Limited streamer chambers are extensively used for high-energy and nuclear physics experiments in accelerator and underground laboratories. The tracking system of LVD, an underground experiment to study muons and nutrino astronomy, will use roughly 15000 limited streamer chambers and 100000 external pickup strips with digital readout electronics. In the article the different aspects of chamber operation that serve to establish a testing procedure and to define acceptance criteria for selecting reliable and long-life devices, are discussed. The procedures and the results obtained from a long-term test to evaluate streamer chamber quality, based upon a sample of 2900 items, are described. The selection tests and the long-term observations have been performed in the ASTRA laboratory, established at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati to carry out quality control procedures for streamer chambers on a large scale and in a controlled environment.