air purifier

I’m setting up my new press (yay!) in my basement and since I have little ones, I want to be careful about fumes, etc. I don’t plan on printing when they’re around, but I would like to think about putting in an air purifier down there. Our basement is about 700 square feet. I just wanted to get some thoughts—do any of you use an air purifier or just open up the windows? Am I worrying too much about this? Thanks in advance….

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I have had a print shop in my house for over 40 years, and no one has complained about the odors. If someone you live with has some sort of reaction to one solvent or cleaner, there are other alternatives to use. The amount used at any one time is inconsequential compared to the total volume of air in a room — or house. Using low voc materials for initial cleanup with a final pass with a little solvent would seem to make sense.

I don’t think I would invest in extra air purification equipment unless there is someone in your household who is particularly sensitive to the fumes.

Most air purfiers that I’ve seen are great at removing particulates, but ineffective in filtering solvent fumes. For that, the easiest strategy is to use an exhaust fame to vent them outdoors. Of course the Green folks may not agree with the releasing of VOC’s into the outdoor air…. and they might have a good point.

In my shop, I use low-odor mineral spirits as the primary solvent. I’ve used an exhaust fan to evacuate the fumes for many years, and have not had a problem. BUT then again, my shop is in a warm climate and thus I don’t have to worry about venting my expensive fossil-fuel heated air outside in the wintertime.

I would avoid any kind of ionic type of air purifier. These types of air cleaners extract dust particles as they pass through electronically charged plates. Static electricity is generated as part of part of this process and sparks are created, which would be bad news with volatile fumes present. They are not bad air cleaners, I just wouldn’t want to use them around a lot of solvents.

Do you share the basement with your furnace? You might also want to be careful there too (pilot light, ignition, solvent fumes, boom). Not trying to scare you, just be aware of your surroundings.

I work in the basement too. I try to keep solvents to a minimum, and not store more than what I plan to use in the basement. An ounce or two of solvent here and there may not a be a big deal, just don’t spill a gallon of the stuff on the floor. Also watch how you store the cleaning rags after you use them.

Thank you all, I won’t plan on getting a purifier then. RMG, you bring up a good point about the furnace. The boiler is in the basement but it is in a separate room that is closed off with a door—the laundry area. Sorry if I sound ignorant, but could the fumes cause an explosion or would it just be if I happened to spill something near the furnace/boiler? I’m thinking all I’d be using would be some mineral spirits (low odor) and then bring those rags straight outside. Clearly I’m not the first person to set up “shop” in her basement, so all you more experienced folks, how do you deal with this issue?

I think you will be alright, just read up on general shop safety regarding these type of things. Also assess your home as to how airtight it is. Some newer homes are so air tight (to conserve energy) that they recirculate a lot of air.

In my opinion, you would not be creating any more of a hazard than the basement woodworker who finishes furniture or the artist who paints in oils. When searching on the net for information, try to look up what these hobbyists are doing.

My shop is in my basement, I have an ionic air purifier and I share the room with a pellet stove. I do however store my can of solvent and used rags in the hatch way leading outside which is behind a heavy metal clad insulated door and a good 20 feet away from the stove. In regular use just to wash up and such your really not going to be putting enough fumes into the air to worry about. You have more to fear from the rags spontaneously combusting in the fire can than the air cleaner or pilot light setting off a fire ball. You’d likely pass out from fumes by the time you had enough to do so.

Honestly THE BEST thing you can do is get a good foam fire extinguisher and familiarize yourself with it’s operation. Aside from that be sure you have a fire can for used rags as well as a fire cabinet for solvents and ink.