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Detecting Leaks in Your Baghouse System Through Dye Testing

Topics: dust collector, baghouse, baghouse system, Blog, dust collector leak

Posted on April 25, 2016
2 minute read

Leaks in a baghouse system can be detrimental to facility operations by causing loss in product and endangering workers. Keeping your dust collection equipment in proper operating condition is essential to maintaining compliance with EPA and OSHA regulations as well as maximizing product recovery.

If you believe you may be suffering from a leak in your dust collector, start by visually inspecting the clean-air-plenum to find the source of the dust leak.  If you cannot easily determine the source of the leak, you can conduct a dye test. Sly’s Leak Seeker dye test uses fluorescent powders which glow under black light to making finding leaks easy.

The procedure for this test is as follows:

  • Deactivate the baghouse cleaning mechanism while still operating the exhaust fan.
  • Locate an inlet point upstream of both the fan and the baghouse. Note: you may have to weld a 3” or 4” pipe coupling onto an existing duct to accomplish this.
  • Feed the Leak Seeker powder into the system in an amount equal to one-half pound per 1,000 square feet of filter cloth for new filter bags. If you are testing filter bags that have been in service, use one pound per 1,000 square feet of cloth.
  • Allow five minutes for the leak seeker powder to work its way through the system.
  • Stop the fan.
  • Enter the clean air side of the baghouse or compartment being tested and shine the Leak Seeker light on all seal points. The illuminating leak seeker powder will clearly identify problem areas. If you operate a top entry pulse jet baghouse which exposes the clean air side to direct sunlight, the Leak Seeker test should be run in darkness.
  • After your inspection and subsequent repair work, you may need to retest with a contrasting Leak Seeker color to ensure that all leaks were repaired properly.

Tip: Shutting down the shaking or pulse cleaning mechanism for a short period before inserting the Leak Seeker powder will enhance detection results. This allows the dust cakes to build-up, increasing the pressure between the dirty and clean air sides of the baghouse, encouraging the Leak Seeker powder to find the points of least resistance – the leaks.

Also note that although Leak Seeker powder is highly reflective and illuminating, it is not radioactive. It does not contain any inorganic phosphorus, lead, mercury, or heavy metals of any kind. It also does not contain formaldehyde.

Leak Seeker incorporates varying particle sizes to minimize fabric bleed-through with a mean particle size of 62 microns. It is available in highly vibrant and reflective orange, pink, green and yellow. Each color is suited for different applications.

Color Applications
Pink Good in most industries
Orange Good in all industries except those where iron oxide is present
Green Good in aluminum, cement, limestone, Cogen, and utility industries; excellent contrasting color for pink and orange
Yellow Good for most industries, except cement, limestone, asphalt, flyash, and where sulfur-based dust is present


Leak Seeker can be used in all baghouse types with operating temperatures up to 550°F (288°C). It is important to choose an appropriate color for your specific application, as well as keeping a contrasting color on-hand for repetitive test. The objective is to choose a color that will not blend in with process dust color.

Utilizing Sly’s Leak Seeker system as a part of your regular baghouse maintenance program can help avoid costly and unscheduled shutdowns. Our service crews rely on the Leak Seeker system – yours should too.

For more information, call Sly Inc. at 866-721-3545 and a representative will help you obtain and use your own kit to get your collector back up and running as quickly as possible.

Tags: dust collector, baghouse, baghouse system, Blog, dust collector leak

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