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13 Grain Bin Checkup Tips

Make sure your bins are in ideal condition to store grain with these maintenance tips.

1. Start from the top down.

As John Hanig of Sukup Manufacturing points out, the roof can cause the most damage to your grain. Do you have any leaks? Loose bolts? Rust? If yes, gather up some caulk, new bolts, a wire brush, some paint, and fix up your bins.

2. Inspect your roof panels, supporting ribs, stairs, steps, vents, and all connections.

If you have any debris on your vents, clear it off to allow free airflow and to prevent damage to your bin’s roof.

3. Make sure any manholes, center caps, or other bin-opening attachments are all functioning properly.

Any leaks in these can let water get to your grain, which can cause musty, moldy, or spoiled grain.

4. Walk around your bins.

Do you have any missing bolts, damaged sheets, or sidewall bulges? Pay particular attention to bolted joints, looking for any irregularities that could be a sign of stress.

5. Turn your focus down to your foundation.

According to Hanig, this is one of the most overlooked maintenance areas on grain bins. Your foundation should be level without any gaps. An uneven foundation can result in spilled grain, can provide entry points for water, insects, or rodents, and can allow forced air to escape, reducing the efficiency of your operation.

6. Look at anchor bolts.

Bolts on the foundation should be in good condition and tightened. Cracks can make your bins susceptible to wind damage.

7. Spend a little time cleaning your bins.

Get rid of all old grain, remove all rust, and cover the structure with rust-inhibiting primer or paint.

8. Check fans, heaters, transitions, and ducts for corrosion.

Remove any dust that could reduce operating efficiency, and caulk any holes to keep insects and water out and to keep the grain in.

9. Grease the motor bearings at least twice a year.

Also, make sure that fan blades can spin freely. Note that the fans should not be turned on until a substantial amount of grain covers the aeration or drying floors.

10. Clean your aeration systems.

Be sure to get under the aeration floors and inside the aeration tubes. Remove any debris, and keep an eye out for insect infestations.

11. Examine the sweep auger.

Check oil levels in the seals and gearbox. Notice the condition of the belts and chain tension. Look at all bearings on the flighting. Also, make sure that the flighting isn’t too thin. All shields should be in good condition. The sweep auger needs to be properly placed in front of the intermediate sumps.

12. Take a look at all doors.

They should be properly installed and have a watertight seal.

13. Inspect the electrical work.

Checking the electrical work is secondary to maintaining the integrity of your bins, but Hanig notes it is important to make sure that all connections are secure.

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