they would not let me call the folks I use to smoke it as they were concerned (and justifiably so imho) about setting off the smoke alarms and sprinklers and/or smoking out the building.
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

  • #2
    Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

    You can also use peppermint oil bought at most drug stores. It's not exact but will get you within a room. Just make sure whoever applies isn't the one smelling for it as it's so strong, it'll kill your sense of smell for awhile.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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    • #3
      Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

      Peppermint is good.In a pinch pine-sol is great and when you find your leak every one thinks you just mopped up!

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      • #4
        Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

        when doing a peppermint test mix the peppermint in a 5 gallon bucket
        of real hot water. have a guy pour it down the vent stack.
        a don't let him back in the building. keep all doors closed if possible
        to isolate the smell.

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        • #5
          Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

          Well, I called them just now and no smell for the last 5 days or so so I'm closing it out as solved... chased it down with the sewer cleaner's nose for stink, drove me crazy as turned out to be a dry trap, and an open 3", AND an open 2" vent, the last a long way away from where it surfaced. Will try the peppermint oil next time until a better alternative comes along. Still wondering if there is a sniffer, mabe something the gas guys use? that will find sewer gas, or if anyone knows of a visual cue to introduce to the system ala smoke.
          This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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          • #6
            Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

            I think the gas co. sniffer operates on the chemical that gives gas the odor. Most new parents can smell sewage right away.

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            • #7
              Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

              We used to use a peppermint grenade. Concentrated peppermint oil in a small sealed test tube. Drop it down a vent stack and it broke on impact. Less cross contamination this way.

              Now we just drop a smoke bomb down the stack followed up with a leaf blower.

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              • #8
                Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

                Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                Now we just drop a smoke bomb down the stack followed up with a leaf blower.

                You use like a fireworks type smoke bomb? or the pellets they sell in 'Cleaner' ads? how do those pellets make smoke? burn? react with water?

                You ever set off the smoke alarms? this was a hotel with three restaraunts in it. They and I were worried it'd set off the smoke alarms and put all their guests outside, set off the fire dept etc. Didn't want to get into taking the system off line, notifying fire dept dispatch etc. In the end it might have been cheaper and faster than having me make five trips over there to sniff it all out.
                This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

                  I get my smoke bombs from a local rodent exterminator. He has the best ones. I'll look on my truck for a name. Every 5 or 6 seem to be duds. They don't do well in water.

                  Hotels are a tough call. Do it mid-day when most rooms are empty. The visual from smoke will get you closer to the leak than a peppermint bomb. Be sure you shut down all ventilation fans too.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

                    I would consider the following if doing a smoke test in an occupied building, especially if it involves a large number of people.

                    You don't know for sure all the possible places that smoke might surface, and you don't know who might be in that area if a puff of smoke appears. So even if you had the smoke alarms turned OFF someone still might see the smoke and sound a manual alarm or call 911. And by the way, I don't know if you could legally turn the alarm OFF, you might want to check with the Fire Dept and the building owner for starters. What would happen if a real fire did break out in a building with say 300 people in it and the alarm was turned off? If anyone got more than a scratch you can bet that someone will be getting sued when they find out the alarm was turned off.

                    Post signs on all entrances that a test is in progress and give the date and time span to alert transients who enter the building.

                    Notify the buildings normal day-to-day occupants at least two days before the test so they are not caught off guard.

                    The smoke bombs I remember using were made for Plumbers. They were a cardboard tube about 6" long and 1.25" dia. with a waterproof fuse and provided about 15 minutes of smoke. We used them on many high rise tests in the 70s and early 80s, and we used peppermint too. I remember that we took a 55 gal drum and modified it to be the smoke generator. We ran a HD vacuum hose to the stack to be tested and had sealed off and the vent capped off up on the roof. We used a commercial shop vac to pump air into the 55G drum which is where the smoke bombs were placed. This pushed smoke and air into the building and any leaks were painfully obvious. A wax ring not making a good seal or a loose no-hub band were quickly revealed.
                    Last edited by Bob D.; 11-11-2008, 07:52 AM.
                    ---------------
                    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                    ---------------
                    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
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                    • #11
                      Re: Smoke systems for vent leaks/ smell problems

                      BINGO THANKS GOOGLE THANKS RIDGID MEN [ boy ,that sounds strange !]
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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