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Ventilation and Exhaust Systems: A Guide to Protecting Your Breathing

Today we are all more aware of pollutants and what they do to our environment and our health. We know that pollution is not good for our breathing, so we have been taught how to take precautions, such as buying electric hybrid cars and going green. You should also be taught how to take precautions to protect your breathing in your paint booth.

Paint booths are extremely important in providing an optimal environment in which to spray paint. Solvent based spray paints are the main source of isocyanate (a harmful compound) and are damaging to human health. If you don’t take special precautions, you may end up with Asthma, persistent coughs or something more threatening.

Paint booths protect the health of your shop employees by filtering the paint overspray and fumes through the booth’s ventilation system. Three popular styles of booth include the down draft, cross draft and open front.

Open face paint booths have three walls while the front end is left open, and this is where the air is pulled in from. It is extracted by the paint booth exhaust fans which are located at the back.

A cross draft paint booth pulls filtered air in through filtered doors, and paint booth exhaust fans at the other end extract the contaminated air. These paint booths will have filters on both the intake and outtake side, so the incoming air is clean and free of contaminants to the work, while the outgoing air sends the toxic paint fumes our and away from the shop area.

A downdraft paint booth ventilation works by having multiple fans bringing fresh air in from top of the booth and exhaust fans at the bottom taking air out.

When looking to buy your paint booth, make sure that you understand the style of booth you will need for your given application. It is also important to buy from a reputable company that understands that ventilation and exhaust systems should meet the applicable requirements of NFPA 33. Some of the requirements are to make sure each booth has its own dedicated exhaust stack. Each exhaust plenum on a paint booth should have its own pressure gauge called a manometer.  Manufacturers’ should supply the manometer with the purchased paint booth package. Keeping the fan clean also helps to extend its life.

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