Maintaining your Fume Extraction System
An apple a day will keep the doctor away, a phrase you’ve undoubtedly heard before with a simple meaning behind it, take care of your body and no harm will come to you.
Our tools and equipment are no different, maintain them and they won't have any problems. So how do you get those extra miles out of your tools, especially when you’ve invested so much into a fume extraction system?
If you’re wondering what a fume extraction system is, we covered that in a previous article which you can read here. The fume extractor we carry is the FA-430, a 3-layer filter system that absorbs soldering smoke and fumes and pumps out clean air.
The filters are replaceable and should be replaced after about 160 hours of adsorbing solder smoke or whenever the Prefilter indicator light turns ON. When using the FA-430, large particles and chemicals from the soldering smoke are captured in the filter fibers as they pass through. For extra protection, we recommend using the A1573 Hepa filter which is an optional pleated filter that captures 99.97% of particles 0.3 µm in size.
After the 160-hour mark of usage the filtering efficiency of the entire system will begin to decline, and the rate of particles making it past the filtering system begins to increase.
But without a stopwatch how do you know if you’re reaching or have surpassed the 160-hour mark? Well, the beautiful thing about the unit is that it has indicator lights on the front of the unit and one of these indicators is the “prefilter” light.
When the prefilter light on the FA-430 turns on, it is letting you know that the filter now needs to be changed. When the filters become so full of material, they begin to restrict airflow in the system which creates a small vacuum effect making the motor run faster.
The prefilter light is programmed to turn on if this restriction is detected or if the system reaches the 160-hour mark.
The other filter light is for the main filter, and this light is programmed to turn on after the 10th prefilter change. The main filter begins to lose efficiency around the point that the system has been in operation long enough that you have had to replace the prefilter 10 times.
This light will stay on all the time if the system has reached the 2000-hour operation mark and the main filter has still not been replaced.
When you replace the prefilter or the main filter, turn the dial to the RESET position, replace the pre or main filter, then set the dial back to its original settings. Be sure you remove and install a new main filter cartridge. Just lifting the main filter and putting it back down will reset the main filter light, but it won’t do any good for your health.
A number of things can set off the prefilter light, such as a clog, or if the opening is backed up, so be sure to check the FA-430 frequently.
Remember, the fume extraction system is in place for your health. Maintaining this system by replacing the filters is very important to get peak operational efficiency from the equipment and the best protection.
Here’s to your health.
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