Keeping It Clean

Keeping It Clean

Overview

Often a frustrated shop owner will blame booth filter pads and media for finish contamination. Fine filter media does have synthetic textile fibers, but in quality pads these are firmly bound together with synthetic resin. The downstream side is also covered and the surface is bonded with a woven material constructed of continuous filaments. The chances of a filter fiber ending up in the finish are remote. Look in this section for ways to prevent more likely contamination in the paint booth.

Operating Practices

• Do not keep any unnecessary items in the paint booth. They collect dirt.
• Never sand inside the booth.
• Never move a car in or out of the booth without the booth running.
• Do not leave solvents, tack rags, air hoses or other things in the spray booth on bake cycle. The heat will release oils and resins in the rags.
• Remove plastic covers before baking. Heated plastic can stain or cloud the finish.

Filtration

• Don’t skimp on fine ceiling or plenum filters, pre-filters and paint arrestor filters. A quality filter provides high efficiency throughout its life, not just at the start. What’s more, quality filters also provide the correct diffusion to prevent inconsistent airflow and turbulence.
• Change filter media when the final resistance as specified by the manufacturer of the booth has been reached. Check resistance with a U-tube, inclined-tube, or gauge-type manometer.
• A plugged filter throws the balance of the paint booth off and allows build up of overspray on some exhaust fans, like squirrel cage fans, diminishing the efficiency of the fan, creating vibration and sometimes causing the fan to fail.
• Change pre-filters often to extend the life of the fine ceiling or plenum filters and keep air plenum clean.

Velocity

• Check the spray booth pressurization daily — more often if booth is used continuously.
• All measurements should be made with a non-averaging velometer.
• Measure at door handle height, completely around vehicle.

Key #1
Velocity of the Air
Not CFM

Pressure

• Balanced air differential no greater than 20 ft./min. (From one side to the other)

Key #2
Balanced Airflow

Maintenance (After Hours)

Caulk

• Ceiling frames
• Wall joints
• Fire sprinkler openings
• Compressed air pipe openings

Seals

• Entrance and exit doors
• Access doors

Cleaning the Booth

Regardless of how well your booth is engineered, it’s likely that eventually SOME overspray could collect on your spray booth walls, floor and other surfaces. Any overspray or dust in the booth can become airborne and land on your paint job. To prevent this from happening, your booth surfaces must be regularly cleaned. There are several methods for cleaning. It’s important to be sure that the equipment you use is suitable for the location and the material being cleaned.

Some shops use vacuums to clean a booth of stray dust and fibers, but there is reason to be cautious about doing so. Because you are vacuuming up flammable and combustible materials, sparks and heat can be generated by the motor in the vacuum, and ignite the material collected. If you decide to use a vacuum, make sure that it is approved for use in hazardous locations.

We recommend using a sponge mop and solvent-based materials to break down the paint on the booth floor and walls. DO NOT under any circumstances use a cotton mop, as it will leave fibers behind. The ventilation system MUST be in operation when using solvent-based materials. Booth walls, floor and the pit can also be pressure washed for a deeper clean.

Protecting Booth Walls

To protect the paint booth walls from overspray, we recommend using a booth spray wall shield. This spray-on wax coating protects walls for about six months, and then is stripped off. DO NOT use removable paint on the booth walls. It can flake off to introduce contaminants. What’s more, it is difficult to remove all of it, which is unattractive.