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Frequently Asked Questions

Superior Classic Smoke Questions

Q: How hot do superior smoke generators get?
Q: When is the best time to Smoke Test?
Q: What does "cool Burning" mean?
Q: How do I dispose of a Superior Smoke Generator?
Q: Should I avoid exposure to Superior Classic Smoke?
Q: What is better Classic Smoke or a Fluid System?
Q: What type of respirator should I buy for Fire Training?
Q: How do I test a residential heat exchanger?
Q: What if Smoke during a sewer test enters someone's home?
Q: Are Superior Smoke Candles a source of ignition?
Q: After firing, do Electric Squibs have a open or closed circuit?
Q: Is Superior Smoke corrosive to ducting?

ST-10 Smoke Machine Questions

Q: The ready light on my ST-10 Smoke Machine does not come on.
Q: What is the best setting on the ST-10 for long smoke durations?

 

Superior Classic Smoke Questions

Q: How hot do superior smoke generators get?
A: Superior smoke generators do not have an external flame and do not emit sparks or embers under normal conditions, but they do generate heat. The smoke is hot right at the exit hole, but quickly cools to ambient temperature, and several inches from the tube it is no longer hot at all. Care must be taken to avoid contact with combustible materials. The smoke generator should be placed on the ground immediately after lighting and thereafter should not be held or moved by hand.

Q: When is the best time to Smoke Test?
A: See "When is the Best Time to Smoke Test"

Q: What does "cool Burning" mean?
A: Many different terms are used in different industries, and sometimes they mean different things to different people.  Terms such as “cold burning” are misleading as “burning” certainly implies some kind of heat, which is the opposite of “cold”, so we do not use this confusing terminology. We use the term “cool burning” to clarify that Superior® Smoke Generators do not have an external flame, and compared to “military” type smokes and most colored smokes our products create much less heat, and have a lower risk of causing fire or injury.  Superior® Smoke Generators do generate heat – the smoke is hot as it exits the tube, and the tube body gets hot to the touch.  Our Smoke quickly cools to ambient temperature – several inches from the tube it is no longer hot at all, and the smoke cloud will be the same temperature as the surrounding air.  Superior® Smoke does not stain, and will not leave any residue when used as directed. Superior® Smoke is considered a Non-Pyrotechnic Smoke, as it is Non-Explosive*, does not have an external flame, and does not emit sparks or embers under normal conditions.  As the smoke is quite hot right at the exit hole, care should be taken to avoid contact with combustible materials as ignition and resulting fire may be possible under some circumstances.  Care must also be taken to avoid burns to your unprotected hand, or other parts of the body.  Superior® Smoke Generators should be placed on the ground away from flammable materials immediately after lighting, and thereafter should not be held or moved by hand.  For Hobby use be sure to position Smoke Generator so that smoke exit hole(s) point away from anything that may be damaged by heat or smoke.  Some residue may form on surfaces close to the smoke exit hole(s).

Unlike “military” type smokes and colored smokes, Superior® Smoke Generators are designed specifically for civilian use, and are overall less hazardous than any of these other types of smoke.  All smoke, including Superior® Smoke, can irritate breathing passages without respiratory protection.  Brief exposure to light concentrations of smoke is not normally an issue for most people, however anyone with respiratory sensitivity should not be exposed to any smoke.  Heavy concentrations of smoke should be avoided except for Professional Training Exercises using Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.  If discomfort results from exposure to smoke, leave the area immediately, breathe fresh air, and in a short time any symptoms of respiratory irritation should dissipate.  Read and follow all instructions and the product MSDS before using any Superior® Smoke product.

Q: How do I dispose of a Superior Smoke Generator?
A: Once the fuse is spent, the carcass can be disposed of in a manner that complies with local regulations.  If you have unused product, don’t submerge them in water as this could start the chemical reaction that  produces the smoke.  You can set them off inside a 55 gallon drum so the smoke is contained and then dispose of them.

Q: Should I avoid exposure to Superior Classic Smoke?
A: Most applications of smoke are designed to be performed with minimal exposure.  Since we do not have knowledge of the health status of participating individuals, specific tolerance or reaction to smoke can not be anticipated. Unnecessary exposure to the smoke should be avoided.  The smoke is relatively harmless but, as with any smoke, it may be irritating to nasal passages.  Any smoke irritation will be temporary and should quickly disappear after exposure has ceased.  Persons with heart and respiratory ailments should leave the house during the test.  House pets will react in a manner similar to a prudent person and leave the smoky area.  Be sure pets are provided with proper ventilation.  Pets quartered in confined areas with no exit available will require alternative arrangements during the testing. To minimize the chance of smoke entering a dwelling area, we recommend that water be poured into all drains including floor drains prior to the date of the test. The smoke is similar in density to air as demonstrated by its moving with airflow and is very visible at low concentrations.  We would anticipate that the smoke will dissipate in approximately 20 – 30 minutes; however, exposure can be reduced by opening doors and windows for several minutes if and when smoke appears. Normally the smoke leaves no visible residue; however, any aerosol will have fallout.  Superior® Smoke residues would consist of the following:  zinc chloride, carbon and water; slightly acidic; water soluble.  Residues can be easily removed with soap and water.

