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Shop-specific air cleaners vs home style air filters

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  • Shop-specific air cleaners vs home style air filters

    I recently made another shop improvement... Home air cleaner. I got rid of my huge, noisy, heavy Jet shop-specific cleaner. Bought a Levoit LV-H133. The particle counter says the air is better with this, in general, than with the Jet. It feels like it moves about as much air, but at half the loudness. I'm overly sensitive to and annoyed by fan and generator sounds, and this is just barely consciously audible to me. Quieter than a generic box fan when running at full speed, but here's the thing... Unlike the Jet, it has an auto setting so it changes speed based on its internal particle/VOC detector. I just leave it on at all times, and it varies from barely moving air to full speed as needed. If I walk in and do something quick, and leave, it just takes care of the air automatically. This is actually kind of common for me because I work at home, and my office is right at the shop door. So I get to do little things throughout the day. Or just walk around and organize the shop while on calls and such. Now the air is just taken care of at all times.

    Oh, I added an additional carbon pre-filter, to hopefully get extra life from the HEPA/charcoal stock filter. I do this on our bedroom filter and it certainly works.

  • #2
    I have wondered about this but in the opposite way - wondering how a shop specific cleaner would work in a house! I would like a portable one for when I am working in a particular room in the house to keep the dust down! I would like a high volume one.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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    • #3
      I would guess it would be just as inferior as it is in the shop? This stuff isn't really magic, it's just an air mover and some filter media. I got the idea from the many woodworkers who are building box fan filter holders and reporting better results than the high dollar shop stuff, with less noise. Though I have yet to see a shop unit with a built-in air quality detector that automatically adjusts it. Google that filter unit I bought, it's ultra portable and has very high certified ratings for clean air production.

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      • #4
        I read the website for the unit. Impressive for inside the house use. I wonder though if the amount of airborne dust in a shop environment will be too much, requiring frequent filter replacements? How easy are they to clean - if that is even possible? I have the Rikon overhead unit and use my dust collector to clean the intake filter ever so often - using shop-vac style extensions and nozzle. That seems to work well. When I did take the intake filter out to access the fines filter inside the unit, I found the fines filter didn't have much in it. The intake filter seems to capture the bulk of the crud.

        The Rikon is rather loud... enough so that I only run it when I'm sanding.

        mpc

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        • #5
          I'm surprised the rikon is loud, I picked up the small grizzly was unit whenwas on sale on December, and it's incredibly quiet. I run it basically non stop when I'm in the shop, and it'll do 10 air changes an hour in my shop. I thought that the small air cleaners were all made in the same factory and painted different colors because they sure all look alike.

          That's a great idea with cleaning the first filter, I'll have to give it a shot. Sure beats going in the back yard and using a compressor to blast the dust out.

          Edit- I will say, in regards to the box fan ones, I built one a while back and I never had good luck with it. It caught a little bit of stuff but I felt like the filter really required a lot more pressure to move air through it than the box fan I used could provide. I've had much better flow through my grizzly unit, though that could be just an issue with the box fan I had on hand.
          Last edited by mm1992; 01-07-2020, 08:35 AM.

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          • #6
            All of the shop filters are loud, but how you perceive that type of sound varies. I'm overly sensitive to them, I know this because others are fine around them. But the measured sound levels don't lie.

            I don't know how it would be to clean this filter, since I've only had it a short time. Also my shop is not super dusty, because I have a good DC and Shop Vac with a cyclone and HEPA filter. The DC exhausts outdoors. I use Abranet sanding disks which let nearly zero dust out. I did add that prefilter to it, which should help trap the big stuff and is easy to remove and clean or replace.

            I also smoke cigars in the shop; it gets a lot of that out too.

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            • #7
              My Rikon is not ear-splitting loud, one does not need hearing protection when it's running on low or medium speeds though you do have to speak louder to have a conversation. On high speed it is loud enough to drown out nearby conversations but still not loud enough to require hearing protection. It is quieter than my Laguna dust collector in the corner of the shop; whenever that is on I wear hearing protection. I'd compare the Rikon collector to one of those home in-the-window or through-the-wall air conditioners running at max speed. The sound, especially when the Rikon is on high speed, is a little annoying and detracts from the pleasure of the shop. On low speed it isn't so bad and it does make a difference in the air quality even on low speed. I don't have any way to directly measure/quantify air quality... nor sound level for that matter.

