This month we look at systems that safeguard the air quality of the jobsite for you and your crew, and also keep things a little cleaner for your client.
I never believed that “dust containment” was a viable option for the health and safety for myself or my employees. I spent plenty of money on different dry systems, before deciding that any grinding or polishing would be done wet. Even though the dust systems had large CFM capacities and good filtration systems, it always seemed that lots of dust escaped into the work area. We kept dry grinding to an absolute minimum.
I do believe that new innovations are better than the old systems available 10-15 years ago, though. OSHA interest in air quality forced these changes, I believe (since no job can afford to be red tagged). Alpha’s retrofit dust systems seem great, and most manufacturers now seem to have pretty effective dust collection systems. When used in conjunction with a good HEPA-filtered vacuum, I can see my “wet only” philosophy changing if purchasing tools with such better technology.
– Michael K. Whistler, NTCA presenter/technical consultant
We are adamant about keeping our clients’ homes as free of dust as possible. We turn off all HVAC during demo, then cover areas in plastic, including cover vents and intakes. We run vacuums next to grinders, and keep windows open. My favorite piece of equipment is a JET air cleaner meant for wood working shops. It measures 12” x 24” x 30” and uses a disposable per filter and a 1 micron internal filter.
I also find it useful to manage expectations as well. We do our best to contain all the dust, but, we are remodeling. We can’t get it all.
– Joe Lenner, Infinite Ceramic & Stone Installations, LLC
While I do not claim to be dust free, I do try to minimize the spreading of dust while working on a project. Since 95% of my work comes from residential remodel, my clients seem to appreciate our OCD cleaning procedures. We follow all Lead RRP requirements for dust containment, regardless of the age of the home. This includes zipper doors, zip walls in large open spaces, and tacky pads as we exit the area of work. I have also been switching as many of my tools over to the vacuum shrouds as possible. I recently purchased a negative-air machine to set up during demo to move as many airborne particles out of the house and through a filtering system as possible. Wet grinding and cutting is hard to do in a residential application. So we try to control the dust as much as possible.
– Greg Hiens, Hiens Tile & Stone
There seemed to be many dust vacuums on the market. Initially I thought I’d try an inexpensive attempt by attaching my $100 shop vacuum to my concrete grinder. This provided decent results – for a little over a minute – and after only two minutes the brand new shop vacuum filter was absolutely saturated with concrete dust. There was zero air-flow and consequently plumes of dust pouring from my floor grinders.
I then began to look for a true commercial-grade solution. After a few hours of searching I learned of an award-winning dust vacuum that automatically cleaned its filters every ten seconds while the vacuum was still running. The Pulse-Bac 1250 by CDC Larue automatically reverses the internal airflow for just a fraction of a second, which blasts the filters clean. This machine has paid for itself many, many times over. For instance:
We no longer have to stop production to clean filters.
Due to the high CFM of the vacuum, no dust escapes from the grinders. As a result, we no longer have a need to hang up plastic-sheeting barriers. When the cost of the plastic sheeting and the wages to hang the plastic are combined it is rather costly.
We can now avoid frequently purchasing new filters for the cheap shop vacuums. Filter life has transitioned from hours or days for the cheap ones and is now up to months or years for the Pulse-Bac filters.
I believe the single biggest advantage to having this equipment is the improved air quality for the health of my crews, my customers, and myself.
I believe this new system has helped to set my company apart from my competitors. I have been awarded jobs solely on my company’s ability to control dust at the point of origin. While these machines were no small investment, they do pay for themselves over time. I couldn’t imagine not having our Pulse-Bacs; as far as I’m concerned they are necessary equipment.
– Jay Zurn, Precision Surfaces LLC
MK Diamond offers the Ermator A600 Air Scrubber, with a 99.99 at .3 micron HEPA filtration, to constantly recycle the air removing these harmful particles. With a sturdy, lightweight, compact cabinet, the Ermator A600 is quiet, with two airflow speeds of 300 and 600 CFM that only draw 3.2 amps. Three-year warranty.
EDCO vacuum systems control airborne dust particles and shorten clean-ups while reducing worker’s exposure to dust and debris. These systems work with grinders, scarifiers, scabblers and saws, with optional HEPA filters. Among their many features, EDCO vacuum systems feature state-of-the-art filtration that removes 99% of air-borne dust particles at 0.5 microns.
DeWalt offers the DWV012, a 10-gallon HEPA dust extractor with automatic filter clean, that allows continuous operation without stopping to clean filter. The powerful 15-amp motor delivers 140 CFM of airflow for wet or dry applications, weighs only 33.5 lbs. Packed with a range of features, it also offers variable suction and power tool actuation, which controls on/off operations of the vacuum with a power tool. www.dewalt.com
Casella Cel introduces the Cel-712 Microdust Pro Monitor, a small, rugged, hand-held instrument that measures concentrations of inhalable powders in real-time for graphical display on its high-contrast color LCD. With a wide detection range (0.001 to 25,000 mg/m3) and full data logging, it can be used independently to measure material processes, to capture release events or to be paired with a cyclone, filter cassette, and sample pump for size-selective or gravimetric monitoring. www.casellausa.com
CDC Larue offers the Pulse-Bac® 1250, a HEPA vacuum with a filter fractional efficiency rating of 98.0% at .3 micron at a CFM flow rate up to 311. The 1250 model comes standard with Pulse-Bac® technology, cyclonic debris management system, a 20-gallon steel tank, HEPA H-13 filters, and a five-caster steel dolly with non-marking casters. An optional tank capacity sensor and three options for collecting debris are also available. The revolutionary design automatically flushes the filters clear while you work, using only ambient air and vacuum. www.cdclarue.com
Beaton Innovations’ states that Waletale is the first tool engineered for the tile setter to address the negative effects of the inhalation of free crystalline silica in the work environment. Waletale clips onto the rim of a five-gallon bucket and connects to a vac to significantly reduce the dust generated by the mixing of mortar and grout powders. Winner of Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New 2010.” www.waletale.net
Bosch offers the Bosch 3931A-PB Airsweep™ Wet/Dry Vacuum, a 13-gallon wet/dry vacuum cleaner that features enhanced filtration and containment options with four operational modes and an electromagnetic filter cleaning system. The Bosch Hammer Dust collection system reduces airborne dust when chiseling, drilling or during demolition, designed especially for use with Bosch SDS Max® Spline hammers. Bosch also offers a range of dust extraction attachments for work with a range of angle grinders.
Beno J. Gundlach features FEIN Turbo Vacuums. All FEIN Turbo Vacuums have extremely powerful two-stage bypass soft-start motors with sealed fans for dust and debris suction, and a second fan to blow cooling air across the motor. They have a 5-micron cloth filter that fits the full circumference of the tank and can be converted to a HEPA vacuum. Three-year warranty.