Q: What is better Classic Smoke or a Fluid System?
A: See "Smoke Fluid Vs Smoke Candles"

Q: What type of respirator should I buy for Fire Training?
A: See "Respirator Selection Guide"

Q: How do I test a residential heat exchanger?
A: Use one Superior Smoke #1A per test.

For Hot Air Systems:

  • Station one person at the first register/outlet closest to the furnace to observe and report first sign of smoke.
  • Ignite the fuse and immediately place the candle in the firebox.
  • Close and seal the firebox.
  • Start the blower.
  • If smoke appears, stop the blower immediately to avoid smoke from being distributed throughout the dwelling.
  • Appearance of smoke shows the firebox leaks.


For Other Heat Exchangers:

  • Remove a few sections of the insulated enclosure panels to allow observation of leak sites.
  • Ignite the fuse and immediately place the candle in the firebox.
  • Close/seal the firebox.
  • If smoke appears, firebox is leaking.

 

Q: What if Smoke during a sewer test enters someone's home?
A: Residents should understand that smoke entering their home means they have an open fault – where sewer gas has been entering their home for months or years – and this sewer gas they have been exposed to constantly every day for who knows how long is much more dangerous and harmful than our smoke, which will only be in their home for 15 or 20 minutes.  Finding these faults and correcting them is of far greater importance and benefit to them than any potential concerns related to the smoke testing. To minimize the chance of smoke entering a dwelling area, we recommend that water be poured into all drains including floor drains prior to the date of the test.   The smoke is similar in density to air as demonstrated by its moving with airflow and is very visible at low concentrations. We would anticipate that the smoke will dissipate in approximately 20 – 30 minutes; however, exposure can be reduced by opening doors and windows for several minutes if and when smoke appears. In this case, they should leave the house until the smoke dissipates, and notify the work crew of the issue so the fault can be identified and addressed.  If they follow these instructions there should be no health concerns, and certainly no issue with property damage.  Of course, people with particular respiratory sensitivity should avoid exposure to any smoke, including Superior Smoke.

Due to the nature of smoke testing of sanitary sewers, the concentration of smoke in the sewer line is quite variable.  When used as directed, virtually all smoke runs through the sewer lines and out the roof vents of buildings in the test area, dissipating above this large area, well away from any people.

Q: Are Superior Smoke Candles a source of ignition?
A: Although the smoke does not support combustion, it is generated by an internal combustion process that would be a source of ignition. For applications in explosive atmospheres, the smoke can be generated in a remote area and blown to specified points.

Q: After firing, do Electric Squibs have a open or closed circuit?
A: The resistance of our squib is 1.3 to 1.9 Ohms, and the recommended Fire current is 0.9 Amps or greater. When fired at or near this recommended energy the circuit may end up either open or closed – so normally the end condition is variable and uncertain. If the fire energy is at least 5 times the recommended minimum of 0.9 Amps, then the bridge wire should always blow open, and the circuit would therefore be “open” after firing the squib. So, this means that if you fire the squib with at least 4.5 Amps, you should end up with an open circuit. In determining the necessary voltage to obtain this current, you need to include the resistance of your circuit and anything else on it, in addition to the resistance of the squib itself.

While we are confident that this additional current will reliably create an open circuit, Superior Signal does not guarantee with 100% certainty that the circuit will always be open after firing, even at this higher energy, so if there is a significant safety issue at stake we do not endorse use of our squibs for that purpose.

Q: Is Superior Smoke corrosive to ducting?
A: Our Smoke products are routinely used to test residential, commercial, and industrial ductwork. When used properly for these common applications our customers find it is safe, effective, and easy to use. In the air, our smoke is primary water, a very small amount of Zinc Chloride, and trace amounts of carbon and other products of combustion. When our smoke is used in recommended densities (or even near them) there should be no significant residue, and no adverse effect on ductwork.  After decades of use in many kinds of ductwork, we are not aware of any corrosion issues that have been attributed to the proper use of our Smoke. In very high (excessive) concentrations there can be some residue, and as Zinc Chloride is a salt, this residue can be somewhat corrosive.  We always recommend using the minimum concentration of Smoke necessary to perform the task.

 

ST-10 Smoke Machine Questions

Q: The ready light on my ST-10 Smoke Machine does not come on.
A: The Ready Light on your ST-10 Smoke Machine may not come on because the reset button was tripped. This sometimes happens when the machine overheats or in transportation. Should you experience this problem, please remove the cover and depress the reset button which is located on top of the black, cylindrical-shaped heater. Replace the cover and try the machine again. If it still does not work, then contact us at: (732) 251-0800.

Q: What is the best setting on the ST-10 for long smoke durations?
A: The optimum setting for longer smoke durations will vary from machine to machine. To find the best setting for a continuous blast of smoke, do the following:

  1. Turn the output dial (3) to its lowest position.
  2. Press the Continuous Smoking button (B).
  3. Turn the output dial very slowly to the right until you hear the pump in the machine begin to hum, or until you see a small stream of smoke produced.
  4. Now, slightly increase the output until there is a steady blast which travels approximately 5 feet from the front of the machine.
  5. At this point, the setting should be at about 12 O’ clock or less on the output dial.  The machine should run for 5 to 10 minutes or longer, which is plenty of time to fill most training facilities.  Experiment with this setting until you find what works best for your needs.

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