HEPA Air Filtration for Soldering

Hello to all on the list! I have been reading for several months and
have learned a great deal, and want to thank all of you.

I have been making a pretty good living selling beads and
custom-beaded jewelry (mostly with 14k findings) for about five years
now. My plan was always to learn more about jewelry fabrication, but
happily I experienced more success than I expected in the beading
niche and time sort of got away from me as I built my present
business. A little more than a year ago I finally began learning a
little silversmithing. I am a rank beginner, but I am definitely
hooked. At some point I may advance to the point that I will want to
see if I can rent or share studio space, but right now I just want
to establish a small safe soldering area in my home. I am in the
process of searching for a new home right now, and in order to
separate the soldering area from my business workroom, I=92m probably
going to have two basic options–the garage, if it=92s large enough,
or a small added separate building. However, I am finding that many of
the Home Owner=92s Associations in my area are not going to allow this
kind of building, or alterations to the garage either. Of course,
there=92s no way of knowing whether an HOA will allow a particular
modification of a property until you move in and present your plan.
All HOAs around here are similar on paper, but whether they are
liberal or picky in interpreting and enforcing their regulations
varies radically.

If I can set up both a general ventilation system and a fume hood
exhaust system in my workshop in my new housing situation, I will, but
since doing some research, I=92ve been wondering if I can put together=
=93Plan B=94 for a safe soldering area if a ventilation plan can=92t b=
e put
into practice.

The article that gave me hope that this might be possible was this
page from ganoksin:

Particularly this paragraph: =93Air purifiers that filter toxic
particles out of the air are an excellent alternative to ventilation.
They are more economical to install, as long runs of ducts do not
have to be installed. They are also cheaper to use as the air is
returned to the shop and does not have to be heated or cooled. They
also have an environmental advantage, as they do not expel toxic
substances into the atmosphere.=94

The need for true HEPA air filters is also discussed in this
article. So I gave some thought to how to replace both a dilution
ventilation system and something like a hood exhaust with filtering,
and came up with these ideas.

For a general filtration system, perhaps a unit something like
this:Multi-stage Air Purifier Fine Dust Chemical Gas Odor Removal

For at-the-spot air purifying, Rio Grande has a unit they call
SolderPure with a HEPA filter and a cone on a flexible hose that can
be positioned directly over the soldering area. It=92s on page 407 of
the catalog that I have at hand.

The first unit, depending on the model, is around $600-900.00, and
the SolderPure unit is $929.00 exclusive of shipping.

Are two units overkill? On the other hand, would such a setup really
be about as safe as a general ventilation and hood fume system, and
effective enough to be worth the money?

All your comments or suggestions for my =93Plan B=94 would be greatly


With no disrespect for Brad Simon who wrote the article about
ventilation you refer to, anyone who says a air purifier system is
cheaper to install and operate has probably not worked out all the
numbers. They can work but you need to know exactly what the
contaminants you need to filter are and how much of them you are
generating. Then you need to talk to a ventilation engineer to find
out what size system you need. Then purchase the system, install it.
Then you need to look at the filter replacement costs because you
will have to replace the HEPA filters, pre-filters and charcoal
filters on a regular basis. How often will be something you and the
engineer will have to discuss because there is no easy way to
determine when the charcoal canister needs replacing. If you wait
till you can smell the contaminants in the exhaust air you have been
breathing the contaminant for quite a while, and some of them have
no odor. Also some contaminants cannot be filtered out. HEPA
filters remove particles (small solids), Charcoal filters can remove
some chemical vapors but not all of them. Carbon monoxide which is
generated by torch flames cannot be removed with a passive system
(filters) it requires a catalytic converter or some other means of
transforming it into a less harmful gas (a catalytic converter will
turn it into Carbon Dioxide) . So Before you try to do this talk to
a ventilation engineer. With the cost for the engineering and the
ongoing costs of filters (neither HEPA or charcoal filters are
cheap) I just don.t see how this is a more economical option. You
may be forced to do this by regulations of your HOA but if it were
me I would find a home in an area that does not have a HOA if this
studio is to be a part of your lively hood the HOA’s have very broad
powers to tell you what you can and can’t do in your own home and
could very easily decide you can’t run a business out of your home.