Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although we always advocate for preseason maintenance on your grain drying system, the cool and wet spring we were dealt has put us on track for a later harvest. This could also bring with it wetter than normal harvest moistures. With this looming, it’s even more important to have your grain handling system ready to go before the season hits. Regardless if you are taking care of issues from last fall, doing a preventative check-up or even toying around with some upgrades, now is the time to cross it off your to-do list.
Before you empty your drying bins, fire up the fans and heaters to make sure they are operating as they should (do this only if you have grain in the bin). We often see tripped hi-limit safety switches in the initial firing of heaters (warm summer temperatures are often the culprit). In this case, check the three switches located at: the bottom of the control box on the heater, on top of the air transition between the heater and the bin, and the vapor hi-limit switch on the heater gas pipe train between the vaporizer coil and the gas solenoid. Even if one of these is tripped, the heater won’t light.
Other common issues we see are:
- Worn-out bearings and belts.
- Sensors that have been bypassed.
- Inaccurate moisture readings on portable or in-bin dryers. (Removing and cleaning the moisture sensor and chamber will help provide more accurate readings. Continuing this process throughout harvest is a good habit to get into.
If you happen to come across equipment still not working, double check:
- All electrical breakers are in the on position.
- All gas valves are open between the tank and the heater.
- You have gas in the tank.
Running through these three items can certainly save you some money on a prevented service call!
Don’t forget to check out your stirring machine augers as well. When these are worn out, they too can hinder your drying efficiency.
Although Mr. Franklin’s prevention adage typically holds true in normal years, it may make a big difference in downtime if we face a late, wet fall. As always, if you run into any problems during your pre-season maintenance, give Tom or Roger a call.