ASSUMPTION, Ill. — It’s important to check grain dryers prior to the harvest season for any wear or tear that could affect safe and proper operation this fall.
“A complete preseason check, preferably by your servicing dealer, is extremely important to ensure dryers will be in good working condition to help protect the quality of stored grain,” said Randy Sheley, GSI dryer product specialist.
Sheley offered these maintenance recommendations while following dryer owner manual instructions:
Safety — Lock out the electrical main safety disconnect before checking or servicing any electrical or mechanical device on the dryer. Follow the dryer manual for safety guidelines and do not attempt any electrical or gas repairs unless you are trained to do so.
Cleaning — Make sure all supply augers, downspouts and columns of the dryer are completely free of any debris or bird’s nests. Thoroughly clean the control box, if not done last fall, and make sure any floors or internal areas are completely free from fines or debris.
Inspection — Check all belts for wear, hardness from age and proper tensioning and replace any belts that are questionable. With all valves closed and lines empty for safety, check all gas hoses and connections to ensure all are in good shape and not leaking. Inspect the burner to confirm there are no insect nests or other obstructions that would prevent proper operation.
Test Run — Check the dryer for proper operation before filling with grain:
• Carefully turn on main power to dryer and make sure all emergency stop switches are closed. Be sure all personnel are safely away from any moving parts or electrical connections.
• Bring up the control circuit to check safeties and operational screens, then start the load, metering and unload systems while testing automatic safeties and shutdown systems. It is very important to do this before the dryer is loaded with grain to make sure the unload system is operational.
• Start fans and burners with the gas supply off to check for proper operation of the safety system. The dryer should shut down within a minute.
• After carefully and slowly opening the gas supply, start the fans and then burners to make sure they properly light and operate with no unusual voids or color in the flame. On some dryer models burners may not be operational until the dryer is filled with grain.
First Fill — Make sure the columns fill correctly and that dryer load automatically shuts down after it is full. Do one final inspection after starting the fan then the burner to make sure the gas pressures are correct and the temperature control system is operating properly. Use the manual to start the regular operation of the dryer.