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Cleaning the Silo

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  • Cleaning the Silo

    Any recomendations on how to clean out my grain silo safely? Is there anyone professionally who does this in Northern CA? And How ofter should it be done?
    Nicholas Campbell

  • #2
    Take a ladder and a brush and climb inside unless you areclaustrophobic. Any rust use a grinder with a wire wheel.


    • #3
      I would suggest you don't use anything electrical in the silo. Malt dust and air can form an explosive mixture which can be set off by a spark from an electric motor. You are unlikely to have that sort of explosive mix, but you never know once you start raising all sorts of dust by brushing off the malt etc.

      Just use a wire brush (preferably non ferrous bristled) and lots of elbow grease

      O, and don't forget to use a good dust mask



      • #4
        Clean it safely

        Depending upon the size and design of your silo, going inside could constitute "confined space entry" - something that OSHA has some pretty specific ideas about, and in my opinion, for good reason in this case.

        If you're hiring someone to do this work, ask the contractor about it. Getting certified for this is not a big deal, so any reputable outfit should at least be aware of the requirement - again, based on your setup.



        • #5
          How long has it been since you cleaned out your silo? And how often do you empty it?

          Depending on how frequently you fill/empty your silo could impact the amount of cleaning you will have to do. Of course, after completely emptying your silo you should be able to do a visual inspection and determine the type of cleaning you will need.

          Every time I run out of silo grain (about 4 - 5 months), I ensure that I also remove all of the chaff. If your grain deliveries are more frequent, say, once every 1-2 weeks, once per quarter is usually sufficient (if grain delievery method does not produce too much chaff).

          Next, using a rubber mallet, I tap the outside of the silo which causes residual grain dust to fall to the bottom where I have a small access panel. For the visual inpection I go up to the top and use a high power flashlight to peer in.

          Unless moisture has gotten into your silo, the inside should be clean except for a light amount of dust. Normally, you should not have to enter the silo unless there is a problem.

          If moisture has invaded your silo and there is rust, there will probably be mold as well. As Sir Brewsalot mentioned, OSHA has specifice guidelines for entering confined spaces such as:
          ventilating the space, safety harness, a "spotter" (someone outside waiting to help you, adequate lighting, proper dust mask and eyeprotection.

          Technically, you should also fill out a form stating who is entering the vessel, at what time in/out, name of "spotter. See OSHA guidelines for complete requirements.

          Hope this helps.