              I mostly run the Rikon only when I know I will be doing a fair bit of sanding. I use the Laguna (1.5 HP, HEPA rated) cyclone for any/all power tools. I have a shop-built downdraft table for sanding that connects to the Laguna; there is a "T" port available to connect to the ROS or other sander though I still get some dust floating around. At the end of a long shop day there is typically a thin layer of fine dust on everything... so things could be better. Seeing how much stuff accumulates on the Rikon intake filter - in one shop day - is enough to convince me it is doing its job - things would be a lot worse without it. My shop building does not help the Rikon either - there is no way to position the overhead collector to get a circular airflow pattern going.

              mpc

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Carlos View Post
                ...I got rid of my huge, noisy, heavy Jet shop-specific cleaner. Bought a Levoit LV-H133. The particle counter says the air is better with this, in general, than with the Jet. It feels like it moves about as much air, but at half the loudness.
                If the Jet air cleaner you are referring to was the AFS-1000B, or similar, then it is doubtful that it moves any where near as much air. The LV-H133 specification say it consumes 33W, while the Jet (at its highest setting) consumes 4.5A at 115V, or more than 500W (ignoring power factor questions here). The Jet appears to consume more than 15X the power, likely because it is moving a lot more air through a filter.

                The LV-H133 specification say it moves 235 CFM (cubic feet per minute), while the Jet specifies 556/702/1,044 CFM, or more than 4X the air flow at the highest setting. It will take the LV-H133 much longer to clear the air than the AFS-1000B. I would expect the power consumption to increase roughly by the square of the airflow. 4x airflow squared = 16x current - that sounds about right, makes sense.

                It isn't surprising that the Levoit cleans the air better (ultimately), it claims to filter particles as small as 0.3 microns, while the Jet claims down to 1 micron. Move less air and you can use a tighter filter without having to significantly increase the area of the filter.

                In my shop I have both types of filtration systems (not the same brand as the Levoit, however). The low volume one runs continually to get all the really small dust, making the air quality great when I'm not making dust in the shop, and when I am making dust in the shop, and for a bit afterwards, I use the Jet air cleaner to get the bulk of it out of the air. Rather than ditching the Jet, I would suggest using both.

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                • #9
                  The Levoit uses a brushless motor, which SHOULD be more efficient and quieter for any given air movement. I have not thoroughly investigated that, but a cursory read told me to look for brushless motors. I've already ditched the Jet, because it's loud and annoying, and because it was always in the way. I never ceiling mounted it because of the height of the ceilings, weight, and various other factors. The particle counter doesn't lie; the air is cleaner now at all times than with the Jet. Again, this may partly be because I'm using a super efficient DC and vac, including venting the DC to the outside. Also my shop is a two car garage, so not big. And the Abranet system means that during sanding, the particle counter doesn't show any escaped dust, or very little. In some sanding, it actually goes down as the HEPA shop vac filter cleans the air.

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                  • #10
                    I have a couple of Honeywell Hepa air filters that usually run 24/7. I don’t remember the cfm data but I believe they are each rated for 350sf. I purchased these and a couple for the house at yard sales for cheap each, they were once popular with smokers who felt guilty about smoking in their houses. Since installing the Clearview dust collector and running it every time a piece of dust producing equipment is turned on, with the help of the Honeywell filters I see little to no dust on anything. I clean the Honeywell filters when I see the clean filter indicator light, every 4-6 months. Click image for larger version  Name:	D9C78E6E-B422-4CBD-8B12-78AA020966D2.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	124.6 KB ID:	838279

                    I don’t see any benefit in turning them off when I’m not in the shop to keep from wearing them out because I know people that have had them turned on continuously for over 30 years and they are still going strong. I was amazed at the amount of cat and dog hair that they filter out of the air when I looked at a neighbors Honeywell filter in his house. They clean the filter weekly and it still looked like a fur ball.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by capncarl; 01-10-2020, 02:46 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I ran one of those Honeywell "drum" units for 20 years in the house. I forget what finally failed on it, but 20 years of always on is a good run, in my book.

