Braving the Elements: Stack Testing in the winter
The forecast is calling for temps around 20F, some wind, and possible snow showers. A good day to stay inside and calibrate those probe TCs, and stay warm with a few espresso breaks in between cals and data entry. But no, the job at hand today is to successfully complete a series of three (3) 2-hour dioxin-furan tests, applying EPA Method 23 on a testing platform 200 feet up the side of a smokestack.
So, how to make the best of the day, keep warm and execute a successful test program in these challenging environmental conditions? In addition to the warm weather gear, standard safety and PPE for climbing and testing on a stack platform, you might consider toting these amenities to your testing location to help brave the elements and enjoy a wintry day, all while effectively completing those long dioxin test runs before that winter sun sets.
- Bring a small sturdy fabric shelter to cover instrumentation and provide protection against wind, sleet and snow. You can also make a shelter with a tarp and rope, using your scouting skills to secure it to the stack railing and to other strong points.
- Bring a small collapsible table to set up instrumentation and for performing post-weights of desiccant. The table can also be used for balancing your lunch while performing sample train leak checks.
- Bring a portable propane heater that can safely be used to pump warm air into your shelter. Check propane cylinder and connections for good seals. Make sure you have good ventilation when using the heater near the shelter. Be sure the heater has enough clearance so nearby items don’t get burned or melted.
- Warm and gripp-y work gloves for loosening those tough impinger screws after a test run (or in between leak checks as needed) in the cold weather.
- Drink lots of water and eat high-energy snacks. Enough said. But it is really important to maintain good nutrition to fuel yourself for working outdoors for several hours at a time. Watch for signs of dehydration and over-exposure to the cold.
Got any other stories or tips of your own for surviving winter stack testing? Feel free to share with us! Contact Us.