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                      • #12
                        I started finding these Honeywell “drum” air cleaners in yard sales for $5-$10 each a few years ago. I also see a good many of them at Goodwill stores for about the same cost. I highly recommend them for a on the cheap shop air cleaner. They may not be as good as a jet but for $50 you can get enough Honeywell cleaners to suck all the air our of the room.

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                        • #13
                          Is vacuuming your air cleaner filter a good idea? Or is it false economy?

                          Seems like it just transfers the dust from one device to the other.

                          If the vac filter is not as good as the air cleaner filter you just end up blowing the dust back in the room (because it passes through the vac and blows out the output port), unless you do this outside. If the vac filter is better than the filter, then you have most of the stuff that was in your filter now in your vac filter and you have to clean that eventually.. Why clean it twice?

                          It would seem reverse blowing the filter outside with compressed air would be the best bet; it at least puts the dust in the outside where it becomes part of the earth again. Or just buy a new filter. Because you can't get the deeply embedded dust out of that filter anyway. Which is probably what they intend.
                          Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-11-2020, 04:48 AM.
                          Loring in Katy, TX USA
                          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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                          • #14
                            A more important question...is using one vacuum to clean another vacuum a form of incest? I always feel wrong doing it. I also realize that servicing the vacuum makes ME a vacuum cleaner.

                            My portable and standing shop vacs have HEPA filters, which are washable. The room air cleaners in the shop and in the house say they are not washable. I've used the air gun to clean the house air filters on occasion, and replace them less often than they recommend. Not sure if that's stupid, but it seems to work. I also change the pre-filters on all of them, which are basically just a sheet of charcoal-impregnated mesh. Has the texture of a Scotchbrite pad. The house filters come with three of those for each filter, and they velcro on. The new shop filter doesn't have provision for that, I just picked up a sheet of universal filter and cut to fit. They come with velcro to hold it on the drum.

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                            • #15
                              About vacuuming overhead filters: My Rikon, like many overhead air cleaners, uses two filters. The initial filter looks like a typical home furnace style pleated filter rated at 5 microns. My Laguna dust collector is one of their 2-stage cyclone units with a HEPA filter (0.4 micron). So most of the >5 micron stuff vacuumed from the Rikon ends up in the cyclone's drum and not in the HEPA filter or its little catch pan. When I clean the Rikon's 1 micron inner filter, I do that by taking it outside and hitting it with air. Vacuuming the Rikon's initial/inlet filter with the Laguna is easy - I can reach it with typical shop-vac style extension hoses so I don't need to use a stool or ladder to remove it. The Rikon's inlet filter has about two square feet of total surface area; the Laguna has a 25 gallon drum so cleaning the Rikon barely affects how often I have to empty the Laguna's drum. I've yet to see the "clean the HEPA filter" light illuminate on the Laguna so the cyclone appears to be doing a very good job separating dust from the air. I've cleaned the HEPA once anyway... just to do it.

                              Now, would I use a typical shop vac to clean the Rikon? Probably not; like others have posted a typical shop vac with its stock filter would likely just take the dust out of the Rikon and blast it around the shop again. I use the shop vac in reverse to blow the filter out - outdoors - as I think that is easier on the filter than typical compressed air blowguns. My Ridgid shop vac is also equipped with a HEPA filter which does trap a lot of fine dust but really cakes up quickly when used as a dust collector in the shop. At least it can be hosed off. So the Laguna gets used to clean the Rikon.

                              Looking at the specs for the Rikon - since I had to pull up the owner's manual to remind myself of the filter ratings anyway: sound level = 61dB, 69dB, and 74dB (at what distance? Rikon didn't specify it!) for the three speeds, 480, 750, and 950 CFM for the three speeds. 1/4 HP motor. The Laguna (P-Flux 1.5HP unit) is rated at 70dB @ 9.8 feet (9.8 feet is what Laguna's specs say... I didn't make this up!) The Rikon sound is more of a low frequency humming - typical of large squirrel-cage fans like home furnaces when it is on its low speed; the sound gets more high-frequency content at medium and high speeds. The Laguna's sound has much more high frequency content and is clearly louder in my shop - even though the Laguna is twice as far away from my main work area as the Rikon!

                              mpc

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